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What are the benefits to watching sporting events via live streaming?


The Internet gives sports fans lots of opportunities to follow games.
The Internet gives sports fans lots of opportunities to follow games.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Sports fans, it's time to face facts -- you owe a lot to the nerds of the world. Because of the geeks, you have more ways to watch your favorite events than ever before. There are dozens of different apps and services that let you catch the next game on your television, smartphone, computer, tablet or video game console.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to this technological approach is accessibility. Many services and apps give you access to games you might not be able to see otherwise. As every sports fan knows, not every game or match is available in every region. But with the right streaming services, you're able to watch many games even if they're nowhere to be found on TV in your area.

And since there are many streaming services that let you watch sports events on mobile devices, you can watch a game even when you're nowhere near your television, entertainment center, man cave or faithfully constructed replica of Wrigley Field. The only components you need are the right broadband Internet connection, a device capable of running the service or app and access to the app itself.

There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind. One is that not every sports organization supports live streaming yet. Digital streaming is still a young broadcast model and not everyone is comfortable with it. In some cases, you may only be able to access certain content on specific devices. An iPhone owner may be able to see some content an Android handset owner can't access, and vice versa.

The second big warning is that there are some sites online that stream video from sports events without permission. These sites violate the rights of the sports organizations. While you might not get in trouble for watching the content, may feed digital piracy concerns among sports organizations that are already hesitant to adopt digital broadcast models. In fact, the desire to address digital rights issues may cause these organizations to move toward a streaming model more slowly. Playing by the rules gives everyone a better chance at accessing content in a legitimate way.

Next, we'll look at how to use these services and apps.