How to bypass blackouts imposed on NCAA College Football, MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, MLS, ESPN, Hulu, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue, YouTube TV, Fox Sports, or NBC Sports? For American sports fans considering cutting the cord, blackout restrictions are the only thing holding them back. Learn more about how you can watch blackout games below.
Due to broadcasting rights, cable providers do not allow streaming channels to show the game you want to watch live online in certain regions. Luckily, there are two workarounds that allow you to bypass blackout restrictions in the USA or Canada. In this tutorial, I will show you how to use VPN or Smart DNS proxies to stream any baseball, football, basketball, or soccer game you want blackout-free online.
How to Bypass Blackout Restrictions – Content Index
Blackout Restrictions – Brief Explanation
Ever since sports streaming channels emerged in the United States, they have been limited by the games they are allowed to broadcast online. You basically subscribe to an online sports channel like MLB.tv or NFL Game Pass but are not allowed to watch the games you want due to the fact they are being shown on cable television as well. This blackout policy mainly aims to protect American cable providers including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner.
Although there have been several plans to scrap blackout policies throughout the years, none of these plans ever came to fruition. It’s not just Americans though. Many games are not available on Internet television in Canada too because major Canadian broadcast networks have secured the rights to them and prevent Internet television aggregators from distributing them. Cord cutters have been left frustrated, looking for alternative ways to watch their favorite games live online. Eventually, they began using virtual private networks (VPN) and Smart DNS proxies as a means to bypass blackouts imposed on in-market games.
How to Avoid Blackout Restrictions using VPN
Whenever you go online, your ISP provides you with an IP address which allows you to interact with online websites and services. This IP address allows these sites to vaguely determine where you currently are. Streaming channels such as MLB.tv and NHL.tv can determine your current location by looking at your IP address as well.
As long as the streaming app does not use GPS or other location services, you can manipulate your IP address using a VPN and thus bypass blackout restrictions. Follow these instructions.
- First, sign up with a VPN provider. Make sure that that provider actually has several servers in the USA as well as abroad. You can jump over to ExpressVPN, for instance.
- Now that you have created your VPN account, download and install the VPN application. PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices are all supported.
- Launch the app and connect to an American VPN server in a state where the game you want to watch is available. You can also connect to a VPN server outside the USA.
- The last step is to head over to MLB.tv, NFL Game Pass, NHL.tv, or use their native apps.
- Stream any game you want black-out free.
To save you time and effort, we’ve tested some of the biggest VPN providers out there. Here’s our list of the best VPN services you can use to bypass MLB, NBA, MLS, NHL, or NFL blackouts in USA and Canada.
- Best for streaming and privacy
- High speed servers in 160 VPN locations
- Works for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
- 24/7/ live chat support
- 3 extra months free on annual plan
- UltraHD streaming
- Free Smart DNS proxy
- Unblocks all major streaming services
- Limited Time 72% Discount
- Unlimited VPN connections
- Over 1000 servers
- Ad-blocking feature available
- User-friendly application
- Exclusive Smart VPN feature
- Standalone Smart DNS subscription available
Best VPN to Bypass Blackouts
While there are hundreds of VPN providers to choose from, you might want to know that some of them are considered to be more efficient than others when it comes to circumventing blackouts. You’ll find free ones that actually work with geo-restrictions. However, some if not all of their servers might not be able to access a streaming channel when a blackout occurs. That’s a good enough reason to invest in a reputable premium VPN. I went ahead and tried out 4 of the top VPNs to help you with getting rid of blackout restrictions. Check them out in a detailed analysis below.
ExpressVPNWith ExpressVPN, you have more than 1000 servers to choose from in 94 countries, including dozens in the United States. This means that you have several options to cloak your location and access blacked out channels live wherever you are. Moreover, when you connect to any server, you’ll receive a 256-bit AES encryption. Your device will be protected at all times and your identity will be masked. You can surf the internet anonymously without having to worry about your ISP spying on your internet activities. Here’s more:
- Easy Access to Netflix.
- Works in China.
- 30-day cash-back guarantee.
- 24/7 customer support.
- Uses 256-bit AES encryption.
- Unlimited access to video, social media, music, and games.
- Connect to more than 90 countries.
- Allows P2P/Torrenting.
- 128+ server locations.
- A bit expensive.
BulletVPN brings security to a whole new level. Unlike the competitors on the list, the VPN doesn’t have browser extensions. However, it’s still one of the fastest VPNs I’ve ever tested. Not only that, but their application is so simple, allowing you to connect to more than 150+ servers in 55 countries within seconds.
Don’t let its simplicity fool you. It has everything you need and you can connect easily without having a problem. I’m pretty sure this VPN has a lot more to offer in the upcoming years. Just give us a bit more servers and you’ll be on the top in no time. More about BulletVPN:
- 6-devices can be connected simultaneously.
- Simple and easy user interface.
- Fast and responsive support.
- Free Smart DNS.
- Zero Logs Policy
- Unlimited Speed / Bandwidth / Server Switching
- No browser extensions.
NordVPN brings you some of the most unique security features and technologies to ensure your privacy. They offer Cybersec, a feature that shields your device from malware, viruses, and any malicious software. In addition, you get to reroute your traffic through two VPN servers at once. Double the servers, double your encryption.
Getting the app is pretty easy. All you have to do is go to their official website and you’ll find a version for all major operating systems. Once you get it, you’ll notice how user-friendly it really is. Just sign in and select a location out of the 52 countries in the list. All done. Check out more about this impressive VPN below:
- No logs policy.
- Connect 6 devices at the same time.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Access 5100+ servers worldwide.
- Double VPN.
- It has its slow moments.
SurfShark is one of the new entries in the world of online privacy. However, it has made an impact ever since it launched to the services it offers. With its ultra-fast servers and easy to use apps, this VPN provider is gradually catching up to the veterans.
SurfShark offers more than 800 servers around the world, which means you can tap into hundreds of geo-restricted channels with a push of a button. Moreover, you get unlimited connections under one subscription. In other words, you can share your account with all your friends and family. But wait, there’s more:
- Servers in 50+ countries.
- Kill switch available.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Keeps zero logs.
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
- Super fast speeds.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Simple but fully-featured apps.
- Their monthly subscription is quite pricey.
How to Bypass Blackouts using Smart DNS Proxies
You can also use Smart DNS proxy services to avoid getting blacked out. In this case, you do not get a new IP address. Only those URLs which reveal your location to the streaming channel you are watching are re-routed.
As is the case with a VPN, you cannot bypass blackouts if the streaming app uses GPS or location services. For instance, the MLB.tv app on iOS and Android devices is able to detect your location by using GPS. However, you can still bypass MLB blackouts on PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, and even Smart TVs using these instructions.
- First, you have to sign up with a Smart DNS proxy service that supports bypassing blackouts.
- After you have created your Smart DNS account, you have to change your streaming device’s primary and secondary DNS server address. Alternatively, you can set up Smart DNS directly on your router. Follow these videos/tutorials.
- Now jump over to MLB.tv, NFL Game Pass, NHL.tv, or use their native apps.
- Watch any game without blackouts.
Unlocator is a Smart DNS proxy service that supports avoiding NHL, NFL, UFC, NBA, and MLB blackout restrictions. You can try them out for free by signing up for a 7-day trial. You don’t even need to fill in your credit card info to sign up.
Streaming Channels with Blackout Restrictions
Blackouts might occur while you’re streaming the following channels:
- NCAA College Football
- Fox Sports Go
- NBC Sports
- NBA League Pass
- NFL Game Pass
- Hulu Live TV
- Sling TV
- DirecTV Now
- PS Vue
- YouTube TV
How to Bypass Blackout Restrictions in USA – Final Thoughts
So, if you have been contemplating cutting the cord but are afraid to lose the ability to watch your favorite teams live, services like ExpressVPN or Unlocator will help you out. Although you have to pay for these services in addition to the streaming channel, it’s all still way cheaper than expensive cable packages and their long-term contracts. The best thing about it all is that you are able to cancel these subscriptions during the off-season or at any other time.