How to Bypass Blackout Restrictions – A Quick & Easy Guide to Unblocking Online Content via VPN!

Blackout policies have existed for a long time in the world of broadcasting sports events. This measure put in place mainly to make sure people from specific regions go to the game or at least watch the matches via cable TV channels. In other words, we’re talking about giving the local broadcaster a competitive advantage over the out-of-market networks. In countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the blackouts are implemented during almost every national game. And this leads us to the question of how to bypass blackout restrictions in 2020?

What’s important to be said is that blackout restrictions are one of the biggest problems that cord-cutters are facing. You can find ways to watch sports online without cable, and there are even some free sports streaming sites. If you decide to pay for a subscription, you’ll find numerous live TV streaming services, with vast lineups of sports TV channels. However, depending on your current location, all of those online services are affected by blackout restrictions. However, there’s no need to worry, as there’s a solution to this problem.

What’s the Best Way to Bypass Blackout Restrictions? Should You Use a VPN?

Yes, the most effective way to overcome sports blackout restrictions is to use a VPN. That’s because VPNs can change your IP address and make it look like you’re somewhere else, and this is precisely what you need in this case.

You also need to know that VPNs are incredibly simple to use. This means that we’re not talking about a complicated procedure, involving changing any parameters of your Internet connection. You simply open the VPN app, connect to a different server, and that’s about it. As soon as you connect to any of your VPN’s servers, you automatically get a new IP address. So, when you open your live TV streaming service, it’ll think that you’re accessing the Web from a different location, unlocking what was previously locked in your region.

Also, keep in mind that VPNs aren’t only made to fight against broadcast blackouts. They keep you safe and protected online, help you un-throttle your Web connection, and they help you unblock new types of websites. So, make sure to learn more about VPNs, and you’ll also want to know how VPNs work.

How to Bypass Blackout Restrictions by Using a VPN?

As mentioned above, VPNs are elementary applications. You shouldn’t have a problem using one, even if this is the first time you hear about this type of software. With this said, here’s how to bypass blackout restrictions by using a VPN service:

  • First, you need to find a reliable VPN service. We have some recommendations below, but you’re also free to check our overview of the best VPNs for streaming.
  • Then, you need to sign up. As you’ll see, our strong recommendation is ExpressVPN.
  • Next, download ExpressVPN by logging into your account on this VPN’s website. Once downloaded, install the application and log in.
  • Open the VPN and choose any location outside of the blackout zone. You’ll need to pick a different region in your country, or you’ll need to select a different country.
  • Once connected to a secure server, launch your favorite sports streaming service, and log in. The website will think you’re outside of the blackout zone, and you should be able to live stream the game.

Finally, we have one more piece of advice for you. For each sport, you can check out via their dedicated tools – such as NBA BlackoutsNHL.TV Blackout Detector, or this MLB’s tool – if any game in your current location undergoes blackout or not. If you are traveling or living in a different region other than your hometown, enter that zip code to find the perfect match.

Do You Really Need to Spend Money on a VPN? What About Free VPN Services?

There’s no need to hide the fact that free-of-charge VPNs exist. Naturally, it might be very tempting to go for those, because you would want to get it for free rather than pay for it, right? Well, when something’s free, there’s always a catch. In terms of free VPNs, they come with incredibly limited performance, bandwidth, and severe data caps, as they mostly act as demo versions of their paid counterparts.

Most importantly, free VPNs won’t let you bypass broadcast restrictions. They’re notoriously unreliable when it comes to media streaming. Not to mention, free VPNs often leak data, and they aren’t safe to use. In other words, trying out free VPNs is a waste of time.

If you’re concerned about VPNs cutting too much of your budget, then don’t worry – today’s VPNs are quite affordable, especially if you go for their long-term plans. You’ll want to check our overview of the best cheap VPNs, but also make sure to take a quick look at the best VPN deals.

What Are the Best VPNs for Bypassing Broadcast Blackout Restrictions in 2020?

For this purpose, you need a capable VPN service that can unblock a series of streaming platforms. With this said, we have three recommendations for you.

1. ExpressVPN

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As you already know, our first recommendation is ExpressVPN. This is one of the most reputable VPN services around, used by millions around the world. ExpressVPN can easily unblock a whole slate of media streaming services, which is what you need to bypass blackout restrictions. The process unfolds effortlessly, as ExpressVPN is one of the most user-friendly VPN services out there.

Among other features, ExpressVPN can take care of your online privacy in the best way possible. It encrypts your Web data using the latest available VPN protocols and high-end encryption, making sure you leave no trace behind. And also, it collects no logs – which means your personal information is 100% safe and protected. To learn more, here’s our full ExpressVPN review.

  • Media Streaming Support: Unblocks ESPN, YouTube TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, DAZN, Sky Go, beIN Sports, and more.
  • Media Streaming Devices: Supports Amazon Fire OS and Android TV.
  • Money-Back Guarantees: 30 days.

2. CyberGhost VPN

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If you need an alternative to ExpressVPN, we recommend checking out CyberGhost VPN. This is a hugely popular VPN brand that comes from Romania. Aside from its capable security-related features, it’s known for its ease of use. And of course, it has the ability to unblock media streaming websites.

CyberGhost comes with thousands of servers spread across the entire world. You can use any of these to obtain virtual IP addresses and to trick websites into thinking you’re in some completely different location. This allows you easily bypass blackout restrictions, whether you need an American IP or not. For additional info, turn to our CyberGhost VPN review.

  • Media Streaming Support: Unblocks ESPN, YouTube TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, Eurosports, RMC Sports, and more.
  • Media Streaming Devices: Supports Amazon Fire OS and Android TV.
  • Money-Back Guarantees: 45 days.

3. Unlocator

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Unlocator started as a ‘Smart DNS’ service, designed specifically for unblocking different types of websites. However, today it is a VPN service as well, which means you can count on Unlocator to protect your sensitive information along the way. With this said, Unlocator seems like the perfect solution for a wide range of individuals.

We’re sure that many of you want to bypass sports blackouts – which is where Unlocator is especially helpful. It helps you access ESPN, ESPN Plus, MLB.TV, NHL.TV, NBA League Pass, UFC TV, WWE Network, Fox Sports GO, NCAA March Madness, and more. Therefore, it’s safe to say that all your needs are going to be covered. To learn more, don’t forget to read our Unlocator review.

  • Media Streaming Support: Unblocks ESPN Plus, NFL Game Pass, NBC Sports, and a whole slate of other sports-related media streaming platforms.
  • Media Streaming Devices: Supports Amazon Fire OS and Android TV.
  • Money-Back Guarantees: 30 days.

FAQ

We’ve tried our best to explain the situation surrounding blackout restrictions, and this includes answering some commonly asked questions. So, keep on reading to learn more.

Why Are There Sports Blackouts?

These days, professional sports leagues are connected to many things, including huge financial deals. As you already know, sports venues and teams have an interest in selling tickets, as well as signing deals with certain broadcasters. Therefore, this mechanism aims to steer you towards the channels that have paid for the (exclusive) broadcast rights.

What Does “Subject to Blackout” Mean?

Plenty of individual sports events and entire sports leagues are “subject to blackouts” in the USA and across the world. That’s because individual telecasts can be sold regionally, which means that a single TV station has the exclusive rights for certain games. In other words, other TV channels and live TV streaming services are prohibited from broadcasting those games live.

What Are Local Blackout Restrictions?

Local blackouts apply to geographical restrictions, and these can be national or regional. In case one of the major national broadcasters obtains licensing rights, local TV stations won’t be allowed to broadcast the game. This is because fans of the teams will more likely buy the tickets and see the game live.

How to Bypass MLB Blackout Restrictions?

The most effective method to bypass MLB blackouts is by using a VPN to watch games online. A VPN helps you change your IP, which then enables you to avoid a blackout restriction. For this purpose, our first choice would be ExpressVPN.

Does ESPN Plus Have Blackouts?

To be able to access ESPN Plus, you need to enable location access on your device. That’s because ESPN+ checks your location each time you open its app. And you guessed it, that’s because certain blackout restrictions apply. Once again, a VPN is the best solution to this problem.

Will Sports Blackouts End at Some Point?

Back in 2015, the FCC (Federal Trade Commission) repealed its sports blackout rule, causing quite a commotion and excitement among sports fans. However, this didn’t really change anything, as sports blackouts are privately negotiated. With this said, it looks like broadcast restrictions are going to be here for a while.

We’ve finally reached the end of our guide. We hope that now you know more about broadcast restrictions and how to bypass blackouts. In case you have any questions, know that we’re here to help – so, make sure to post a comment below.

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