How To Bypass Blackouts with an NBA League Pass VPN

Explore the world of unrestricted NBA streaming by learning how to effectively use a VPN to bypass League Pass blackouts and enjoy every live game.
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Are you an NBA fan eagerly waiting to catch every live game but frustrated by the pesky local blackouts on NBA League Pass? You're not alone. Countless enthusiasts face this hurdle, missing out on watching NBA games due to geographical restrictions. But there's good news! You can sidestep these obstacles and enjoy an uninterrupted NBA season.

The key is using a reliable virtual private network (VPN). By employing a VPN that works to circumvent NBA League Pass, you can bypass these local blackout restrictions, giving you access to every live and on-demand NBA game. Wondering how to get started?

Let’s understand how the best VPN services can transform your NBA viewing experience, ensuring you never miss a dunk, a three-pointer, or a buzzer-beater again.

In this article
What are NBA League Pass blackouts?
NBA League Pass vs NBA TV
What are VPNs, and how can you stream NBA games with them?
Step-by-step workaround to watch NBA League Pass blackout games
Best VPNs to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts
Bypassing NBA League Pass FAQs
Bottom line: Slam dunk your NBA viewing experience with VPNs

What are NBA League Pass blackouts?

NBA League Pass blackouts in the U.S. and Canada result from exclusive streaming rights based on geographical restrictions of live games. This means fans in specific regions may not access live local games on League Pass, despite the stream being available in other countries. For example, Boston residents would have to wait until post-airing to view Celtics games.

NBA blackouts stem from licensing agreements and regional broadcasting rights. Live games are primarily available through regional sports networks (like MSG Sportsnet) or national broadcasters (like ESPN). In short, blackouts protect regional broadcasters' exclusive telecast rights over nationally broadcast games.

However, these restrictions apply only to live games; post-airing, they're accessible on demand in the NBA League Pass Archives. You can watch nationally broadcast games three hours after they’ve aired and local U.S. telecast games three days after.

Despite a full NBA League Pass subscription, location-based blackouts limit live streaming access. Blackouts, determined by the viewer's IP address or location services, enforce regional broadcasting rights. Although blackout restrictions protect broadcasters, they often leave fans unable to live stream NBA games and support their favorite teams.

NBA League Pass vs NBA TV

NBA League Pass and NBA TV cater to the different needs of basketball fans. NBA League Pass is the more comprehensive choice, offering every live NBA game, barring local blackouts. Subscribers can skip commercials, access archived games anytime, and view blacked-out games post-airing. With the season pass, fans have access to the NBA playoffs and NBA Summer League games, albeit post-airing. As a bonus, League Pass includes NBA TV.

NBA TV, resembling traditional sports channels like ESPN or ABC, presents a selection of 106 games per season but lacks the flexibility of game choice offered by the League Pass. Despite similar blackout rules, archived blacked-out games are accessible on NBA TV, which can be purchased separately, appealing to those desiring a classic channel experience. At only $6.99 a month or $44.99 annually as an Amazon Prime add-on, NBA TV is one of the cheapest subscriptions.

In essence, NBA League Pass offers extensive coverage, while NBA TV provides a more traditional, albeit limited, viewing option. 

NBA League Pass price

Monthly Season
League Pass $14.99 $69.99
League Pass Premium $22.99 $104.99

What are VPNs, and how can you stream NBA games with them?

A virtual private network (VPN) enhances online security and ensures privacy. It establishes a secure connection between your device and a remote server, encrypting your data and masking your IP address. This not only protects your online identity but also allows access to geo-restricted content, making it appear as if you're browsing from a different location.

For NBA fans, an NBA League Pass VPN is particularly valuable. It enables access to live NBA League Pass games in areas where they might be blacked out due to regional restrictions. So if you’re a Lakers fan, you can enjoy a live game from the comfort of your Los Angeles home.

By connecting to a server in a non-restricted area, fans can bypass these blackouts and watch live games as if they were in a different location. This secure method is a far safer alternative to illegal streaming services, offering a reliable and risk-free way to follow your favorite NBA team.

Do free VPNs bypass NBA League Pass blackouts?

While the best free VPN services might seem tempting to bypass NBA League Pass geo-restrictions, their effectiveness and reliability often fall short compared to paid VPNs. Free VPNs typically have limited server options and slower connection speeds. They may also impose data caps, which can hinder the streaming experience, especially for live sports events. Free VPNs may lack robust security features, leaving users vulnerable to privacy risks.

In contrast, paid VPN services like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN offer advanced features, such as a wide range of server locations, faster and more stable connection speeds, and strong VPN encryption protocols. These features ensure a seamless, secure streaming experience for streaming live NBA games without buffering or interruptions.

While some free VPNs occasionally bypass geo-restrictions, the consistency and additional benefits of paid NBA League Pass VPN services make them more reliable for avid NBA fans.

Free vs. paid VPN services

VPN feature Free VPN service Paid VPN service
Server locations Typically offer fewer server options, often leading to overcrowded servers and limited geographical reach Provides a vast global server network, offering more choices and less congestion
Connection speed Generally slower due to high user traffic on limited servers, affecting streaming quality Offers higher speeds with dedicated servers and optimized infrastructure for seamless streaming services
Security and privacy Basic level of encryption; potential for logging user data due to less stringent privacy policies Advanced security protocols, including strong encryption and a strict no-logs policy, ensure user privacy
Customer support Limited or no customer support options available, leading to challenges in troubleshooting Provides comprehensive 24/7 customer support for timely assistance and efficient issue resolution
Device compatibility Limited compatibility with devices, restricting usage across different platforms Broad compatibility with various devices and platforms simultaneously, including smartphones, computers, and smart TVs
Ad-free experience Often ad-supported with intrusive advertising, which can disrupt the viewing experience Ensures an ad-free experience, allowing for uninterrupted streaming and browsing

Step-by-step workaround to watch NBA League Pass blackout games

To watch blackout games on NBA League Pass using a VPN involves several steps. These steps vary slightly depending on your device, such as a desktop, mobile, or streaming device like Roku or Kodi.

Here’s a general guide to using your NBA League Pass VPN:

1. Select a reliable VPN service

When selecting a VPN for NBA League Pass streaming, prioritize services offering high connection speeds, a wide range of server locations, and strong security features. These factors ensure smooth streaming, the ability to bypass geographical restrictions, and the safeguarding of your online privacy.

Some top VPN providers known for bypassing NBA League Pass restrictions effectively include ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN. These services offer extensive server networks, fast speeds, and robust security protocols, making them ideal for streaming sports content. Other popular VPNs for streaming sports include CyberGhost and Private Internet Access (PIA). 

2. Install and configure the VPN

Choose the VPN provider from the recommendations, visit their official website, and download the VPN application for your device (a desktop, mobile, or streaming device). Follow the installation prompts to install the software properly.

Configure settings for optimal performance. Open the NBA League Pass VPN app and adjust the settings once installed. Opt for a protocol that balances speed and security, like OpenVPN or WireGuard. Also, ensure that features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection are enabled for enhanced security.

Log into the VPN app and connect to a server where the NBA game you want to watch is not blacked out. For example, if you're in New York and the Knicks game is blacked out, choose a server in a different state.

3. Open NBA League Pass

Launch the NBA League Pass website or mobile application. You can use the NBA app to stream NBA League Pass on several supported devices, including iOS, Android, Android TV, and Apple TV.

Make sure your VPN is running and connected to the appropriate server before accessing the site or app. Now you should have access to live games without the limitations imposed by local blackouts. Remember, the effectiveness of this method depends on the quality of the VPN service and the server you're connected to. Sit back and watch NBA games without geographical restrictions.

Tips for optimizing your NBA League Pass VPN

To ensure the best possible experience while using a VPN with NBA League Pass, consider these key tips:

  • Choose the right server location. Select a VPN server where the NBA game is not subject to blackouts. Experiment with different server locations to find the one that offers the best speed and reliability.
  • Maintain a strong internet connection. A stable and fast internet connection is crucial for streaming NBA games without buffering. If your internet speed is slow, even the best VPN for NBA League Pass might not be able to provide a smooth streaming experience. Consider using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi for more stability.
  • Use a reliable VPN provider. Opt for a VPN known for its fast connection speeds and a wide network of servers.
  • Keep your VPN updated. Regularly update your VPN software to ensure you have the latest features and security enhancements. This can also help prevent compatibility issues with the NBA League Pass platform.
  • Test your VPN connection before the game. Check your VPN setup and test your connection with NBA League Pass before the game starts to avoid last-minute issues. This allows you to troubleshoot any problems well in advance.

What to do when NBA League Pass VPN is not working

If you're unable to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts with your VPN, try these common solutions:

Troubleshoot NBA League Pass connection errors

If you encounter the 7027 error, it indicates NBA League Pass has detected VPN use. To bypass this, try switching to a different VPN server, as the current server's IP address might be banned.

For a 3312 error, signifying you're in a blackout region, change your VPN server to a location outside the blackout area.

Optimize VPN settings for better performance

Adjust your VPN settings for optimized streaming. Changing the VPN protocol or connecting to a less crowded server can sometimes enhance performance.

Check your VPN app for updates and patches

Ensure your VPN app is up to date. Outdated software can lead to connectivity issues or detection by NBA League Pass. Regular updates often include patches to overcome streaming service restrictions.

Best VPNs to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts

When searching for the best NBA League Pass VPNs to bypass blackouts, users should look for services that specifically claim effectiveness in streaming NBA blackout games.

Key features to consider include the number of server locations, connection speeds, privacy policies, and the VPN's ability to overcome geo-restrictions consistently. Choosing a VPN that claims to bypass blackouts and is verified by user experiences and reviews is crucial.

Here are three top VPN services that meet these criteria:

  • ExpressVPN: stands out for its exceptional speed and wide range of server locations. It's highly effective for streaming content and bypassing geo-restrictions, making it a great option for NBA fans.

    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review
  • Surfshark: offers unlimited simultaneous connections. It's a budget-friendly option with robust security features and a strong track record of bypassing sports content restrictions.

    Get Surfshark | Read Our Surfshark Review
  • NordVPN: is one of the best-known VPNs, and for good reason. It offers affordable pricing, gold-standard AES-256 encryption, and more than 6,000 servers.

    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review

Available US and international servers by VPN service

When choosing a VPN to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts, it's crucial to consider the number of available servers, both in the U.S. and internationally. The range and location of these servers can significantly impact your ability to access games seamlessly. However, if you’d like to use an international server, you should consider opting for the International League Pass.

Here's a comprehensive table showcasing the server distribution for some of the top VPN services:

VPN service

Number of servers

Number of US states

Number of countries

ExpressVPN

n/a

12 states

105 countries

Surfshark

3,200+ servers

18 states

100 countries

NordVPN

6,000+ servers

18 states

61 countries

CyberGhost

11,500+ servers

9 states

100 countries

PIA

n/a

50 states

91 countries

Bypassing NBA League Pass FAQs


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Why is the NBA League Pass game blocked in my area?

Certain areas have restrictions on NBA League Pass games due to local and national broadcasting rights. These measures protect the interests of regional broadcasters who hold exclusive rights to televise the games. As a result, if a game is being televised locally or nationally in the U.S. or Canada, it may be blacked out on the NBA League Pass in that region. Additionally, residents in the U.S. or Canada can’t access All-Star Weekend or NBA playoff games.


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How does NBA League Pass know my location?

When accessing from a computer, NBA League Pass determines your location through your IP address, providing a geographic estimate of your location. It uses GPS location services on mobile devices to pinpoint your exact location. This information is used to enforce blackout restrictions based on regional broadcasting rights.


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Can I access NBA League Pass blackout games on my mobile phone?

Using a VPN on your mobile phone allows you to access NBA League Pass blackout games on that device. On a computer, a VPN can mask your location by assigning you an IP address from a different region, bypassing the blackout restrictions. However, if you're accessing NBA League Pass on a mobile device, your location is determined by GPS, so ensure that your VPN also masks GPS location.


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Can I use a VPN to get around NBA League Pass blackouts?

A virtual private network can be utilized to bypass blackout restrictions on NBA League Pass. By connecting to a VPN server in a region where the game is not blacked out, you can gain access to the game as if you were physically present in that region.


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Is it against the NBA League Pass terms of service to use a VPN?

Bypassing blackout restrictions using a VPN may violate the terms of service of NBA League Pass. While VPN usage is widespread, it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the streaming service's terms of service to avoid potential NBA League Pass account restrictions resulting from violations.


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In which countries is it illegal to use a VPN to watch NBA League Pass games?

The legality of VPN usage varies from country to country. While most countries say that using a VPN is legal, it's important to note that there are exceptions, such as China, Russia, and Iran, where unauthorized VPNs are restricted or prohibited. Before using a VPN for streaming NBA League Pass games, always make sure to verify the legal stance of your country.

Bottom line: Slam dunk your NBA viewing experience with VPNs

VPNs offer an effective solution for basketball fans looking to bypass NBA blackouts. Using a VPN allows you to enjoy an uninterrupted live streaming experience, gaining access to all games, regardless of your location.

Remember, the key to a smooth streaming experience lies in choosing the right VPN, with factors like server locations, connection speeds, and security features being paramount. While using VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions is common, it's important to use them responsibly and in compliance with the terms of service of the streaming platform.

For sports enthusiasts, especially those engaged in sports betting, a reliable VPN ensures access to all games and secures your online activities. Check out our recommendations for the best VPNs suited for sports betting, and get ready to experience the NBA like never before.

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Author Details
Ryan Clancy is a freelance writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he's passionate about all things engineering and tech. He loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand.