I am moving to Abu Dhabi and I want to know…
Can I watch AFL on the TV in the UAE?
The answer is YES!
You have a few options:
Four games per round are shown on the OSN Sports channels (1, 2, 3, 4, 1HD or 2HD). You can find the weekly viewing schedule here. They show all the finals.
Pros: It’s reliable and you can even get some games in HD if you pay enough.
Cons: They only show 4 games per week. If you support Collingwood or Essendon most of your games will be televised. If you support Gold Coast or GWS, then you’ll miss out more often then not. Also, you will need to pay a lot of money for a lot of channels that you will never watch.
You can subscribe to OSN Sports in a couple of ways. In Abu Dhabi the cable provider is Etisalat. They provide a package called elife that includes TV, Internet and Telephone. If you subscribe to the Sports or Premium TV packages they will include OSN and you will be set. You can also go through OSN directly and get a satellite dish, but you will still need to deal Etisalat for your internet.
Another option is to subscribe at watchafl.afl.com.au, plug your laptop into your TV and stream the games you want.
Pros: You can stream every single game and you can even watch replays and match highlights. If you’re sneaky you can probably also stream the Sunday game from your office at work. This is the cheaper option, plus there is no limit to the amount of games you can watch.
Cons: This is not HD quality. You are streaming from the internet and it looks like it. The faster your internet the better quality the picture. However, internet speeds do vary and if someone else in the house is downloading, it will buffer. Worse, if the internet goes down, you will miss the game.
Subscriptions costs about $150 for the season or $25 a month, but you will also need to pay for reasonably fast internet or it won’t be worth it. In Abu Dhabi, currently your only choice of internet provider is Etisalat, but even with the price of the basic elife package, a decent internet speed and the website subscription, you will come out ahead.
Watch it in the Pub
All the sports bars in Abu Dhabi have the OSN channels. The staff won’t be aware the big game is on though, so you will probably need to get someone to change the channel for you.
Pros: You are watching footy in the pub.
Cons: You can only watch the Friday and Saturday night games as they start at around 2pm UAE time. All other games are played before the pub opens (around 8am).
In Abu Dhabi NRG, Porter’s, Cooper’s and plenty of others are likely to accommodate you.
Pretty much everything above applies to watching AFL in Dubai and the Northern Emirates too. However you will be dealing with different cable and internet service providers if you chose to subscribe to OSN Sports.
Join the Falcons
If you found this site you are obviously interested in Aussie Rules and are moving to the UAE. Why don’t you get in touch with Falcons and make some friends with like-minded people? We are always looking for new players, umpires, assistants and anyone with coaching experience. Even if you just want to come down and watch us play or have a drink after the game, get in touch.