How to Get Around Regional Sports Streaming Blackouts & Geo Restrictions

By  //  March 13, 2022

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Sports fans worldwide, especially in Canada, are familiar with sports streaming blackouts. Streaming services use blackouts to force people from specific regions to attend sports events or watch them through their official partners on cable TV channels.

Today, most people prefer to stream their favourite sports events online because cable TV is expensive and doesn’t offer much-needed variety. There are paid and free streaming services but getting around sports blackout restrictions is one of the biggest challenges for cord-cutters.

First, let’s look at some streaming services that impose geo-restrictions in Canada.

Streaming Services with Blackout Restrictions in Canada

Canadian sports fans are some of the most passionate in the world. However, cable TV is becoming expensive by the day, making it a luxury for a few who can afford it. 

This makes it difficult for sports fans to watch matches of their favourite teams outside of Canada. For example, you will experience a geo-restriction while trying ESPN+ Live streaming in Canada.

Even worse, this happens when it’s a crucial game like a semi-final or a playoff game. Here are some streaming services with blackout restrictions in Canada:

MLB.TV NBA League Pass YouTube TV Fox Sports Go
NCAA College Football Sling TV NFL Game Pass Hulu Live TV
FuboTV ESPN3 NBC Sports NHL.TV
PS Vue MLS UFC.TV DirecTV Now

The good thing is, there are ways to bypass sports streaming geo-restrictions, and here’s everything you need to know.

How to Get Around Blackouts and Geo-Restrictions with a VPN

There are various reasons why you can’t watch certain sports channels in your region. When the content is geo-restricted, some or all of the content on a streaming platform is restricted to specific users. For instance, one of the most popular streaming services globally, Netflix, restricts content based on where you are, and this technique is called geo-blocking.

A VPN provides a simple workaround for sports streaming blackouts. The VPN software alters your streaming device’s IP address and makes it appear like you’re located in another region or country. The IP address has your device’s location information. 

So, when you connect to a server in a different country using a VPN, you get a new IP address from the server you connect to. Using a VPN offers a great solution when travelling abroad because you can watch your favourite sports event in another part of the world or country.

When you connect to a VPN, you link up to a virtual network in another country or region. The VPN makes it appear as if your device is connecting to the sports streaming platform in the country or region without the geo-block.

For example, you must use a VPN to watch ESPN+ in Canada because the US’s sports streaming network is only available. So, when you connect to a server in the United States using a VPN, you’ll get a US IP address and access ESPN+. A VPN hides your IP address to go around sports network blackouts.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Go Around Geo-restrictions and Blackouts Using a VPN

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) has every customer’s IP address. So, every time you connect to the internet, your ISP provides an IP address that allows you to connect to websites and other online services.

A VPN changes your IP address providing a workaround for Canadian regional sports streaming blackouts. The process is easy and is as follows:

■ Sign up for a premium VPN service with servers in the US, Canada, and other countries with your favourite sports events.

■ Download and install the VPN app on your streaming device. Most premium VPNs work with all major operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.

■ Launch the VPN app and connect to a server in Canada or a state or province where the game you wish to stream is available. You can also connect to a server outside Canada to watch your favourite sports abroad.

■ Login to the sports streaming platform and watch the game from the comfort of your home.

How to Get Around Blackouts with SmartDNS Proxies

VPNs are not the only option for providing a workaround for blackouts and geo-restrictions because you can also use Smart DNS proxy services. Smart DNS Proxies don’t provide new IP addresses but only reroute the URLs that reveal your real location to the streaming service.

You’ll still get blocked if the streaming app uses GPS to provide location services when trying to bypass with a VPN. For example, if the UFC.TV app on Android or iOS, you can use Smart DNS proxies to bypass the blackouts.

The steps of connecting to Smart DNS proxies are:

■ Sign up with a Smart DNS service that supports bypassing sports blackouts.

■ Create your Smart DNS account.

■ Change your streaming devices’ primary and secondary DNS server addresses on internet settings.

■ You can alter the DNS settings on your router and cover all your devices at once.

■ Now go to UFC.TV, NCAA College Football, or MLB.TV apps.

■ Stream any game without geo-restrictions and blackouts.

Final Words

Sports blackouts and geo-restrictions keep most Canadians watching their favourite sports in different states, provinces, or countries. But luckily, you can bypass these geo-restrictions using a VPN or Smart DNS proxies.

A VPN is easy to install and offers an additional layer of security to your connection. However, Smart DNS allows users to bypass restrictions when using apps that access a device’s GPS settings. Look into one of these services, and you’ll never experience sports streaming blackouts again.