No matter where you are in the world having access to your favourite sport is a necessity. With the explosion of the internet over the last ten years we ever more demand access to live games both on our computers and also mobile devices like phones and tablets. So if you’re an NBA, NFL or MLB fan and pay for one of their online live streaming packages one of the most annoying things about them is blackouts.
You may be surprised to be reading about this on a “.co.uk” website by a British writer but for years as a child growing up my father made a conscious effort to record the Super Bowl each year and so my passion for American sport began which continued with weekly battles between myself and my dad on the various John Madden Football games (ahuuu ahahhh!). You may find it even stranger that with the international “NFL Game Pass” we even suffer the dreaded blackouts over here in the UK which also extends to Canada and the Republic of Ireland.
So it started me thinking and I spoke with a few of my US based friends who confirmed that over the range of sports from the NBA to NFL and MLB all in some way are subject to blackouts for teams that are in your local market. The concept for this is rather strange not only because most of you are paying up to and over $100 per season for the privilege of watching live games, but you’re not even able to watch your local team for this princely sum.
Blackouts can cover a wide range of teams, for example the whole of Iowa covers 6 MLB teams including the Cubs, Brewers, Royals, Cardinals, White Sox & Twins. Regardless of where you’re located either in the US or one of the many other countries such as Canada, Mexico, Antigua, American Samoa, Bermuda, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or the Bahamas you will mostly likely fall into a blackout area for your favourite team. This lead me to wonder if there was a blackout workaround.
After some trial and testing with my US based friends I discovered that one way to get around blackouts for each league is to get yourself a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN is a cheap paid for service that allows you to connect to another location thus masking your real location. For those of you who have just clicked, what this allows you to do is appear as if you’re in another state which circumvents the blackout requirement for your local area. The process is really easy, once you have signed up to a service, they provide simple software that then allows you to connect to an out of state (or even out of country) server which then shows as your visible location to either the NBA League Pass site, MLB.tv or NFL DirecTV applications. Hey Presto! No more blackouts!
So you’ll be wondering what VPN provider to sign up to? Through our testing we found on a monthly basis that IPVanish would be the best choice coming in at $6-$10 per month for your first month due to the speeds achieved over their network, meaning you lose no quality. If you’re after committing to a full year then PrivateInternetAccess offer a decent package at US$39.95 per year. A final consideration to support a great US based company would be LiquidVPN who offers an equally attractively priced service.
Once you’ve downloaded their software just connect to one of their US servers and head over to your game page. It is that simple.
There are plenty of other good VPN providers so if you want to shop around then check out our VPN Comparison Table to compare over 20 providers and what they offer.
Now get on and enjoy your live game!
Basketball Player image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Baseball Bat With USA Flag image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net