The United States and Ghana face each other in the World Cup today at 6pm in New York and 10pm in Accra. The Ghanaian government is rationing electricity to ensure everyone can watch on TV. American soccer fans may have less dire concerns, like how to view the match online. Here’s a guide for those in the US.
In the United States, the simplest, fastest, and least expensive option is Univision’s live stream. The broadcast is in Spanish, which is perfect for the more than 37 million Americans who speak the language. Everyone else can mute the audio, enjoy the background noise, or turn on the captions, which are also in Spanish, for a handy language lesson.
Univision’s stream, however, isn’t legally accessible outside the US.
To watch the match in English, there’s ESPN, but that requires jumping through a few hoops. First, you need to pay for television. Then, you’ll need an online account with your pay TV provider. That will allow you to authenticate your TV subscription and access ESPN’s live stream on the web or through its apps for phones, tablets, and streaming media players.
Portuguese and Korean speakers can also access audio feeds in those languages through ESPN. But ESPN’s stream, like Univision’s, is contained to the US.
The match, of course, is streaming online outside the US: on the BBC in the United Kingdom, CBC in Canada, NPO in the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Those streams are free, but they check to make sure you’re inside the country, which is tough luck for Americans.
There are plenty of ways to get around such restrictions, though, using virtual private networks (VPNs). Two reliable and free VPN services are TunnelBear and Hola. Just know that using them to pretend you’re in another country probably violates terms of service and possibly the law.