Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Sports fans can have a hard time finding a good way to cut the cord. Because of broadcasting deals made by the NBA and other sports leagues, you may find yourself unable to stream your home team’s games, the playoffs, and other important events. These limitations are all because of where you live.
You could give in and buy a cable package, but there’s a better way. If your favorite games are geo-blocked, it’s time to learn how to change location on NBA League Pass without ever leaving your house.
An NBA League Pass subscription includes live access to every NBA game for their subscribers outside of the U.S. and Canada. Basketball fans in these two countries, however, have to deal with some limitations. The NBA gives broadcasters exclusive rights in the markets (local or national) where those networks air the games. Even though it’s the NBA’s own app, League Pass can’t livestream those games for hours or days afterward.
When you sign up for NBA League Pass, your current location determines which plan you can sign up for. Inside the U.S., you’ll be able to subscribe to the American version of League Pass (which is just called League Pass). Elsewhere, you’ll get access to an International League Pass.
NBA League Pass uses your internet protocol (IP) address to determine your location and decide which games they can show you. Along with your IP address, NBA League Pass may verify your location using your mobile device’s location services (GPS, nearby Wi-Fi) if they are turned on.
You’ll still get live access to most games but not any that are aired in your local market or nationally. Nationally broadcast games, including All-Star Weekend and the Playoffs, are available on-demand after three hours. Local games will make you wait three days before you can stream them. That’s an eternity when you are waiting to root for your hometown team.
Here’s a quick summary of how locations work with NBA League Pass.
For users outside of the U.S. and Canada, those rules don’t introduce any limitations. Even fans inside the U.S. and Canada have access to most NBA games. However, the games you’ll miss will often be the games that are either nationally important or that include your local team. Those are not games that fans want to miss!
People who live outside the broadcast regions of their favorite teams have it easy. The NBA League Pass location rules let them watch all of their team’s games. That’s great for them, but the rest of us don’t want to be punished for rooting for the local team. We want to watch the games live, just like everyone else can.
If you want to get around IP-based location rules, you need to change your apparent IP address. The easiest way to alter the IP address that websites and apps see when you access them is to use a virtual private network (VPN).
When you are using a VPN, others on the internet see the VPN server’s IP address instead of yours. If you are using a VPN server in London, apps will think you are in London, regardless of where you actually are. This is why VPNs are often used to access geo-restricted content.
You can’t just pick up any random VPN and expect it to get you past NBA League Pass’s location blackouts. Streaming services are pretty good at spotting VPN users, and they’ll often block known VPN IP addresses from accessing their content. If you want to get past these IP blacklists and any other anti-VPN measures that NBA League Pass uses, you’ll need a quality VPN with a large number of servers to choose from.
Generally, you want a VPN that has servers in several locations. That isn’t such a big deal with NBA League Pass, though. All you really need is a single location outside of your current broadcast region to unlock local blackout games. If you want to get an International League Pass to watch even nationally blacked-out games, you’re going to want a VPN that also has at least a few servers outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Your ideal VPN will depend on which devices you use to watch NBA League Pass. Make sure you pick a VPN that has apps for each of your devices. Keep an eye on those device limits, too — most VPNs will only let you use them on a handful of devices at once. If the device count or app availability becomes an issue, you can also try installing your VPN on a router. With a router VPN, every device on your network will use the VPN server’s IP address, so you can change the apparent location of your entire network all at once.
This whole discussion has been about IP-based location, but NBA League Pass can also use GPS and other device-location services. That’s especially a concern if you watch on mobile devices. Spoofing GPS is a lot harder than changing your IP address. A VPN won’t be able to adjust your GPS coordinates, and the process for spoofing GPS will be different on each type of device.
Some devices (like Apple’s aptly named Apple TV) don’t have location services, which means a VPN is all you’ll need. If you can use one of those devices, changing the location on NBA League Pass is easy. In-browser streaming is also relatively easy since most modern browsers have built-in developer tools that let you change your GPS location.
If you are using a mobile app, altering your GPS location is trickier. In most cases, your best bet is to just turn off your location services and hope the VPN alone is enough. If that doesn’t work, Android users will need to download an app to change their GPS location. Those apps sometimes introduce malware or security vulnerabilities, so be careful. For an iPhone, you’ll need to jailbreak your device to spoof GPS. That process can be especially dangerous, so familiarize yourself with the process and the potential security ramifications if you are thinking of going down that route.
Most NBA League Pass users can get past location-based blackouts with just a VPN. That’s the great part about streaming services that rely primarily on IP location. That’s a whole lot easier than dealing with GPS or other location services. NBA League Pass seems to be pretty lenient when they do find VPN users. They might block the VPN server IP, but that should be the worst of it.
ExpressVPN has proven itself as the best VPN for bypassing NBA League Pass’s game blackouts. It allows you to change your apparent location, including several non-U.S. servers for purchasing and using an International League Pass. If you want to try using a VPN with NBA League Pass, ExpressVPN takes out the risk with their 30-day, money-back guarantee.
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