How to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US

If you live in the US and want to watch NBA matches live, you need a cable TV subscription. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give you access to every game, though.

If you live in a different city to your favourite team, you won’t be able to watch most of your teams’ games because they’re limited to regional sports networks. To remedy this, the NBA released NBA League Pass so you can stream live and on-demand NBA games.

NBA League Pass is expensive though, costing at least $90 per season, and it’s also subject to NBA “blackouts.” This means that even with NBA League Pass, you won’t be able to watch every NBA game live.

Fortunately, there is a way to watch every NBA game and bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US. All you need is a VPN and a subscription to the international version of NBA League Pass, which doesn’t have any blackout restrictions. And best of all, it’s cheaper than the US version.

This article will explain how to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US.

See also:

How to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US: Quick Guide

To bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US, you must gain access to the international version of the streaming service.

This isn’t available in the US; however, a reliable VPN allows you to access it.

All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN ($6.67/month)

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

  3. Select a server in a country where NBA League Pass is available (we recommend India)

  4. Create an international NBA League Pass account (see below)

  5. Watch blackout games on NBA League Pass

How do I create an international NBA League Pass account in the US?

The process is simple.

You need to do a few things to create an NBA League Pass International account in the US. First, you’ll need a credit card.

Second, you need to make it look like you’re connecting to NBA League Pass from outside the US, as this will give you access to the international version of the app. To do that you need a VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN ($6.67/month).

The international version of NBA League Pass varies in price depending on your country. For example, in Australia, it costs AUD$155/season, and in France, it costs €120/season. The cheapest place to sign up for international NBA League Pass is India. It costs ₹1500/season, which amounts to roughly USD$18/season. This is significantly cheaper than the US version of NBA League Pass, and you get every game. 

Once you’ve downloaded ExpressVPN ($6.67/month), you need to connect to a server where international NBA League Pass is available (see below). We recommend connecting to an Indian server, but any country will work.

And finally, you’ll need a postcode from the country you’ve selected. This part is easy. If you’ve chosen India, as we recommended, you can use this website and input the information. It will work for other countries as well.

You’ll now have an NBA League Pass International account, and you’ll be able to watch every NBA game live in the US. Be warned that if you already have a US NBA League Pass subscription, it doesn’t include the international version of the app, you’ll have to subscribe to both.

How to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US

In which countries is NBA League Pass available?

It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between NBA League Pass in the US and NBA League Pass everywhere else in the world. 

The international version of the streaming platform is not subject to blackout restrictions, meaning you can watch every NBA game in any location.

To understand which countries NBA League Pass is available in, it’s easier to list which countries it isn’t available in. You cannot get NBA League Pass in Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Kosovo, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan or Syria. It’s available everywhere else. 

How can I get around NBA League Pass blackout restrictions in the US?

The process is simple. All you need to do is gain access to the international version of NBA League Pass. At the moment, if you’re in the US, you won’t be able to do that.

When you connect to NBA League Pass, it can tell which country you’re in. It does this by scanning your IP address when you connect to its servers.

An IP address is a bit of code used by your device to communicate with NBA League Pass. The problem, though is it contains information disclosing where you’re located.

When NBA League pass scans your IP and finds you’re in the US, it will provide you with the US version of the streaming platform along with the blackout games.

To get around this, the process is easy. All you need to do is change your US IP address to an IP address based in a different country (where League Pass is available.)

This will make NBA League Pass think you’re connecting to it from a different location, and you’ll be able to access the international version of the streaming service.

The best VPNs for this are ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month).

How does a VPN work?

The best VPNs, like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month), do two things.

First, they make your internet connection anonymous, meaning NBA League Pass or any website or app for that matter, won’t be able to determine your physical location when connecting to the internet. They do this by converting your online data into an unreadable code via a process called encryption. 

Encryption alone won’t allow you to access the international version of NBA League Pass, though. 

The second thing ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) do is they allow you to spoof your IP address. This means you can make it look like you’re connecting to the internet from anywhere in the world, even though you’re physically located in the US. They do this by redirecting your encrypted data to a server in a country (which you can choose.) Once here, the data is sent to a local ISP (internet service provider), where your data is decrypted, and you’re given an IP address based in that country. 

ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) are the best at this because they’re fast and secure, meaning it doesn’t take long to change IP addresses. Also, if you want to get your US IP back, you can simply turn the VPNs off. 

How to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US

Will any VPN work?

Because VPNs allow you to watch the international version of NBA League Pass in the US, the NBA constantly tries to block VPNs from accessing its service.

Fortunately, it cannot block VPNs entirely, but it can block the IP addresses they provide.

This can be a problem for lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs, as they need the resources and infrastructure to make sure they can reliably work with NBA League Pass.

Most VPNs don’t have these sorts of resources however, ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) do. 

These VPNs have a massive number of IP addresses, they’re fast and secure with servers all over the world, and they have a simple measure in place to ensure you can watch the international version of NBA League Pass in the US without problems. 

The NBA’s VPN blocking techniques are very good, and on some occasions, even IP addresses provided by ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) can get blocked. Both ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) recognise this and they introduced a defence mechanism to get around this problem. 

If an IP address provided by ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) gets blocked by NBA League Pass, these VPNs will close that IP address and open a new unblocked one. This seems like a simple fix, but a lot of VPNs don’t do this. It means you can watch every NBA game reliably with the international version of NBA League Pass.

The best VPNs to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts in the US

1. ExpressVPN 🥇

Why You Should Use ExpressVPN? It’s the fastest and MOST reliable VPN of 2023

ExpressVPN UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
Best VPN list - ExpressVPN

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Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $6.66/month for 15 months
  • $9.99/month for 6 months
  • $12.95/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
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  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) is still the best VPN. And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, etc.

ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites. Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites.

Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered.

The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently.

With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevents its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.

Check out our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN 🥈

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

NordVPN US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ No logs
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 6-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ No refunds for purchases from iTunes/App store
Best VPN list - NordVPN

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $3.49/month for 2 years
  • $6.99/month for 1 year
  • $11.95/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon
  • ITV Hub icon
  • Spark Sport icon
  • CBC Gem icon

NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And it’s easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers.

It’s the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired a full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers’ connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing in its network of IP addresses in key locations.

Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunneling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.

Read our NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access

The BEST low-cost VPN for streaming!

Best VPN list - PIA

Pros

  • ✅ Fast and reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Only 48 server locations
Best VPN list - PIA

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 25,000+ | Speed: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 74 countries | Devices supported: 10 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.03/month for 3 years
  • $7.50/month for 6 months
  • $11.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1-million paying customers.

This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ Amazon Prime Video, etc. It also allows 10 simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time, so you can share the account with your close friends.

If – for whatever reason – you’re not happy with Private Internet Access, there’s a 24/7 live chat support available to assist you with your problem. PIA also offers the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

From my tests (from New Zealand) I was able to get download speeds of 70 Mbps while connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN (my non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps).

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4. Ivacy

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

Ivacy US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ Dedicated streaming servers
  • ✅ 5-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat

Cons

  • ❌ Only 5 devices
  • ❌ Sometimes runs slow
  • ❌ Occasionally block by streaming sites for several days
Best VPN - Ivacy on Mac

Special Offer for you!

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Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $1.16/month for 5 years
  • $3.50/month for 1 year
  • $9.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon
  • ITV Hub icon
  • Spark Sport icon
  • CBC Gem icon

If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option.

This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease.

The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer.

For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.

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5. CyberGhost

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

CyberGhost UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ 1-day free trial
  • ✅ Reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 7-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
  • ❌ Average speed scores
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

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Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.75/month for 3 years
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $12.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.

From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed.

That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either.

Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.

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Why does the NBA blackout games?

This is all to do with broadcast rights.

In the US, certain games are subject to blackout restrictions because regional and national content providers have exclusive broadcasting rights to televise live games.

Basically, what this means is the NBA’s own streaming platform doesn’t have the rights to broadcast every NBA game in every State. This can be hard to get your head around.

If NBA League Pass broadcasts those games, it would be breaching content and licensing restrictions and would either get sued or fined. Obviously, it doesn’t want this to happen, so games get blacked out.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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