How to Watch Sports in Australia (and Explaining the Olympics Controversy)

Australia has a culture built around sport: playing, coaching, competing, and most of all, watching. Whether it’s going to an AFL (Australian rules football) or NRL (rugby league) match and cheering on a favourite team, staying up until the early hours of the morning to catch the English Premier League live every week, or watching the Olympics in front of the TV every four years (when COVID wasn’t around), Aussies enjoy watching sport in all its many forms. Here is our guide on where you can watch sport in Australia, too.


Australian rules football – also known as AFL – is the country’s unofficial national sport, and we highly recommend you catch a live game while you’re in Australia. AFL matches are played in every single state and territory across the country and buying tickets for a game during the season (which runs from March to September) is easy. Just jump on the AFL website, pick the game/date you want to attend in your city, and enjoy! Tickets for the 2020 Premiership Season will be available from 28 February.

If you’d rather watch from home, you can watch AFL matches on Channel Seven, or stream matches for a fee via the AFL Live app, Kayo Sports (one of Australia’s top online sports streaming sites) or on Foxtel Now.


Meanwhile, cricket is Australia’s national sport. The Cricket Australia website is the perfect place to see where games are playing and buy tickets. Later in the year, the 2020 ICC Women’s and Men’s T20 World Cup tournaments will be touring across the country; you can find tickets to live matches here.

You’ll also find a comprehensive list of where to watch cricket matches from home on the Cricket Australia website. Some of these you’ll have to pay for (Foxtel/Kayo Sports), while others will let you watch live cricket for free online.


The Australian Open (AO) is the country’s biggest international tennis tournament. It starts in January every year in Melbourne, and tickets to matches can be bought from the AO website. Details on other pro tournaments across the country can be found here, with tickets available on their respective websites.

The AO can be streamed live on the 9Now app, while the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open are shown across various outlets. Your safest bet is to buy a subscription to Kayo Sports so you can catch all the matches in one place.


We won’t get into the ‘is it called soccer or football?’ debate here, but in Australia, it’s commonly known as soccer. The game has an increasing number of dedicated local fans, and Australia’s A-League is the highest-level professional men’s soccer league. Tickets to A-League matches are available here.

You can also catch the matches on TV via ABC, or stream sports online for free on ABC iView. For all other international soccer games, Kayo Sports are Optus Sports should be your go-to. You’ll have to pay for them, but they play pretty much every major match from across the world in real-time.


Basketball’s popularity is growing steadily in Australia. To catch Australia’s local NBL games live in your city, check for tickets here.

If you’re a fan of the NBA, you can watch some games free on TV through SBS, or watch sports online for free on SBS OnDemand. For a consistent stream of basketball games from across the world, Kayo Sports is the best option.


The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) travels across the world for live bouts, but it doesn’t visit Australia regularly. You might get lucky, though; keep an eye on the UFC events page.

The UFC is also not shown free-to-air, so you’ll have to invest in Foxtel for Fight Nights. For numbered events, Foxtel will show preliminary bouts, but main card fights are pay-per-view. This means you pay each time you want to watch a fight. Your best option is to watch these at a bar or pub; venues will advertise when they are screening events. Search Game On! for the closest venue near you showing the UFC.

The Olympic Games

The 2020 Olympic Games will officially begin in Tokyo on 23 July 2021, after suffering many setbacks and a one-year delay due to COVID-19. Japan has spent billions of dollars to host the Olympics, but Tokyo recently entered a state of emergency until 22 August due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Many Japanese locals are unhappy with the Tokyo Olympics potentially causing a bigger spread of COVID-19, with a Japanese survey conducted in June 2021 showing 48 per cent of respondents said they believed the Games should not go ahead. About 11,000 international athletes and tens of thousands of others, such as team staff, will enter Japan for the Olympics. 4,400 more athletes will arrive for the Paralympics. There have already been cases of COVID-19-positive athletes and staff entering Japan, or finding out their diagnosis just before going to Japan. The Games’ organisers have made some changes to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19; for example, the Games will be held without spectators, and winning athletes will have to put on their own medals.

If you want to watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Australia, Channel Seven is the only outlet that screens the Olympics. You’ll be able to watch all the events across Channel Seven’s three free-to-air channels – 7, 7TWO and 7Mate – and can get free online sports streaming on the 7plus app. Also, unlike the Rio Games, the time difference between Australia and Japan is minimal, so you won’t have to stay up late to catch your favourite event.

Want a crowd but can’t attend a match live?

If you want to cheer on your favourite team with a crowd but can’t make it to a live match, pubs and bars across Australia usually show sports live for everyone to enjoy. Use Game On! to find out which venues will be streaming sports (like rugby, horse racing, snooker, hockey…) and when.