While less advanced fans still sit in front of the TV set watching the limited selection of games available to them serious sports enthusiasts have found a better solution. Live online streaming allows fans access to every game scheduled in any major sport from around the world. No need to worry about local blackouts, geographic restrictions or other broadcasting industry red tape. Just find a stream of the game you want to watch and enjoy.
The biggest challenge is locating a high quality working stream. In theory, this should be easier than it is. Live sports streaming enthusiasts lost a great resource at the first of the year when Wiziwig.TV made the decision to close their website. Wiziwig had a reputation as the ‘gold standard’ in streaming sites with a wealth of technical information, a helpful user community, and an extensive directory of live links. There’s no shortage of live sports streaming sites but in the aftermath of Wiziwig’s demise no clear consensus as to which is best.
IS FIRST ROW SPORTS A GOOD LIVE STREAMING SITE?:
First Row Sports is found at www.firstrowsports.eu along with several ‘mirror’ domains that change from time to time. They’re one of the higher profile live sports streaming sites and will often get recommended by experts. These factors don’t mean they’re any good, however. In this review, we look at the site in-depth and pull no punches in the process.
Like ATDHE online streaming service, First Row Sports main index page design is nothing fancy–not that this is a bad thing. They provide information on where to find what you’re looking for in a very clear and simple manner. Icons of the various sports they index are in clear view at the top of the page. Sports indexed are primarily the ‘major’ North American and European sports–American football, soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball, rugby motosport and tennis. Fight fans have their dedicated category covering ‘boxing, MMA and pro wrestling. There’s also an ‘Other’ category with subheadings for volleyball and handball.
FINDING THE GAME YOU WANT AT FIRST ROW SPORTS:
If you know what sport you want to watch it’s easy to locate the games by clicking the icons described above. If you just want to see what games are currently ‘live’ it’s a bit more difficult. Unlike most sports streaming sites, the main index doesn’t offer a ‘live events’ list. Instead, the main index page has only two links–one to ‘soccer highlights’ and the other to the ‘Football Channel’. The good news is that First Row Sports has a live events index though it’s not easy to find. It’s under a link with the title ‘US Version’ but as it included Aussie Rules Football among the listings that’s clearly a misnomer.
Once you get to the individual sports page or the well-hidden live events page, it’s easy to find a specific game. The rundown of games is in chronological order so you can just look down the list and find the right link. The majority of events have multiple links with every stream utilizing a Flash (YouTube like) video player. Similar to that of VIPBOX, First Row Sports does a nice job making sure all stream links are ‘live’. All streams are standard speed which is nice for sports fans without a broadband connection though we’d welcome some options for faster connections.
WATCH OUT FOR THE ADVERTISING ONSLAUGHT:
We’re not unrealistic–we get that just about every live sports streaming website serves advertising. Among sports streaming websites, First Row Sports is far from the worst when it comes to compromising user experience with an advertising onslaught. Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t set the bar particularly high. Most links open a ‘pop-up/pop-under’ ad and some ‘stream links’ are blind links to more advertising. The game stream players have several ads to dismiss before you can watch the game. Again, they get partial credit for making it possible to get rid of them–that’s not always the case.
The type of advertising that FirstRowSports serves is fairly benign with a heavy dose of online sports betting and fantasy sports websites. Unfortunately, a few pop-ups are of the unctuous ‘phony media software update’ variety. Most people know the score and just dismiss them but this type of advertising is prevalent in sports streaming sites with many being far more insidious and potentially dangerous. Unlike P2P4U, which we rank last in quality, FirstRowSports doesn’t require visitors to disable ad-blocking software like a few other live streaming sites.
FIRST ROW SPORTS–A DECENT SOURCE FOR STREAMING LINKS:
First Row Sports has a few issues but overall they do a good enough job to justify their inclusion in any list of ‘go to’ sports streaming sites. With some minor tweaks–primarily involving their ad serving policies–they could be in the running as one of the best. With ad-blocking software, it’s not a bad user experience at all. First Row Sports may be far from the standard set by Wiziwig but, all in all, a decent source for live sports streaming.