While the English Premier League attracts most of the attention in the United States, England’s second tier — the EFL Championship is a riveting competition and arguably more entertaining due to the attacking, open-ended to and fro in the games that resemble what the Premier League used to be like before the top four became too powerful.
Looking at the 2019/20 season of the Championship, England’s second division features 24 clubs who play 46 games in a season compared to 38 matchdays in the Premier League, and concludes with an epic four team playoff for the all important third spot in the following season of England’s top flight.
Unfortunately, the EFL Championship doesn’t air games on U.S. television, therefore making streaming essential if you want to follow your favorite club.
The first, and perhaps most familiar streaming option for the EFL Championship, is ESPN+. Now in its second year of existence, ESPN’s premium streaming service continues to add soccer content. The EFL Championship is no exception — ESPN+ is expected to stream 3-4 Championship matches a weekend. And at $4.95 per month, it’s a bargain.
SEE MORE: Schedule of Championship games on ESPN+
As was the case last season, the 3-4 matches selected each weekend will likely be the most enticing on paper, featuring some of the bigger clubs in the division (Leeds, Fulham, QPR, etc.). If you’re a casual fan or die-hard, ESPN+ is certainly a viable option.
The second option to consider (either in conjunction with ESPN+ or separately) is iFollow, a streaming service introduced by the EFL last year, which allows fans who live outside the UK and Ireland to subscribe and view their favorite clubs matches online. The two catches are (1) that only a select number of clubs have adopted iFollow, and (2) any games streamed via ESPN+ will not be available on iFollow.
Another caveat is that the clubs not using iFollow have launched their own streaming service. But again, any games streamed via ESPN+ are not available via that service either.
At the end of the day, subscribing to both ESPN+ and either iFollow or a club’s own streaming service (prices vary) is recommended.
iFollow season passes are currently being sold for $140. ESPN+ is $4.95/month, which totals $49.50 across the 10-month season.
For both ESPN+ and iFollow, match replays and match highlights are made available the following day.
Here are the viewing options for Championship clubs for viewers in the United States for the 2019/20 season:
The following clubs have chosen to opt into the iFollow service, therefore making viewing of all EFL Championship games (not on ESPN+) possible via a subscription:
|Club||ESPN+ (select games)||Stream select games via club website||iFollow (all games except ESPN+ matches)|
|Preston North End||✓||✓|
|West Bromwich Albion||✓||✓|
All matches on ESPN+ include quality commentators, while iFollow and club streaming services include announcers who are typically very pro in favor of your club.
While there is still much progress to be made before the EFL Championship is fully available on U.S. television and streaming like the Premier League is, ESPN+, iFollow and club streaming services present a good, cost effective start for die-hard fans of one of the most entertaining soccer leagues in the world.