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Serie A, launched in 1929, was the destination of choice for the best players in the world not so long ago. The likes of Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Ronaldo (the ’90s Brazilian striker), and Zinedine Zidane signed with Italy’s top teams to seek their professional fame and fortune, joining Italian-born legends like Francesco Totti, Gianluigi Buffon, and Paolo Maldini who had extremely long careers in the league (with more than 600 matches each).
Cristiano Ronaldo, by moving from Real Madrid to Juventus for the 2018-19 season, brought his unique spotlight on a league that still has its share of talented players—including, of course, many of the top players from Italy’s heralded national team.
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 tier square off in UEFA’s Europa League, and the bottom teams try to stave off relegation. As in England’s Premier League, 20 teams square off 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 the second-tier league has to offer.
Which Serie A teams should I know?
Serie A boasts some big names in international club soccer. Juventus, based in Turin, nicknamed “The Old Lady” and known for its distinctive black-and-white striped jersey, is in the midst of transforming itself into a global brand that is about culture as well as soccer. The Cristiano Ronaldo signing, one might surmise, helps with that aim to be popular as well as good—and they’ve dominated Serie A of late, winning eight straight seasons dating back to 2011-12.
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, not to be left out of the equation, is home to AS Roma and Lazio. Napoli, based in Naples, boasts one of the most international rosters in Serie A, and they’ve been the most consistent challenger to Juve’s crown in recent years.
Ligue 1 teams:
- Inter Milan
Serie A live stream: Watch Serie A matches for free
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.)
Serie A top scorers
Fabio Quagliarella: The 36-year-old veteran has scored 26 goals in 36 matches for Sampdoria this year, making him a surprise at the top of the Serie A stat sheet. He’s played with eight different Italian club teams and represented his country in the 2010 World Cup.
Krzysztof Piatek: Nicknamed “Il Pistolero” (“The Gunslinger”), the 23-year-old striker is beginning to be tapped for appearances by the Polish national team, and he’s split his 22 goals between two teams: the Genoa team he started the season with, and the AC Milan team he’s moved to.
Duvan Zapata: The Colombian striker has contributed mightily to Atalanta’s ascent this season. They find themselves in Champions League position heading into the final week of the season.
Cristiano Ronaldo: It’d be odd not to see the Champions League goal king make this list. At age 34, he hasn’t been as prolific this year as he was in La Liga, but he’s still one of the best threats to score from anywhere in any setting, and he’s played a definite role in Juve’s title defense.
Arkadiusz Milik: The Polish striker, Napoli’s leading scorer this season, is still just 25 but has been playing professionally since his teens. This has been his best season 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.