Whether you want to watch your favorite football team, F1 race, Tour de France, Oscars, or any other live event, the first challenge is finding the right channel or streaming service. Once you know the channel, then you will want to find out whether or not there are any geo-restrictions on the event. The last thing you want to do is get ready to watch your favorite team only to realize there is a blackout rule or other restriction that ruins your fun. The best way around IP blocks or government / corporate network restrictions is to use a VPN. This will allow you to switch IP addresses and appear in another location. Whether you’re traveling or want to watch live sports coverage in another country, a good VPN will help you avoid geo restrictions.
Best VPN to Watch Live Sporting Events
Please use our guide below to watch live sports with any of the three VPNs we recommend. You will notice that the method is different for each company. Some use native VPN clients while others make use of Smart DNS technology to circumvent geographic restrictions. Either way, you will want to use our guide prior to the event so that you can have everything ready in advance. The first step is to sign up for a VPN service. You can click on any of the “Visit Site” buttons in the table above to sign up. Doing so will save you money as each VPN provider kindly offers our readers a discount. They know how challenging it can be to stream live sports and have customized their networks for speed and reliability. Once you choose a VPN, follow one of our guides below to get started. We’ll start with our favorite VPN for live sports, IPVanish, and then move on to ExpressVPN MediaStreamer SmartDNS, and finally NordVPN.
How to Watch Live Sports with IPVanish VPN
Along with consistently providing the best speeds, we prefer IPVanish for sports and other live events based on the wide range of custom apps they offer for free to members. We’re going to show you how to connect via Windows, but you can also download their app for Mac, iOS, or Android. Perhaps the best way to watch live sports is using the IPVanish app for Fire TV. It will allow you to switch IP locations and enjoy live events from your television using a Fire TV box or Fire TV stick. You can also run the VPN service through your router to extend privacy protection and geo-location to every device on your home network.
Here’s a quick look at the IPVanish client in action on Windows 10.
The app is quite simple to use. It defaults to OpenVPN UDP which is a fast, secure protocol. It’s perfect for streaming sports and protecting your online privacy. As you can see above, you can use the drop-down boxes in the app to select from 60+ countries. From there you can select a city (server location) and even a specific server. This is helpful as you might find that you favor servers for sports in different regions of the world.
We connected to a server in Atlanta, Georgia to perform a speed test for the guide. Our cable Internet connection maxes out at about 65 Mbps during the business day. As you can see the VPN maxed out at 63.70 Mbps which is nearly 100% of our connection speed. This is the best we’ve seen as encryption can impact performance quite a bit. The three services on our list are all well suited for streaming your favorite sports.
How to Stream Sporting Events with ExpressVPN
You have two options for streaming live sports with ExpressVPN. You can start with the ExpressVPN client. This will work to unblock some events. While others will still come across as geo-blocked. In this case, ExpressVPN has a second option called MediaStreamer which is a Smart DNS service. It will help you circumvent geo-restrictions. The difference is that the MediaStreamer service lacks encryption so you won’t want to use it for privacy protection. Stick to their VPN client for privacy and use the MediaStreamer only when needed to watch channels that would otherwise be blocked.
We’ll take a look at how to stream live events with the ExpressVPN client first.
After launching the client you can choose between connecting to the smart location which ExpressVPN selects based on where you are located or click on the choose location button. In the case of watching sports or other live events, you will likely want to choose a location. This will allow you to select any server location across 94 countries. The size of the ExpressVPN network gives you plenty of options.
Once again we connected to a VPN server in the United States. This time in Chicago, Illinois. The speed test was over 56 Mbps which is fast enough to comfortably stream HD content along with any other online activities.
The other option to unblock content with ExpressVPN is their MediaStreamer service. Please understand that this is not a VPN. It is Smart DNS which will help you gain access to content in other areas. However, it does not include encryption so you should not use it for privacy protection. Rely on the VPN for privacy and use MediaStreamer to unblock content when privacy is not a priority.
In order to use the MediaStreamer service, you will want to log into the ExpressVPN website and register your IP address. You can set up DDNS to make this step easier. The ExpressVPN site has setup guides to help you get started. As you can see above. once you register your IP address you will want to set your DNS to match the IP’s given in the ExpressVPN member dashboard. If you have questions along the way just reach out to the ExpressVPN support team. They will be happy to help. Once you have MediaStreamer set up the results will be immediate. This is a great way to access content on devices (Fire TV, gaming consoles, smart TVs, etc.) that wouldn’t otherwise support VPN connections.
How to Unblock Live Events with NordVPN
Using NordVPN to stream live events, access BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more is an easy process. The only catch is knowing the specific server locations. The NordVPN client lists the country but not the city for each server. Fortunately, the NordVPN team has been kind in providing us with a list of servers in popular locations. To access a specific server location simply open the NordVPN client and click on the”Countries” tab at the top of the interface. Now click on the “Alphabetical Order” tab to select a specific server number.
Use this list to connect to a server in your chosen location to stream live sports and more.
- Atlanta, GA – # 369-372, 561-568, 665-676, 681-684, 940-955;
- Buffalo, NY – # 323, 603, 604, 617, 689-690, 912-915;
- Chicago, IL – # 80, 82, 108-111, 137-140, 166-169, 195-198, 224-227, 253-256, 282-285, 311-314, 365-368, 645-656, 718-721, 734-745, 754-757, 777-780, 781-784, 789-792;
- Dallas, TX – # 381-384, 633-644, 793-800, 837-838, 839, 1027-1030, 1037-1040;
- Denver, CO – # 419-422, 443-446, 467-474, 691-702, 761-776;
- Los Angeles, CA – # 318-320, 326, 357-360, 459-466, 483-490, 538-541, 554-557, 621-628, 714-717, 746-753;
- Manassas, VA – # 349-352, 542-549, 679, 680, 841-843, 928-939, 956-963, 976-979;
- Matawan, NJ – # 23, 491-493, 618-620;
- Miami, FL – # 321-322, 605-616, 685-688, 707-710, 1004-1023;
- New York City, NY – # 20, 24, 327-330, 373-376, 413-414, 435-438, 475-478, 657-664, 722-729, 801-808, 844-847, 916-919;
- Phoenix, AZ – # 317, 337-342, 821-824, 988-1003;
- San Jose, CA – # 16, 353-356, 577-600, 817-820;
- Salt Lake City, UT – # 534-537, 511-513;
- Seattle, WA – # 361-364, 569-576, 758-760, 825-828, 964-975, 980-987;
- Secaucus, NJ – # 809-816, 829-832, 833-836, 904-911;
- St. Louis, MO – # 703-706.
NordVPN also has special servers for purposes like anti DDoS (great for serious gamers), dedicated IP, double VPN, Onion over VPN (Tor), and P2P servers.
Regardless of which VPN service you use, there will likely come a time when you struggle to unblock access to your favorite team or another live event. Don’t be shy. Reach out to the VPN’s support team for assistance. They understand and are there to help. Not all support staffs are equal but I can tell you from experience that the teams associated with IPVanish, ExpressVPN, and MordVPN are top notch. They will help you get set up. That’s why it’s always good to test the service before the event. This will give you time to work through any challenges so you can enjoy the big game or event with friends and family. As always we love to hear from you. Reach out to us @VPNFan with any feedback and let us know how the VPNs can provide an even better experience.