Several times a year we get asked a question that should have a readily-available answer: “Where/How can I watch NPB from overseas?”
Here are your best options to watch Nippon Professional Baseball from abroad, in no particular order of accessibility or cost. It should be noted that not every option will give you access to Japan Series games, as they are sponsored by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and are generally not streamed.
For the reasonable price of ¥1,595 per month, you can watch all Pacific League (Fighters, Eagles, Marines, Lions, Buffaloes, Hawks) regular-season games, plus farm games from many of those teams and more, plus the PL Climax Series. Also included are home interleague games for the Giants and Tigers. Want to know more about the PL teams? Profiles for each team are viewable via the team names (linked) above!
For just ¥660 per month, you get access to all Hanshin Tigers home games, home farm games, plus road games against the Yomiuri Giants. (I have a guide for signing up on my Tigers site.) Wondering who the Hanshin Tigers are? Check out our team profile here or Trevor’s website here!
For ¥1,650 per month, you can view all Yomiuri Giants home games, plus road games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yokohama DeNA Baystars. For more information about the Yomiuri Giants, check out our team profile here!
One of our readers clued us in to this option. It has a range of options that range from $150 (mini-plan) to $219 (deluxe plan) per year. It gives you a great range of Japanese TV channels – basically, you can watch Japanese TV of all genres, all day and night. The mini-plan may not get you every game you hope for, but the basic plan ($180 for the year) should. It includes all four J-Sports cable channels, which usually show a few games every day. It is possible to pay by the day or month as well (if you want to just watch the playoffs, for example), but the best value comes from subscribing for the entire year. It is also of note that this service is not available in Japan.
(Announced August 9, 2020; stay tuned for more) According to NHK, “For the Fans sports channel will broadcast more than 200 official Pacific League games between August and November.” Games are on digital channels that carry For the Fans: Pluto, Xumo, Samsung Smart TV, ROKU, & Zingo TV but not on their website. There will be one game each day at 5:00 PM ET. At least in the beginning it will be the Japanese broadcast with no English commentary. *Hat-tip to Keith Brock for this!
Another reader kindly informed us that Pacific League games are played on Channel 623 on Directv. As far as we can see, the cost for their “Ultimate” package (which includes various sports, news and movies) is $94.99 per month (plus tax) and gives you over 120 channels, 20 hours of recording/archive space, and the possibility of adding on a whole lot of other content at additional costs.
There are probably a lot of people in our community who know of other ways to get access to NPB games, so feel free to share some with us and we will add them to the list! There are also all sorts of “illegal” livestreams of games all over the internet, but we don’t exactly want to support what they are doing…
Hope this helps you find the baseball action that you want so badly to see!
For more Japanese baseball, check out JapanBall’s Articles and Features section!