How to unblock Sports Streaming websites
James Patterson | Last Updated:
Online Gaming & Internet Privacy Expert
With more and more online streaming services than ever dedicated to sports, it’s not difficult to catch matches of your favorite teams even if you’re away from your home television. But if you’re often on the go, you might have noticed that you’re unable to access these sites from some locations. Unfortunately, these geo-blocks are common across most sports streaming platforms due to licensing issues.
There’s an easy solution however: by using a VPN to connect to servers located in different countries, you can often “trick” these platforms into thinking that you’re physically located somewhere you’re not, bypassing the geo-blocks in your region. In this article, we’ll show you how to easily set up a VPN and lay out all the ways which using a VPN can help you surf the web with less restrictions and in greater privacy.
Why are sports streams geo-blocked?
There’re generally two types of geo-blocks involved when it comes to sports, and a VPN can help you easily bypass both of them. Here are the two main reasons why geo-blocks exist for online sports content:
Rights to sporting events are sold on a regional basis:
If you’re hosting a grand sporting event like the Fifa World Cup or the Tour de France, people from all across the world want to watch your event. This means organizers can make the most money by selling broadcast rights to the event separately for each region.
Unfortunately, this also means that if your favorite streaming platform only has the rights to an event for one country, you would be blocked from watching the event from a different location.
Some sports leagues impose regional blackouts:
Major League Baseball in the United States, for example, sell broadcast rights to their games with blackout clauses. What this means is that when your local team plays, online broadcasters are not allowed to stream the games to viewers in your region no matter where they’re playing.
This happens because some sports team believe online streaming of events compete against their own ticket sales. By removing the right to watch games online, teams hope to encourage more local fans to buy stadium tickets and see matches in person. We understand that this might feel extremely unfair for fans who can only catch the games online though.
How does using a VPN help me watch sports online?
Luckily, a VPN can allow you to get past any type of geo-block, including the two situations described above. A VPN works by connecting users to a network of secure VPN servers. By then connecting to the internet from these servers, websites you visit cannot see your true IP address, only that of the server. This also means that if the server is located in a different country, any website you visit would identify you as a user from that location, allowing you access to previously geo-blocked content.
Using a VPN can also help you access sports streaming sites on school or office networks, where streaming content is often blocked by firewalls. For certain large international sporting events, such as the MotoGP or Wimbledon, you can even use a VPN to access free legal streams of these events online.
VPN Guide: You’re five simple steps away from using a VPN to unblock your favorite sports matches
- Sign up with a reputable VPN service. We think ExpressVPN’s speed makes it the best for streaming.
- Download and Install the VPN on your device.
- Connect to a server in a country where the match is being streamed.
- Open your streaming site. Depending on the service, you might also need to switch your account region.
- Sit back and enjoy the match!
Our three recommended VPNs for sports streaming
VPNs are a fiercely competitive market, with many different providers vying for your attention. We’ve picked out three below which we think do a great job unblocking sports streams, and out of those ExpressVPN stands out. Not only are they fast, the VPN is also extremely reliable and secure.
#1. ExpressVPN – the fastest vpn streaming servers
ExpressVPN is an extremely fast VPN that can unblock a huge variety of different sports streams. Their dense network features 3,000 servers spread across 95 countries, making it easy to access any sports stream you’re interested in. ExpressVPN also has apps for almost any digital device you can think of as well, including nine major brands of Smart TVs, allowing you to watch sports on the big screen.
Their speed-boosting Smart Location feature and proprietary Lightway connection protocol is more than quick enough for keeping up with fast-paced sports action as well. And you can take full advantage of this speed due to the service having no bandwidth limits.
You can try ExpressVPN today for no risk with their 30-day money-back offer. Their clean and simple interface is designed to be intuitive to use even for VPN beginners, and if you run into any troubles trying to unblock streaming site online, a 24/7 customer support team is always on standby to offer technical assistance.
#2. NordVPN – excellent global vpn server count
NordVPN is an amazing all-rounded VPN with a focus on security. Their military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, use of SHA384 authentication and comprehensive protection against WebRTC, DNS and IPv6 leaks make sure that nothing which can identify you online is leaked to websites that you visit. On top of that, NordVPN respects your privacy by refusing to keep any logs on your internet activity.
This not only makes them great at securing your online privacy, it also allows them to consistently hide your true location from sports streaming services and unblock geo-restricted content. If you’re watching sports online, it’s likely that you’re subscribed to other streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu as well. NordVPN is able to unlock the vast regional libraries of all these sites in multiple countries, allowing you to get more out of your streaming subscription.
#3. SurfShark – good for those on a tight budget
Surfshark offers a premium VPN service at an unbelievable price, with its fees being three to four times cheaper compared to major competitors. And it does so with no compromises: while the service is not as flat out fast as ExpressVPN, its more than capable of streaming HD video. And it comes with a full set of security features as well, including 256-bit encryption, private DNS servers and a kill switch.
If you often frequent free sports streaming sites, Surfshark also has a convenient built-in adblocker known as CleanWeb, which swats down the annoying and potentially malicious ads which are commonly found on these websites.
The Best Licensed Sports Streaming Sites Online
Now that you’ve got your VPN ready to go, here are some of the best official sports streaming sites to try out. Most of these sites have regional restrictions, and you’ll need a VPN to access their full content, depending on where in the world you are:
- ESPN: The well-known American sports channel also has an online website where most of their TV content can be streamed. The channel covers most major American sporting leagues such as the NBA, NFL and MLB, and a cable subscription to the channel is required to watch content online. Alternatively, you can also purchase an internet-only subscription through their website.
- BBC iPlayer: The national UK broadcaster streams sports content such as football, cricket and soccer matches ad-free online, but the service is restricted to only UK residents. If you’re not currently in the UK, you would need to use a VPN to connect to a UK-based server before you can watch streams online.
- Fox Sports: One of the largest TV sports channels in the world, Fox Sports offers users an online app where you can catch all of the network’s television content for free. You do need an existing TV subscription to the cable channel, however, and without a VPN the you can only access local content for your country on the app.
Top Unofficial Sports Streaming Sites
If you’re looking for a free sports streaming site, be warned that some of these sites may feature copyright-infringing, unlicensed streams. The upside is that many of these sites are free and do not have geo-blocks. You might still need a VPN to access these sites though, since many of them are blocked by ISPs or the government authorities.
- 123TV: This all-in-one streaming platform features free live streams of major US sports channels such as ESPN, Fox, and NBC Sports. Its clean interface makes it easy to use, and for a free streaming site it has relatively few ads.
- Live Soccer TV: The free soccer-focused streaming service provides comprehensive coverage of soccer matches going on around the world, from major events like the English Premier League to lesser-known regional competitions. Other sports such as American football and Rugby are also featured on the site.
- Live TV: this all-Russian site might be a little harder to navigate for English speakers, but the site covers a wide range of sports including swimming, hockey and tennis.