Starting this Sunday the NBC will be airing two matches on its NBC Olympic Channel every day for the remainder of the competition. This is unquestionably a good thing. Any time handball is broadcast on TV in the U.S. it exposes new fans to the sport.
But, for the already dedicated handball fans it’s actually kind of a bummer. Why? Because since the U.S. now has a TV contract we’re now geo-blocked out of the free IHF Web Stream.
Yes, instead of watching every single match like we’re used to we’re now limited to what NBC decides to show.
Fortunately, there’s a way around that and because I keep getting questions about how I am watching all of those matches here is an in-depth tutorial on:
How to Watch Every Match of the IHF Women’s World Championships (Live and On Demand)
Step 1) Determine if you are Geo-Blocked
What’s a Geo-Block? Well, this is a Geo-Block:
Essentially, what happens is that the IHF has blocked your computer’s IP address from accessing their online web stream. Most likely it is because your country has a TV contract for the handball event in question. For the World Championships the IHF has a contract in the U.S. with NBC. Hence, the Geo-Block for everyone in the U.S.
Step 2) If you are Geo-blocked, Get a VPN service
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and essentially it’s a way to access websites from an IP Address associated with another country. There are multiple companies that provide this service. I use Nord VPN and it costs $3.49/month. And, I can tell you without a doubt it’s the best money I’ve ever spent as a handball fan. I don’t use it to just watch the World Championships. I use it to watch the Champions League, German Bundesliga and Spanish Asobal league matches as well. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t get a VPN service years ago… except I do know why.
I was hesitant due to some misconceptions regarding risk. As in, I don’t want to download some crazy software that’s going to mess up my computer. My mistake was to think VPN was just like the crazy fly-by-night websites that pop up when you google things like “France-Germany Handball web-stream”. If you’re a handball fan you probably know what I’m talking about and maybe you’ve made the mistake of downloading a “free” video player.
DON’T DO THAT… There’s a good chance you are going to regret it. I know have… Typically the so called video player sucks and the video if it does show up is barely watchable.
But, do go to a website like NORD VPN (there’s a banner ad in the top right hand corner of the Team Handball News website) and follow the instructions there.
What you end up downloading is an extension for your web browsers. For Nord VPN there’s an app that you click on where you can select a country to login from. I’ve been using Canada since it’s close by and they are not geo-blocked.
If you don’t want to use Nord VPN there are other options including Hola VPN. This is actually a “free” service, but not a VPN in the traditional sense. It’s a peer to peer service and you essentially agree to let users in another country use your IP Address. There are some risks with doing that, but I know that “free” is a big selling point.
Step 3) Resist the urge to wake up in the morning and go through your social media feeds.
I know we live in an instant gratification world and habits are habits. But, while one can still enjoy watching a match if you already know how it ends, it’s just not the same as not knowing.
Not sure about that? Try this experiment: Tape this year’s Super Bowl; wait 4 hours; then check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds; then start watching the game from the opening kickoff. Can you even imagine doing such a crazy thing? Just imagine if that Super Bowl had been the Patriots-Falcons match featuring the “comeback”. So, if you wouldn’t dream of doing this for the Super Bowl, why on earth would you do it for a compelling handball match?
Step 4) Go to the Team Handball News website for the daily “spoiler free” preview.
The location for the Women’s World Championships (Japan) is pretty much perfect for delayed match viewing. This is because most of the matches are taking place while we are sleeping. However, the IHF Competition website (which is actually a pretty good website overall) is not designed for spoiler free viewing. Oh, it can be done, and I’ve mastered how to do it.
And, you’re welcome to try and duplicate what I’ve been doing every morning or you can simply go to the homepage of this website. (I typically have the video links loaded by 7:00 AM (US ET) every morning.)
Step 5) Select Your Matches to View and Viewing Style
With as many as 12 matches to watch there’s no way you can watch everything, so you’ve got to be selective. The daily preview has an overview of what the key matches are each day. What’s on the line in terms of qualification, etc. I also post the betting lines as they give insight as to what matches are supposed to be close and which matches are supposed to be blowouts. Finally, I highlight which matches have commentary from Paul Bray. It’s still enjoyable to watch matches without commentary, but having commentary makes it a bit better.
So, after I select which matches to watch I map out my viewing subject to how much time I have. Some matches warrant a full start to finish viewing. (France – Denmark tomorrow fits that category) while others are more of a watch a few minutes and then fast forward towards the end, just in case something crazy happens.
And, if you want to watch on the big screen all you need is an HDMI cable. The stream is of pretty good quality and should translate well to most TVs
Step 6) Repeat steps 3 through 5 until December 16th and Happy Handball Watching