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Asian Cup underway but is anyone watching?

The biggest Asian Cup in history began in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday but watching the tournament isn't easy, even in the host nation.

Asian Cup underway but is anyone watching?

The biggest Asian Cup in history began in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday but watching the tournament isn't easy, even in the host nation.

The 2019 Asian Cup in underway but is anyone watching?

The largest regional international football tournament in Asia's history kicked off in Abu Dhabi on Saturday when the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain played out a 1-1 draw.


A decent, if far from capacity crowd, of 33,000 attended the opening match at the 43,000 Zayed Sports City stadium.

Away from the ground however watching the match was difficult, even in the host nation.

The host broadcaster in the Middle East region is Qatari-owned Bein Sports, who are charging subscribers an additional fee for viewers to access Asian Cup matches.

In host city Al Ain, where the Socceroos will open their campaign against Jordan on Sunday, finding a TV showing the match was near impossible.

Socceroos players and staff, including coach Graham Arnold, were forced to watch the game on a big screen at their hotel's pool bar.

Other major hotels in the city just refused to pay Bein's subscription fee.

The owner of an Al Ain sports bar, which regularly screens major European club fixtures, told AAP the fee Bein were asking to access the Asian Cup channels was over AED3000 ($A1148).

"It's absolutely crazy," the bar owner said.

"I tried to stream it from a link but everything is blocked."

Australian fans can watch the entire tournament on Foxtel or online streaming service Kayo Sports, but there will be no Socceroos games on free-to-air stations as happens during World Cups.

Fans in Asian Cup debutant nation Philippines must also go on to a pay TV service to watch their team in action.

"We regret to inform @PHI_Azkals fans that despite all our efforts we were not able to acquire the rights to air the Asia Cup," Philippine TV5 network chief executive Chot Reyes tweeted.

"We put in a competitive bid that was not accepted."

It appears there's little to no broadcast of the tournament in Europe, while at least one Socceroos fan in the United States took to social media attempting to find out how to watch Australia's title defence.

AAP


AAP




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