How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

If you’re an NFL Game Pass subscriber in the UK or Ireland, you may have noticed that some NFL matches aren’t available to watch live.

These are what the NFL calls blackout games, and it happens every Sunday of the regular season, with two games being unavailable on NFL Game Pass.

This can be frustrating, especially as you might not be able to watch a big game or the team you support live on NFL Game Pass.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to get around this. All you need to do is trick Game Pass into thinking you’re accessing it from a country where these blackout restrictions don’t apply.

To do that, you need a reliable VPN. This article will explain how to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland with a VPN.

How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland: Quick Guide

To bypass NFL Game Pass’ blackout restrictions in the UK & Ireland, you need to change your IP address.

This will make it look like you’re connecting to the streaming service from a different country, where the blackout restrictions don’t apply.

Simply follow these steps:

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN

    How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. If you want the very best, these VPNs have been setting the standard in the industry for years. They’re the best VPNs on the market for reliably streaming content.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are renowned for their reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of an ExpressVPN subscription for free here. And similarly, you can get 3 months of a NordVPN subscription for free here.

    If you don’t like the looks of ExpressVPN or NordVPN, and opt for a different VPN, the process will be very similar, simply continue following the steps below.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

    Once you’ve signed up for a VPN you can install it on nearly any device.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your VPN and connect to a server where NFL Game Pass is available

    How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

    When you open the app, you’ll need to log in with the credentials you created. Once logged in, select a server located in a location where NFL Game Pass is available. We recommend France because France doesn’t have the blackout restrictions.

    This will make NFL Game Pass think you’re accessing it from within France and you’ll be able to watch the French version of the streaming service.

  4. Watch NFL Game Pass blackout games in the UK & Ireland

    How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

    Once you’re connected to a server on your VPN and logged into NFL Game Pass, you will have access to all its content, including the blackout games.

Why does NFL Game Pass have blackout games?

NFL Game Pass implements blackout games in the UK and Ireland primarily due to broadcasting rights agreements. These agreements are made with local and national broadcasters who obtain the exclusive rights to air certain NFL games within these territories. As a result, to protect the investment of these broadcasters and ensure they can attract viewers to their channels or platforms, the NFL agrees to restrict the streaming of these specific games on the NFL Game Pass service within the UK and Ireland.

The blackout policy is a common practice in sports broadcasting. It aims to balance the distribution of content across various platforms, ensuring that rights holders who have paid for exclusive broadcasting rights get the viewership and advertising revenue they expect. This means that even if you have a subscription to NFL Game Pass, you might not be able to watch certain live games if they are being shown on a local television channel in your area. After the live broadcast concludes, these games are usually made available on the platform for on-demand viewing.

How does NFL Game Pass know my location?

NFL Game Pass determines your location using a combination of IP address detection and possibly GPS data if you’re using a mobile device. Here’s how each method works:

  1. IP Address Detection: Your IP address is a unique identifier assigned to your internet connection by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It contains information about your geographic location. When you connect to NFL Game Pass, the service checks your IP address to determine where you are. Based on this location data, NFL Game Pass applies any relevant blackout restrictions or content availability rules.
  2. GPS Data: If you’re accessing NFL Game Pass from a mobile device, the app may request access to your device’s GPS or location services. This provides a more precise location, ensuring that the service adheres to local broadcasting rights by applying blackout restrictions accurately.

These location verification methods ensure that NFL Game Pass complies with its contractual obligations to content providers and broadcasters by restricting access to certain games in specific regions.

How can I get around the NFL Game Pass blackouts?

While there are a number of options available to get around NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK and Ireland, we believe that VPNs stand out as the best choice for several compelling reasons:

  • Enhanced Privacy and Security: VPNs offer robust encryption, which secures your internet connection and protects your online activities from prying eyes. This is especially important in today’s digital age, where data privacy is a major concern. By encrypting your traffic, VPNs ensure that your browsing habits, including the sites you visit and the content you stream, remain private.
  • Versatility in Location Masking: Unlike other methods, VPNs allow you to choose from a wide range of server locations worldwide. This flexibility lets you bypass regional blackouts by connecting to a server in a location where the game is available, effectively making it seem as though you are accessing the internet from that country.
  • Reliability and Consistency: VPNs are generally more reliable for consistently bypassing geo-restrictions. They are designed to overcome various forms of censorship and content blocks, making them a dependable choice for accessing geo-restricted content like NFL Game Pass.
  • Additional Online Protections: Beyond bypassing blackouts, VPNs provide additional online protections, such as safeguarding against malicious websites and reducing the risk of cyberattacks. This makes them a valuable tool for general internet use beyond just streaming sports.

A VPN works to get around NFL Game Pass blackouts by rerouting your internet connection through a server located in a different geographic region where the game is not subject to blackout restrictions. When you connect to a VPN, it masks your actual IP address, making it appear as though you are accessing the internet from the server’s location instead of your real location. This process not only cloaks your true geographic details but also encrypts your internet traffic, providing both privacy and access to restricted content.

Will any VPN work with NFL Game Pass?

Not all VPNs will work effectively with NFL Game Pass due to the service’s efforts to detect and block VPN traffic. Some VPNs are better equipped to bypass these restrictions, thanks to their advanced features, such as:

  • Large Server Networks: VPNs with more servers in various locations offer more options to find a server that hasn’t been blacklisted by NFL Game Pass.
  • Obfuscation Technology: This technology disguises VPN traffic as regular internet traffic, making it harder for NFL Game Pass to detect and block the VPN.
  • Regular IP Address Updates: VPNs that frequently update their IP addresses can stay ahead of streaming services’ blocklists, ensuring continuous access.
  • Dedicated Streaming Servers: Some VPNs offer servers specifically optimized for streaming, which can provide a more reliable connection for services like NFL Game Pass.

The VPN services we recommend for NFL Game Pass

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: Known for its fast speeds and powerful obfuscation technology, ExpressVPN excels at bypassing NFL Game Pass blackout restrictions, offering users seamless access to games through its vast network of servers in 94 countries.

Servers: ExpressVPN offers strategically located servers in 94 countries, with multiple server locations across the United States, ensuring reliable access to NFL Game Pass by providing numerous options to bypass blackout games. Its Lightway protocol guarantees fast streaming speeds, essential for HD quality football games.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: With its advanced technology like Double VPN and a large array of servers, NordVPN is highly effective at navigating around NFL Game Pass blocks, ensuring users can watch their favorite games without interruption.

Servers: NordVPN boasts a vast network of over 5,500 servers worldwide, including a significant presence in the US, which is key for accessing NFL Game Pass without restrictions. Its Double VPN feature offers an additional layer of security and anonymity, making it harder for services to detect and block your VPN connection.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: Specializing in streaming, PureVPN’s streaming mode and its servers optimized for sports make it an excellent option for getting around NFL Game Pass blackouts, providing a smooth viewing experience.

Servers: PureVPN stands out with its specialized sports streaming servers, optimizing connections for accessing sports content like NFL Game Pass. With servers in 140 countries, including strategically placed servers in the US, users have a high chance of bypassing any regional blackout.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: PIA offers a robust network with thousands of servers worldwide, including in key locations for NFL fans, and its strong encryption methods make it a solid choice for bypassing Game Pass blackouts.

Servers: With over 35,000 servers globally, PIA provides a wide range of connection points, significantly increasing the chances of finding a server that works with NFL Game Pass. Their strong encryption and support for WireGuard protocol ensure both security and high-speed access to football games.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark stands out with its NoBorders mode designed to bypass restrictions, including NFL Game Pass blackouts, and its unlimited simultaneous connections mean you can watch on any device, anywhere.

Servers: Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature and NoBorders mode make it exceptionally good at slipping past geographical restrictions and blackouts on NFL Game Pass, with over 3,200 servers in 65 countries providing plenty of rerouting options. Its unlimited simultaneous connections allow streaming on multiple devices at once.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Is watching NFL Game Pass blackout games with a VPN legal?

The legality of using a VPN to bypass NFL Game Pass blackout restrictions falls into a gray area in most jurisdictions. While using a VPN in itself is legal in most countries, employing it to access content that is geo-restricted or subject to blackout rules can violate the terms of service of the streaming platform, in this case, NFL Game Pass. This doesn’t typically result in legal action against the user but can lead to consequences such as the suspension or termination of the service account.

Content providers enforce blackout rules and geo-restrictions as part of their licensing agreements with content creators and broadcasters. Circumventing these restrictions with a VPN to access content in a manner not intended by the provider could be considered a breach of their terms of use. It’s important for users to read and understand the terms of service of any streaming platform and to be aware of the potential risks involved in using a VPN to access restricted content.

How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland: FAQs

Q: Can I use any VPN to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland?

Answer: Not all VPNs are effective at bypassing NFL Game Pass blackouts due to the streaming service’s efforts to block VPN use. It’s best to choose a VPN known for its ability to overcome such restrictions, with a strong network of servers in countries where the games are not blacked out.

Q: How do I choose the right VPN for watching NFL Game Pass without blackouts?

Answer: Look for a VPN with a large number of servers in the US, robust encryption, and the ability to disguise VPN traffic as regular internet traffic. Services like ExpressVPN, and NordVPN are known for their reliability in bypassing geo-restrictions and blackouts.

Q: Will using a VPN to watch NFL Game Pass slow down my streaming speed?

Answer: Using a VPN can sometimes affect your internet speed, but the impact is often minimal with premium VPNs that offer fast servers and advanced technology like split tunneling, which can help maintain high streaming quality.

Q: Is it legal to use a VPN to watch blackout games on NFL Game Pass in the UK & Ireland?

Answer: While using a VPN is legal in most countries, bypassing geo-restrictions to access content against the terms of service of NFL Game Pass may violate those terms. It’s unlikely to result in legal repercussions, but there is a risk of account suspension or termination.

Q: What should I do if the VPN is detected by NFL Game Pass?

Answer: If NFL Game Pass detects and blocks your VPN, try switching to a different server or contacting your VPN provider’s customer support for advice. Some VPNs offer dedicated servers or specific protocols to help overcome such detections.

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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