If you’re an NFL fan, you might know that there are a lot of ways to stream the championship live. However, more and more Americans nowadays are terminating their long-term cable TV deals and turning to online streaming services instead. It’s well known that NFL GAME PASS is the perfect platform for people who have cut the cord and want to keep track of their team. But there’s a problem with that. Once you shell out a not-so-cheap subscription fee, you notice that only replays are available. Is that worth your money? No. Is there a workaround? A way to avoid such blackouts? Yes. Let me show you what you need to do to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts anywhere.
Blackout Restrictions 101
In case you didn’t know, blackout policies have been in existence for a long time in sports broadcasting. That includes the NFL season. In countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the blackouts are being implemented during almost every national game, which makes the use of NFL Game Pass practically useless. You see, there are two reasons for blackouts to occur, one more efficient than the other, but stating both will give you a better idea.
First, from 1973 through 2014, NFL enforced a blackout policy for marketing reasons. The policy states that any home game will not be shown on television if the ticket sales did not reach 85% within 72 hours prior to the game. The NFL mostly wanted to make sure people from certain regions visit the game, which can be a bit expensive. That’s why people prefer to watch the games on TV.
Second, for those who prefer to stream their NFL games online, they typically have limited options. The limitation occurs when major cable providers such as CBS, AT&T, and Time Warner have the rights to show the matches on their cable networks. If that’s the case, every streaming service will be subject to blackouts until the game ends. That includes the NFL’s own Game Pass service.
I know you’re here looking for a solution, and one you shall get. Keep scrolling to find out everything about Game Pass and how to bypass blackouts below.
US Game Pass vs. International Game Pass
NFL is a very popular sport in the United States. Throughout the years, it became popular worldwide reaching European audience courtesy of the International Game Pass. I’ll be talking about that next. But there’s one thing that US viewers suffer from. Let’s state the facts in a more comprehensive look below.
The US NFL Game Pass
Last season, European fans watched over 6.5 million hours of live games using Game Pass. That’s because, in the US, you’re not offered live streaming with your subscription. Let me show you. Here’s what you get when you want to subscribe to the US NFL Game Pass.
If you’re in the US, visiting the Game Pass official page will redirect you to the American version. Your subscription fee will be at $99.99 with a 7-day free trial. However, that’s not what you should care about. Take a look at where I’ve marked the screenshot. In the US, you get to replay every game, not watch it live. I’m pretty certain that you’ve noticed that there’s no mention of Live access to these games. Basically, you’re watching the season’s matches after everyone else in other regions, as Replays. Bummer!
What About the International Game Pass?
NFL GAME PASS has an international twin, which is a great way to stream your matches live without a hitch in the road. Oh, that’s unless you live in the UK as blackouts are still present courtesy of Sky Sports. To sum it up, if you live outside the United States, the page you visit will be different.
Those living outside the US will get the chance to watch live and on-demand matches, the NFL Red Zone, as well as NFL Network 24/7. Also, in case you didn’t know, the pricing differs based on the country. For example, the price in India is $124.99/year.
While the price in the United Kingdom is a bit higher than that, you’ll get your annual subscription for £143.99.
All in all, the International Game Pass is more expensive than the domestic one. Which one do you prefer? The slightly expensive one with all the services you need or the cheap one with the replays only? It depends on what you’re looking for.
So Different, Yet So Much Alike
Despite the differences in terms of availability, content, and pricing, there’s one thing they have in common, device compatibility. Both US NFL Game Pass and International GP have the same supported platforms that you can stream games on. These include:
- Xbox One
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire Stick
- Samsung Smart TV
- Android TV
Circumventing NFL Game Pass Blackouts – The Easiest Method
You might stop for a minute and ask yourself, how did I know which countries Game Pass is blacked out in? Well, to answer your question, no, I did not travel across the countries to test the service. I’m in my chair, on my computer traveling the world virtually using a VPN.
You see, a Virtual Private Network is an internet tool that can spoof your location with a push of a button. It reroutes your internet traffic through a server of your choosing, which makes it appear as if you’re accessing the internet from a different country. That comes in handy when you’re looking to bypass regional restrictions and even blackouts.
Today’s problem is the blackout restrictions on Game Pass. So, if you’re in the US, all you have to do is connect to a server in a region where no official broadcaster has the rights to the game you’re trying to watch. Your best option is to connect to a server in the European region and sign up for the International GP.
As for those who are already in Europe, your task is easy. Every country there doesn’t apply blackout restrictions except the United Kingdom and Ireland. So, connect to a server outside those areas, and you’re good to go. For a more comprehensive look, here’s what you need to do:
- First, sign up with a VPN service that has a decent server network. I’ll be reviewing some of the top ones, later on, to help you out with your decision.
- Download and install their VPN application on a compatible device such as iOS, PC, Mac, and Android.
- Next, log in with your username and password and head over to the server list.
- Connect to a server in a region where no cable provider is showing the game on TV.
- Once done, double-check your new IP address using this IP Tool.
- Now, launch NFL Game Pass and stream the full regular season live anywhere (Blackout-free).
Below, I’ll be talking about the top recommendations to bypass NFL Game Pass Blackouts. Here are some options.
NFL Game Pass – Bypass Blackouts with the Best Tools
As I mentioned above, I’m going to be recommending the top VPNs to bypass those frustrating blackouts most NFL fans are witnessing. To do so, you need to change your location, and a VPN is the easiest way to do so. However, there’s also another way that goes by the name of Smart DNS Proxy. It’s a 3-minute read, and it includes all the details you need to make up your mind. So, here are the top VPN and Smart DNS providers on the market today.
First on our list comes ExpressVPN – one of the most reliable VPN providers in the industry. The provider is not based in the US, but still, one of the best ways to unblock US content no matter where you are. It has an extensive server network consisting of more than 3000 servers across 160 locations, 37 of them in the US. Not only does it have a vast number of servers, but it’s also known for its impressive speeds.
During my tests, I found out that ExpressVPN has dedicated servers for streaming. That’s pretty essential if you want to watch your NFL games in full HD without witnessing the buffering sign every once in a while.
Moreover, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which don’t have any mandatory data retention laws. That’s not all; ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of user activity. So, basically, if the government or law-enforcement agencies came snooping around, they won’t find anything to harvest.
Finally, although ExpressVPN is pretty speedy, you can benefit from their Smart DNS service to gain more speed. A VPN encrypts your data, which tampers with your internet speed. However, with MediaStreamer, no encryption takes place, which means you’ll be operating at full speed (you’ll lose the extra layer of security). Oh, and if you’re not satisfied with what the provider has to offer, you can simply ask for a refund provided you stick to the 30-day cash-back period.
- A huge server network (3000+ servers).
- Doesn’t store user activities.
- Blazing fast speeds.
- High-level AES 256-bit encryption.
- Easy-to-use apps.
- Five concurrent connections.
- Refund policy (30 days).
- Live chat support.
- MediaStreamer Smart DNS.
- Quite expensive.
NordVPN is well-known to be the biggest VPN among all the competitors on the market. It boasts over 5000 servers in 60 countries, perfectly positioned to give users a secure connection no matter where they’re located.
You can connect by simply selecting the country on the map. It may not have the cute cartoon appeal of Tunnel Bear with the Honey pots, but it certainly makes traveling the virtual world seamless and enjoyable.
NordVPN focuses a lot on security and privacy. That’s why it provides users with the latest technologies in that field. First, you get to encrypt your data twice using two separate VPN servers. That’s what they call Double VPN. Second, NordVPN uses a technology called CyberSec, which fends off any malware, virus, or malicious software that might target your device while online.
Furthermore, NordVPN proved time and again that navigating around geographical restrictions on Netflix or getting access to blackout matches on Game Pass is an easy task. However, while testing, I’ve noticed that the VPN provider struggles a bit when it comes to speed. Some servers weren’t very fast, yet some were, particularly in the UK.
Finally, NordVPN also offers a Smart DNS feature called SmartPlay. That way, you won’t have to lose access to your local channels while accessing geo-restricted ones. The speed remains untouched and HD streaming would be better.
- 5000+ servers in 60 countries.
- Zero-traffic logging.
- CyberSec technology.
- Double encryption.
- SmartPlay Smart DNS.
- Six simultaneous connections.
- Cash-back policy (30 days).
- Live chat support.
- Bumpy speeds.
- Vague 7-day free trial.
Unlocator has been around since 2013. It first started as a pure Smart DNS service. As of 2018, it became a hybrid service offering both Smart DNS and VPN. When we speak of its Smart DNS feature, the provider unlocks more than 234 channels around the world. It simply reroutes the parts of your traffic that showcase your location so that you can trick the channel into thinking that you’re somewhere else.
Setting up Smart DNS with Unlocator can’t get any easier. If you visit their website, you’ll find all kinds of guides no matter what device you’re using. Just follow the walkthroughs based on the platform you’re using, and you’ll be fine.
As for the VPN service, it’s still new. But when I was testing Unlocator VPN, I came across a pretty intriguing feature. The provider uses its own Smart DNS servers, which means no matter what server you connect to, you’ll be bypassing global geo-restrictions. For example, if you connect to a US server, you’ll still be able to stream BBC iPlayer (which is in the UK).
However, that might come with a downside. When I performed a DNS leak test, it showed that my DNS seems to be leaking. But when I contacted the support team, they shed some light on the matter claiming that they use their own servers, which means your ISP cannot see what has been leaked, only Unlocator can.
Finally, Unlocator is not an expensive service to use. If you’re interested, you can always visit their website and sign up for their 7-day free trial. You won’t need to submit any credit card information. That way, you can take it for a test drive before making any decision.
- Decent server speeds.
- Zero-logging policy.
- Able to unblock Netflix.
- Smart DNS service.
- Very simple apps.
- Military-grade encryption.
- 30-day refund policy.
- 7-day free trial.
- Small server network.
- Some servers were slow.
- Confusing DNS Leak.
Introducing the NFL Teams
In case you didn’t know, the 2019’s season will kick off on September 5th, 2019. We’ll start with a clash when the Chicago Bears hosts the Green Bay Packers. You can tell that this season is packed with all the NFL action you’ve been waiting for since the past season. For now, let’s take a look at the teams participating in the 2019 NFL season:
- Arizona Cardinals
- Atlanta Falcons
- Baltimore Ravens
- Buffalo Bills
- Carolina Panthers
- Chicago Bears
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Dallas Cowboys
- Denver Broncos
- Detroit Lions
- Green Bay Packers
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- The Jaguars
- New York Giants
- Kansas City Chiefs
- LA Chargers
- Los Angeles Rams
- N.O Saints
- Miami Dolphins
- Minnesota Vikings
- The Patriots
- New York Jets
- Oakland Raiders
- Ph. Eagles
- The Steelers
- S.F 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Tennessee Titans
Get Around NFL Game Pass Blackouts – Final Thoughts
VPNs aren’t just a means to bypass restrictions and blackouts, they’re also security tools. Once you connect, all of your internet traffic gets pushed through private servers whilst encrypting every single bit of data. This makes it next to impossible for anyone to see your online activity – even for the most experienced hackers.
With that said, you now know how to get around blackout restrictions that ruin your NFL Game Pass subscription. Just connect to a server where no cable provider has the broadcasting rights, and you’re done. You can enjoy the 2019 season without any interruptions. If you need any extra help, feel free to contact me by posting a comment below.