The FA Cup is the premier competition in England. It’s been going on for over 150 years. And now, thanks to the streaming revolution, you can watch almost all of it. You can’t come close with cable.
In a hurry? Most FA Cup matches will stream live on ESPN+. So if you want to watch the FA Cup, you have two options:
- Hulu + Live TV: The complete package with 85+ live TV channels (including all local affiliates), outstanding on-demand library, Disney+, and, of course ESPN+!
- ESPN+: If you just want the FA Cup, the standalone service is a great deal.
Table Of Contents
The FA Cup is the world’s oldest soccer competition to be held on a national level, having first been played in 1871. Its vastness is considerable as its annual participants exceed 700 clubs. Matches are initially played in August, a few months after the previous edition had ended with a May final at Wembley Stadium.
In the US, the vast majority of matches are available through ESPN+ ($6.99/mo). It is also possible that some games will be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2, but this is unlikely. Even the final of the 2021-22 competition was only available online through an ESPN+ stream.
The FA Cup got its start on Nov 11, 1871, with a quartet of matches while the inaugural 1871-72 edition of this historic competition concluded on March 16, 1872, with a 1-0 win for Wanderers over Royal Engineers in front of 2,000 spectators at London’s Kennington Oval.
From that campaign through the 2021-22 edition, Arsenal has lifted the trophy the most number of times: 14. Its first was claimed in 1930 while its most recent occurred in 2020. Meanwhile, Manchester United is second on this list with 12 titles, winning its first in 1909 and most recent in 2016.
How It Works
The FA Cup is England’s premier cup competition. Five Welsh clubs, the ones that play in the English league system, take part in it as well. For the 2021-22 edition, it consisted of two preliminary rounds, six qualifying rounds, and eight rounds proper. Clubs all the way down to the 10th level of the English pyramid enter the competition. Those would need 14 wins in order to claim the trophy.
The higher that a league is in the English football pyramid, the later that its clubs enter the FA Cup. Teams from the third- and fourth-tier EFL League One and League Two enter in the first round proper while Premier League and EFL Championship sides play their initial FA Cup matches of the campaign in the third round proper. That stage of the competition is generally held the first weekend after New Year’s Day.
Blind draws determine the matchups for each round. In other words, in the third round, there is just as much of a chance of a team like Chelsea playing host to one from a few levels down the pyramid as there is for the Blues to be drawn away to the same club and need to play in a footballing ground that has seating for hundreds of people, not thousands. And the first- and second-place teams in the current Premier League table could be matched up against each other in the third round.
Replays have been historically utilized in the case of drawn games, but this usage has been pulled back some in recent seasons. For the 2021-22 campaign, replays were not contested in the third and following rounds. However, it is believed that they will return to the third and fourth rounds in 2022-23. When there are no replays, the initial contest goes to extra time and a penalty shootout, if necessary. When there are, those elements only apply to the replayed match.
The EFL Cup is a similar competition, but it only involves teams from the top four levels of the English pyramid. It is also not nearly as prestigious a competition as the FA Cup is. Another domestic cup competition is the EFL Trophy. It features teams from the EFL League One and League Two.
Competitions similar to the FA Cup in other countries include the Scottish Cup, Coupe de France, DFB-Pokal (Germany), Copa del Rey (Spain), Coppa Italia, and US Open Cup.
2020-21 FA Cup
Leicester City took the FA Cup for the first time on May 15, 2021, defeating Chelsea, 1-0, in the final.
2021-22 FA Cup
The 2021-22 FA Cup’s extra preliminary round commenced on Aug 6 while Premier League sides started playing in the third round on Jan 7.
The biggest surprise late in the competition was Boreham Wood, a club from the fifth-tier National League, advancing to the fifth round (the round of 16). To get to that stage, the club earned an impressive 1-0 away victory over Championship side Bournemouth in the previous round.
Two Championship clubs – Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest – joined six Premier League sides in the quarterfinals, but none in the former group proceeded to the semifinals. At that latter stage, Liverpool defeated Manchester City, 3-2, while Chelsea knocked off Crystal Palace, 2-0, to set up a final on May 14 between the Reds and the Blues.
2022 FA Cup Schedule
- Quarter Finals
- Mar 19: Middlesbrough (0) vs Chelsea (2)
- Mar 20: Crystal Palace (4) vs Everton (0)
- Mar 20: Southampton (1) vs Man City (4)
- Mar 20: Nottingham Forest (0) vs Liverpool (1)
- Apr 16: Man City (2) vs Liverpool (3)
- Apr 17: Chelsea (2) vs Crystal Palace (0)
- May 14 11:45 am: Chelsea vs Liverpool
Watching FA Cup Matches
FA Cup matches, particularly in the later rounds, can usually be watched without much difficulty in countries around the world, thanks to how popular Premier League teams are on a worldwide basis.
Generally, FA Cup matches are not broadcast on television in the US, but ESPN and ESPN2 are possibilities.
You can, however, stream it. See below.
Here is some information on how to watch FA Cup matches in selected other countries.
Canadians should consult Sportsnet as FA Cup games are regularly shown on its varied channels.
Aussies need to utilize Network 10 to watch these contests. They can also stream on Paramount+.
New Zealanders can catch the action thanks to Sky Sport and beIN Sports Connect.
Those in the UK itself can watch matches on a variety of channels. For example, the 2021-22 FA Cup final was slated for live coverage on BBC One, ITV, STV, and UTV, and those channels share coverage of previous rounds as well.
In addition, S4C, a Welsh network, shows some games that feature Welsh clubs.
Streaming FA Cup Matches
In the US, you have one resource to seek out to watch FA Cup matches: ESPN+ ($6.99/mo). Even big games like the semifinals and the final are exclusively streamed through this provider.
Those who want to watch the beautiful game be played in other competitions can also do that courtesy of ESPN+.
Additional domestic cup competitions shown on ESPN+ include Spain’s Copa del Rey and the US Open Cup. Women’s FA Cup matches are also available. Meanwhile, some of the top leagues that are shown to this streaming service’s subscribers include Germany’s Bundesliga, the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, the Belgian Pro League, Spain’s La Liga, MLS, and Liga MX.
Also of note for those interested in English football is that the broadcasting rights in the US for EFL Championship, League One, and League Two games are held by ESPN+ as well. This is also true for the EFL Cup.
Some international matches, such as FIFA World Cup qualifiers, are also streamed on ESPN+. See our ESPN+ review for complete details.
Hulu + Live TV
You can also get ESPN+ as part of Hulu + Live TV. In addition to its outstanding on-demand library and Disney+, you get 85+ live TV channels. Many of these are ones you will want for other sports events. These include CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, ACC Network, SEC Network, and Golf Channel.
Supported Devices to Live Stream the FA Cup
ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV provide apps for watching the FA Cup on most devices in use today. These include the following:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile devices
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Fire Tablets
- PlayStation 4 and 5
- Samsung smart TVs
- Xfinity Flex.
ESPN+ also supports the Oculus VR system. Hulu + Live TV supports the Echo Show, LG smart TVs, Nintendo Switch, and VIZIO smart TVs.
The FA Cup, the world’s most prestigious and historic domestic cup competition, can be easily streamed in the US with ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV. It appears that all matches available to watch in the US will be thus available.
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