The Definitive Guide to Watching the NFL in China


Maybe you are an American new to China, who just wants to keep up with your favorite NFL team you’ve been following since childhood. Maybe you are born and bred Chinese, but you fell in love with football ever since watching one of the past few Super Bowls. Either way, NFL Kickoff is coming this Friday at 8:30am Beijing time, so it’s time to get ready for late Sunday nights (or early Monday mornings) watching the highest level of bar none the greatest sport on the planet. One of the most often asked questions among NFL fans, casual and diehard, here in China is, “how do I watch NFL games here?” This is Life in the Huddle’s answer to this most important question for football fans (hint: It’s a lot easier to do than before).

Check your citys event listings

Tier 1, and in many cases Tier 2 cities in China often have venues that show NFL games, either live, or on tape delay. These run the gamut from sports bars to consulates to hotels, but this is a great chance to meet up with fellow NFL fans, and celebrate your favorite team’s success (or wallow in its misery, depending on your team). Life in the Huddle will run multiple “Where to Watch posts” this season, detailing venues that will be showing live NFL games in multiple cities across China ahead of some of the more important weeks of the season, starting with kickoff this Friday. Our Super Bowl LI “Where to Watch” post listed 40 venues across 7 cities this past February, so there’s a good chance that wherever you are, there will be a place not too far from you where you can watch NFL games with other fans.

Tencent Sports

In past years, tuning into NFL games without paying meant listening to inexperienced commentators (whose grasp of the game may have been suspect), comments scrolling sideways through the screen, choppy and often low-quality feeds, and strange (sometimes funny) broadcast peculiarities like hearing broadcasters talk while they were technically supposed to be off-air. Add in the multitude of options for tuning into an NFL game, and simply trying to watch an NFL game might have seemed more like conducting brain surgery than having an exciting, enjoyable experience.

Tencent Sports QR code

Enter Tencent Sports. The NFL’s recent deal with China’s leading digital media platform has made it the exclusive live digital streaming media partner of the league in China, making it much simpler for fans to catch games, whether online, on their phones or tablets, or on their televisions. From what we’ve seen and heard so far, the announcers are knowledgeable, the feeds are stable, and normalcy seems to have returned to the experience of watching NFL games. What else could you want? If you absolutely require English commentary and hearing the voices of American broadcasters however, there is another option for you.

NFL Game Pass 

Sign-up link (no VPN required):

This is the tried and true method for watching NFL games here in China. It comes at a cost, but Game Pass’ features may make it worth it. Not only can you catch live games, but you can also watch past games, coaches film, condensed versions of games (a full game in 30 minutes!), NFL Network, and NFL Films content all on demand (Season Plus). If you’re not willing to pony up the money for the whole thing, there are also multiple other Game Pass packages you can sign up for with different levels of features atlower prices, such as being able to watch all primetime games LIVE plus all other games condensed (Season Lite), or being able to just watch your team’s games (Follow Your Team). Game broadcasts are in English, so if you’re one of those Americans who has been worried about not getting the full NFL game-watching experience this season, don’t worry, it sounds just like home.

For more information on local American football here in China, long press the QR code below: