During NBA season playoffs, fans all over the world are glued to their screens, following their favorite teams and enjoying a fantastic sportive experience. However, not all of us are as lucky to enjoy the full thing – some only have access to restricted content because of pro basketball blackouts.
There is nothing more frustrating than being an NBA League Pass subscriber and not being able to see all your favorite games! Blackouts are extremely annoying and are able to transform what should be a fantastic experience into a negative one. But the reality is that with the advent of online streaming, television broadcasters have begun purchasing the rights to broadcast a game, causing a blackout on all US NBA League Pass subscribers when that specific game is being played on television.
However, some League Pass subscribers located in Canada and the United Sates might not have cable television, or even own a TV with a receiver, and simply watch games on their computers, tablets, laptops and such. There are solutions to avoid NBA League Pass blackouts. As a basketball fan, I have applied and tested the methods below, and have since been enjoying playoff games. If you do not even want to have to deal with this problem again, read on to learn how to unblock NBA blackouts.
Below I cover a few tested ways to bypass the blacked out games. They are a bit technical, but with some guidance, even a non-technical person should be able to use these solutions without much effort. A short explanation to what these solutions do is that they help you change your IP address. This means that an Internet Service Provider would see your traffic as coming from the country of your choice. For instance, you could be living in Philippines and make it like you are accessing the Internet from the US.
How to Unblock NBA League Pass Blackouts
Use a VPN for ‘International League Pass’ for Less Money
In order to enjoy NBA League Pass without any blacked out games, you need to first understand the available League Pass subscriptions, and how games are blacked out on their service. You can either signup for a US account, or an International account. International accounts are not affected by blackouts, since NBA games are not played on any of their local television stations. However, if you have a US account, and are traveling abroad, such as in Mexico for example, the internet IP address will show that you are not presently in the United States, and will take into account that you cannot watch the game on TV, and automatically switches you to the international service with no blacked out games.
In order to be able to unlock the international service from anywhere, including the United States and Canada, you simply need to connect to a VPN server in any outside country. Preferably a close by country, such as Mexico for Americans, because the further away the location, the more it can possibly slow down your internet speed. Let’s have a quick overview of the steps to take:
- Signup to a VPN service
- Connect to VPN server in any country outside US & Canada
- Login or Signup to League Pass
- Enjoy international access with no blackouts
* You will always need to connect to an external server when a local game is blacked out, but in cases where you are already located outside of the country during your travels, the VPN connection is not necessary.
But that’s not all. If you don’t already have a League Pass account, you can use a VPN to get a better deal on the price. In order to be able to signup for an International League Pass account, you have to make it seem as if you are located in one of the countries that offer the service, other than the United States or Canada. As we just mentioned, achieve this by using a VPN. A subscription in the US usually costs around $199, but it costs less for Algeria or South Africa. Therefore, by connecting to a South African VPN server, you can appear as being located there, and purchase the International League Pass for less.
For example, here are some of the lowest rates available, and you will quickly see how it’s possible to save considerably, depending where you are located.
Cheapest International League Pass Rates 2019
- South Africa – 1,499.99 ZAR – $100 USD
- Algeria – 11,999.99 DZD – $109 USD
- Philippines – 5,199.99 PHP – $113 USD
- Romania – 479.99 RON – $121 USD
While US and Canada cost $199.99, some countries cost way more due to taxes, such as Australia, Germany, and New Zealand. If you are located in one of these countries, or a country where League Pass is not available, you can too use a VPN and connect to a server in a different country to signup under.
Below are some of the top VPN services that can be used for NBA League Pass, or just general NBA online streaming.
Use a VPN to Stream NBA Finals Online
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network will also change your IP address, but it will also encrypt your traffic so no prying eyes can snoop on you, or geographically block website content. It is true that it is not a fail-proof way, since many online services attempt to stop VPN users by blocking entire known VPN IP lists, however, with service providers periodically cycling, and adding new addresses, you can often bypass geographically blocked content.
Such content is Netflix and Hulu, or even more basketball championships. But, you can also simply use a VPN to watch NBA games that are streamed online without having to signup for League Pass. Not all games are available online, but when TV stations purchase broadcast rights, and blackouts happen, you can usually find the game online. Also, NBA Finals are currently being streamed online by a few big stations.
Watch Live NBA Finals Streams on ESPN, ABC, or Sling TV
ESPN is one of the most popular televised sports networks in the US. If you are located anywhere else, you can simply use a VPN to connect to a U.S. server, and the website’s game streams will no longer be blocked in your region, since it will appear that you are located in the same city as the American server.
ABC is also streaming the NBA finals, as they do with all their content. Some VPNs have been reported to be currently blocked, but it is one alternative in case ESPN does not work with your VPN service. Sling TV is also an option, although it costs a subscription fee. The service is only available in the US, but VPNs can again be used to signup, and connect to the service, which broadcasts many sporting events, including this year’s NBA Finals.
Alternative Method: Use SmartDNS to Bypass NBA Blackouts
Smart DNS is a lighter solution that helps you change your geo-location IP through DNS addresses. Not all Smart DNS services are designed for unblocking geographical web content, but those that I suggest below are specifically tailored for this need. Using SmartDNS to change your location IP is different from a VPN in the sense that it does not encrypt the data, and does not affect internet speeds, but because the traffic is not hidden, it can also be easily blocked by online services.
The main advantage in using a Smart DNS solution is that they are sometimes cheaper and easier to use – if compared with VPNs. Not that a VPN is complicated, you simply connect to a server in the location of your choice and start browsing, but with the best Smart DNS providers, you can actually browse to content in various locations without having to change servers, it all happens automatically.
If you decide on using SmartDNS, here are some of the best services on the market right now:
The best part with these solutions is that you can access a whole lot more content than just NBA games. You can access Netflix in full, Pandora, Spotify, and many other streaming services that are also geographically limited.In the end, regardless of the solution you choose, the best part is that you won’t have to endure any content limitations from now on.
List of where NBA streaming content is available:
- Google Chromecast
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple CarPlay
- Android phones
- Android tablets
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Web browser
- Apple iPhone
- Apple iPad
- Sony PlayStation 4
- Sony PlayStation 3
- Oculus Go
- Oculus Rift
- Microsoft Xbox One
- Android TV
- Samsung Gear VR
- Google Daydream
- Microsoft Windows MR
- Sony PlayStation VR
- HTC Vive
- Magic Leap
Bybassing with Android and iPhone
The NBA seems to be on top of the situation where users try to fake their location on a mobile device with a VPN
Spoofing your location on your computer still works but when it comes to mobile devices they are getting your GPS data from the device. some older devices seem to be able to get around this using Fake GPS apps but they seem not to work as well on newer devices.
Streaming services, such as Hulu, use your IP address to determine the users location even on a mobile device. In those instances obviously a VPN is still very useful.
It is possible to get around the GPS issue by jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an Android but we won’t go into that here as it isn’t recommended for security reasons.