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Serie A was launched in 1929 and has been the landing place for some of the best players in the world. Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Ronaldo, and Zinedine Zidane once graced Italian pitches, joining homegrown legends like Francesco Totti, Gianluigi Buffon, and Paolo Maldini, who each played at least 600 matches in the league.
Today, Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved from Real Madrid to Juventus last season, is the highest-profile player in the league. New arrivals like Romelu Lukaku, who moved from Manchester United to Inter Milan over the summer, and Matthijs de Ligt, who moved from Ajax to Juventus after his role in an impressive Champions League run, are increasing the star power in a league that’s fun to follow.
What is Serie A?
Serie A is Italy’s top-flight league; there is also a Serie B and Serie C making up the Italian soccer pyramid. (Also, if you want to sound like a seasoned soccer fan, make sure you know how to pronounce it; the A is an “ah.”) As with the other major European soccer leagues in Germany, France, England, and Spain, its top teams compete in the UEFA Champions League, the next level of teams square off in UEFA’s Europa League, and the bottom teams try to stave off relegation. As in England’s Premier League, 20 teams meet in 19 home-and-away series through a 38-match season, with the bottom three teams relegated to Serie B each season, replaced by the best teams in Serie B.
Which Serie A teams should I know?
Today, you should start with Juventus. Based in Turin, the defending champs are nicknamed “the Old Lady” and have been known in the past for their distinctive black-and-white striped jersey. Juve’s in the midst of transforming itself into a global brand that is about culture as well as soccer and its new controversial jersey is part of that. It’s half-black and half-white, with a thin pink stripe down the middle. Technically, it’s still a striped jersey, but tell that to fans who are not digging the new look.
On the field, they’re won eight straight Scudettos, and Adrian Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey join de Ligt as rich-get-richer additions to the squad this season. Maurizio Sarri, who coached at Chelsea last year, leads this year’s version.
Milan has two implacable rivals, AC Milan and Inter Milan, who share a legendary stadium in San Siro that was built in 1926 and is still one of Europe’s largest. Rome is home to two teams typically in contention for at least Europa League spots, AS Roma and Lazio. Napoli, based in Naples, boasts one of the most international rosters in Serie—now made more international by signing rising Mexico star Hirving Lozano—and they’ve been the most consistent challenger to Juve’s crown in recent years.
Ligue 1 teams:
- Hellas Verona
- Inter Milan
Serie A live stream: Watch Serie A matches
For American viewers, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, and Rai Italia America share hosting duties; all can be viewed on a one-week trial allowing audiences to watch Serie A matches for free.
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months (after 7-day free trial)
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN+ is a subscription service that extends ESPN’s existing website and app, and it’s essential for soccer fans in particular, carrying Serie A+, MLS, USL, and FA Cup matches. It encompasses other sporting events as well, including 20 exclusive UFC Fight Night events per year, 180 NHL games, at least one MLB game a day for every day of the season, and a cornucopia of college sports.
ESPN+ also features the network’s sports talk programming, and it features original series starting with the entire 30 for 30 catalog ESPN made its name on. It also unlocks more content and fewer ads on the ESPN site.
- Cost: $44.99 for the first month, $54.99 per month thereafter (40% off first month)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
FuboTV is a solid TV streaming service option, whether your tastes run to entertainment (AMC, Syfy, FX), news (MSNBC, CNN), or sports (NBA TV, NFL Network). If you’re a soccer fan, however, it will appear tailor-made for you, with Rai Italia America for Serie A matches (a $7.99 per month add-on), 10 beIN SPORTS channels, NBCSN, FS1, FS2, and UniMás all on tap. If you can’t watch a match live, FuboTV offers a three-day replay for each match and 30 hours of cloud DVR. (Check out the complete FuboTV channels list and our comprehensive FuboTV review.)
FuboTV also has bilingual families in mind; each subscription comes with UniMás, Galavisión, NBC Universo, beIN SPORTS, Univision, and Fox Deportes. An extra $7.99 per month will bring you Latino Plus, which includes CNN en Español and TyC Sports among its offerings.
3) Sling TV
- Sling TV pricing: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, Microsoft Edge, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV provides two base channel package options, each priced at $25 per month. Sling Orange includes three ESPN channels, while Sling Blue includes sports channels like NFL Network, FS1 and FS2, NBCSN, and local channels. (Sling Blue customers in select markets get NBC, where this match will be featured; see if yours has it here.) If you’re Team “Why Not Both,” Sling Orange + Blue combines the two for just $40 per month. To add beIN SPORTS and maximize your soccer-watching potential, you’ll want to add either Sports Extra: Sling Orange ($5 per month, where you’ll find ESPNEWS) or Sports Extra: Sling Blue ($10 per month). (The latter also includes NFL RedZone.)
Spanish-speaking viewers have quite a few options. For bilingual families, you might consider the Español: Best of Spanish TV package for either Sling Orange or Sling Blue for 24/7 specialty channel LaLiga TV and beIN SPORTS Connect: Channels 4-9, which features matches from LaLiga, Ligue 1 and Copa del Rey, among others. Both packages cost $5 per month after your free trial. Sling TV Latino is another Spanish-language package for $10 per month, including NBC Universo, History en Español, and—of import to soccer fans—four beIN SPORTS channels. (And choosing Sling TV Latino + Sling Orange for $30 per month gives you access to ESPN Deportes and Spanish-language Serie A coverage.) For more information, check out our guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
PlayStation Vue is a fantastic option for soccer fans who already own a PlayStation console, but this streaming platform is available on a variety of devices. ESPN Deportes (where Serie A can be found) is part of the Elite package of channels that offer soccer and other sports programming, supplementing what exists at the Core level, and the options increase at the Ultra level.
- Cost: $44.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV includes sports programming among its broad spectrum of offerings (including ESPN Deportes as part of the Español add-on package), and as a subscriber to the service, you’ll get free access to Hulu’s sizable on-demand library. (Check out the full list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
2018-19 Serie A top scorers
Fabio Quagliarella: The 36-year-old veteran has scored 26 goals for Sampdoria last year to be the surprising Golden Boot winner for the year. He’s played with eight different Italian club teams and represented his country in the 2010 World Cup.
Duvan Zapata: The Colombian striker has contributed mightily to Atalanta’s ascent to a Champions League place last season. His 23 goals were instrumental in the campaign; it’ll be fascinating to see how this team fares in Europe’s top competition.
Krzysztof Piatek: The striker split his time between Genoa and AC Milan last season, eventually settling in at San Siro where he scored eight of his 22 league goals and 11 of his 30 goals in all comps.
Cristiano Ronaldo: The Champions League goal king made this list, though wasn’t nearly as prolific in his first Serie A season as he was in La Liga. He’s still, even approaching 35, one of the best scoring threats
Arkadiusz Milik: The Polish striker, Napoli’s leading scorer this season, is still just 25 but has been playing professionally since his teens. Last season was his best since his breakout season in 2015-16 with Ajax.
Serie A champions
For the last eight years, there’s been one name on this list—and before that, the two Milan teams competed with Juventus for titles. The last winner to not be one of those three? Roma, back in 2001.
- 2018-19: Juventus
- 2017-18: Juventus
- 2016-17: Juventus
- 2015-16: Juventus
- 2014-15: Juventus
- 2013-14: Juventus
- 2012-13: Juventus
- 2011-12: Juventus
- 2010-11: Milan
- 2009-10: Inter Milan
Here’s the complete list of champions going back to 1898, in an era that Genoa dominated.
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Phil West is a sports reporter and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.