Streaming services have been in the game for quite some time now. They have been the best alternative for cable subscriptions, allowing you to stream any sports show or event. Unfortunately, blackout restrictions may sometimes get in the way and keep you from watching your favorite teams. What a bummer right? But don’t worry, there is a loophole.
In this article, we will show you how to bypass blackout restrictions using a VPN, so that you don’t miss any sports match or program.
What Are Blackout Restrictions?
American broadcasters and cable providers like Time Warner, Verizon, Spectrum, Cox, and Comcast force blackout restrictions to protect their rights to air local matches. Blackout policies keep streaming services from screening live matches, and oblige fans to pay for cable subscriptions. This doesn’t only happen in the US, but in Canada and the UK as well.
And despite the many calls and plans to get rid of blackout policies, cable-cutting sports fans are still unable to watch their local teams play. But there is a way to bypass blackout restrictions and watch any NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or MLS match.
How to Bypass Blackout Restrictions Using VPN?
Streaming channels like ESPN+, MLB.TV, or NFL Game Pass pinpoint your location through your IP address. If you’re in the blackout area, you can forget about watching the match.
A virtual private network, or VPN, can get past blackout restrictions using a software that conceals your geographic location. It masks your IP address and gives you another one from a different region, making it appear as if you were living there. All you have to do is connect to a server from outside the blackout area, and you’re all set.
Simply put, if you live in Texas and want to watch the Dallas Mavericks or the Dallas Cowboys play, you have to connect to a server that is not within the blackout area, like Canada for example. Then, you’ll be able to follow any Texan team across any sport.
This makes VPNs the best tool to bypass blackout restrictions and stream sports. And getting one is just a few clicks away. Just follow the below steps:
- Choose a VPN Provider and create an account.
- Download and install the app on your device.
- Sign in
- Connect to a US server that isn’t in the blackout area, preferably from anther state.
- Double check your new IP address on WhatIsMyIP.network.
- Stream football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey or any other sport from anywhere.
Best VPNs to Get Past Blackout Restrictions
There are a lot of efficient VPN providers in the market, but I highly-recommend ExpressVPN. I use this brand whenever Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are playing, and blackout restrictions have never kept me from any game.
ExpressVPN has so many servers across the United States and the world, so you will easily avoid any sort of blocking. You can also go online anonymously because the company offers a military-grade encryption protocol. And with a strict no-logging policy, you know that nothing can be traced back to you.
ExpressVPN is also offers high levels of speed, which makes it a perfect choice for streaming HD matches.
For a full review of the brand, check out ExpressVPN Review 2019.
And if you’re still not totally convinced, here is a list of top-ranked alternatives that are just as reliable:
Do VPNs Always Work?
Certain streaming channels may require that you have your GPS or other location services turned on, in case you’re using a mobile phone or tablet. So despite having a VPN, you might have a problem because the streaming channel can determine your location. However, you can avoid location services by simply using your computer.
Other Ways to Bypass Blackout Restrictions
If you think VPNs are a bit complicated, which they totally aren’t, perhaps you’d like to use a Smart DNS Proxy to get past blackout restrictions.
Smart DNS proxies reroute the URLs that might expose your location, thus unblocking any restricted content. All you have to do is:
- Sign up with a Smart DNS service like Unlocator.
- Set up Smart DNS on your device.
- You could also set up Smart DNS on your router, gaming consoles, or Smart TVs.
- Gain access to most geo-blocked channels from anywhere in the world.
Keep in mind though, that Smart DNS proxies do not hide your IP address, so they may not always be successful. Also, they do not encrypt your data, meaning security and privacy aren’t their best feature.
Which Channels Have Blackout Restrictions?
Almost every sports league in the US is affiliated with blackout restrictions, which means that the majority of streaming channels are most likely banned from airing certain matches. These channels include:
- NBA League Pass
- MLS Network
- NFL Game Pass
- Sling TV
- DirecTV Now
- PlayStation Vue
- Hulu Live TV
- YouTube TV
- Fox Sports Go
- NBC Sports
- NCAA College Football
How to Get Past Blackout Restrictions With VPN – Conclusion
In the age of online streaming, having blackout restrictions is a disgrace. Preventing sports fans from watching their local teams and forcing them into buying expensive cable subscriptions is just unacceptable. That is why all cable cutters should get themselves a VPN, connect to a different server, and watch whatever they want.