How to watch ESPN Online from outside of the USA
James Patterson | Last Updated:
Online Gaming & Internet Privacy Expert
ESPN is the go-to TV channel for all things related to American sports, and you can easily catch almost all of its content online as well on the ESPN app. However, that’s only true if you currently live in the US – ESPN’s online content is often geo-blocked in other locations, due to licensing restrictions.
These restrictions prevent even paying ESPN subscribers from accessing sports content when travelling outside of the US. Fortunately, there are easy solutions available. Using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, you can prevent websites or apps you use from knowing your true location. This is how VPNs work: by allowing you to first connect to a secure VPN server in a separate location before accessing the internet, you hide your true IP address and give out a fake one of your choice to sites you visit, effectively spoofing your location.
Where can I Watch ESPN Online?
There are multiple ways to watch ESPN online, with slightly different content and at different price points. Here’s a quick roundup:
- Main ESPN.com website and app: You can download the ESPN app, or simply watch all of ESPN’s TV content for free on its main website. The catch is that you’ll need to be subscribed to their cable TV channel. Enter your TV subscription credentials online to get access.
- Watch ESPN through an online streaming service (Youtube TV, Hulu +, Sling TV and more): Many paid streaming platforms offer ESPN channels as part of their online catalog. Note that for some of these services, such as Hulu, you’ll need to pay for an extra add-on on top of your normal subscription to watch ESPN.
- Subscribe to ESPN+: ESPN+ is ESPN’s own online streaming channel, featuring a mix of both exclusive content and sports broadcasts which can also be found on the ESPN TV channels. Not all of ESPN’s TV content is available on ESPN+, however. This streaming subscription is designed to be an add-on offering extra content to the main ESPN channel, not an alternative.
- WatchESPN app: Originally ESPN’s online streaming portal, this app has since been removed. The same content is now currently found on the main ESPN website and video app.
No matter which method you use, however, there’s a risk of running into geo-blocks which block you from watching all of the events streamed on ESPN. There is the most content available for US region viewers on ESPN, but even in the US there can be annoying blackout restrictions which stop you from following your favorite sports teams. We recommend using a VPN to make sure that you get to watch everything on ESPN.
VPN Breakdown: Unblock ESPN content on any of its platforms in just five simple steps!
- Pick your VPN. We highly recommend ExpressVPN because of their high-speed vpn streaming servers.
- Download the VPN app onto your device.
- Login and run the VPN.
- Connect to a VPN server. Generally, you want to connect to a US server to get the most out of ESPN.
- Great, you’re all set!Navigate to where you usually watch ESPN online, and enjoy the new content available!
Top 3 VPN Picks
There’s a ton of different VPN services available today, each with their own unique set of features. A great VPN to use for unblocking ESPN should come with fast connection speeds, wide server coverage and access to unlimited bandwidth is key. Strong encryption abilities able to keep your internet activity private is important as well. Here are three top VPNs which we think fit the bill.
- Supported Devices:
ExpressVPN ticks all the right boxes for a perfect VPN to use with streaming apps. While the service is definitely on the pricier side, its speed, reliability and massive server network still make it an amazing deal. It has the proven ability to unblock ESPN for regions all over the world, with more than 3,000 servers located in 95 different countries. ExpressVPN’s cutting-edge Lightway connection protocol and speed-optimized server infrastructure also makes sure that there’s no need to worry about buffering streams, regardless of how high up you turn your video definition settings.
ExpressVPN also goes to great lengths to make sure that their service remains easy to use, no matter how many features they tack on. Customized apps for a wide range of electronic devices, including nine major brands of Smart TVs, makes installation a breeze. Their built-in speed test makes it simple to select the fastest server for any given location as well. And if you still run into issues, a 24/7 customer support team is always on stand-by to make sure that you get the help needed to get your VPN working.
ExpressVPN allows you to stream ESPN content from anywhere in the world, with no bandwidth limits or speed caps to get in your way. And if you also watch content from other streaming services, these same features also make ExpressVPN great at unblocking geo-restricted content on other sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney +. Try them out for yourself with no commitments through their 30-day money back guarantee!
Below are the latest ExpressVPN subscription prices, current as at October 2021:
- 1 Month: $12.95
- 6 Months: $9.99
- 15 Months: $6.67 (Special Deal: 3 Months Free + Save 49%)
Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.
- Supported Devices:
NordVPN is another great choice, especially if you’re constantly on the go. Their obfuscated servers technology keeps the VPN working even in countries which actively block unauthorized VPN use, such as China or Russia. They’re also able to assign you a dedicated IP address each time you access their servers, which is convenient for accessing your email or online banking account without your IP address constantly changing. On top of that, their huge network of 5400 speed-optimized servers are more than capable of delivering ESPN content lag-free.
And their strong security features are able to keep your internet activity and personal data safe when you travel. Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, private DNS servers and a strict no-logs policy grants you the peace of mind that not even your ISP or any government authorities can spy on what you’re doing online. NordVPN is also compatible with the highly secure tor browser through their Onion over VPN feature, giving you even greater security when browsing the web.
How can I bypass ESPN blackout restrictions on mobile?
ESPN blackout restrictions block users in specific locations from accessing some of its content, due to the platform not owning license rights to show the sports match locally. One easy workaround is to use a VPN to connect to servers in a different location, allowing you to watch the match normally. See you VPN set-up guide above for more details!
On mobile devices however, sometimes that’s not enough. Since mobile devices often come with a GPS, some streaming services like ESPN+ might force you to turn on your GPS to use their app, revealing your true location at all times. VPNs cannot generally spoof your GPS location, and would not be able to unblock geo-restricted content in this case.
One alternative is to watch the match on your laptop or Smart TV, which do not come with GPS devices. You could also use a VPN with a built-in GPS-spoofing feature, such as Surfshark.
Should I use a free VPN for ESPN?
While using a VPN is often necessary to access all of the content available on ESPN, we do not recommend using a free VPN for streaming services. Many free VPN services have very limited server coverage compared to their premium counterparts, meaning that you might not be able to find connectable servers for some regions. Additionally, free VPN services also have much slower internet speeds in general, which can result in frustrating buffering or video stutters during tense sporting moments.
Free VPNs also need to make a profit somehow, and some shady providers turn to selling user data to cover their costs, compromising your privacy. We highly recommend using a reputable VPN service for ESPN, like one of the three we recommend above.
Does ESPN work with VPN?
Yes, VPNs are a great way to access all of the content on ESPN, much of which is locked behind geo-restrictions. It is important, however, that you pick a reliable VPN able to deliver the fast connection speeds necessary for streaming HD video. Server coverage is also important, since you’ll want access to all of the different regions with ESPN content that you are interested in. We highly using recommend ExpressVPN – check out our quick five-step guide above on how to set up the app!
Is ESPN+ region locked?
Yes, unfortunately you might often run into region-locked content on ESPN, especially if you’re trying to use the app from outside the US. Since ESPN only owns the rights to show some sports matches for certain regions, they are legally required to block users from outside these regions from accessing this content.
Sometimes, content is also blocked because of blackout restrictions if the matches are taking place locally. This is either because local broadcast rights have been sold to another TV station, or the event organizers want to encourage local residents to buy live tickets for the match. Using a VPN to spoof your location is one easy way to avoid these restrictions – we have a simple guide above on how exactly to start using one!