Top reasons why you may or may not want to use a VPN for Sports streaming

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Do you want to stream sports with your VPN service? Just hold on a second.

If you sat down and tried to count the number of things that move online consumers like sports, you could probably do it with a single hand. 

That’s how potent sports is when it comes to making people feel a part of something and lifting their spirits (at least when the team wins). 

On the other hand, it is also true that when sports fans are unable to watch live matches of their favorite sports teams, they can feel it in their souls. 

For some, missing a single game of their favorite sports teams means they have betrayed the tribe. 

Of course, that is not true.

A lot of online consumers are searching the web for answers on whether or not they can use a VPN provider in order to restore some live sports premium channels that they once had access to via their cable package (we’re assuming here that their cable provider is no longer offering them the channels that they want to watch).

More often than not, people are actually forced to using a VPN service for watching sports on their TV sets or monitors. 

How? 

Well, life finds a way to make them move from city to city and when they do their new cable service provider does not offer the station that they want to see. 

In such a scenario, they have to use a VPN service and install it (if possible) on their VPN router that their new cable company may have given them. 

Once they have done that, they hope, they get to stream the channel that they want via their Smart TV sets. 

So the obvious question that arises from all this is:

Does it work? 

Do VPNs really work when you want them to unblock a sports channel for you?

Let’s talk about in the rest of this guide. 

VPN services are the masters of content-unblocking

While it is true that you may use VPN services to unblock any type of content. 

VPNs are especially adept at unblocking popular streaming services provided you sign up for the right ones. 

Online consumers who only wish access sports channels or otherwise which were previously online and available for streaming usually want to sign up for a premium VPN service. 

But there is a big problem here. 

If users only want to use a VPN service to access the channel that they had access to before, a VPN service may not come to the rescue. 

Why do we say that? 

We say that because our current understanding is that any cable box that your cable service provides you communicated pretty much directly with your new cable service provider. 

Hence, it essentially takes the VPN service out of the equation. 

The cable provider is the one who can enable or disable a given channel that may stream on your cable box. 

The main issue here is not that your cable service provider has put geo-restrictions on some channels and a VPN service is unable to circumvent those restrictions, the issue is that the cable provider has direct access to your cable box. 

VPN services have no trouble it getting past geo-restrictions and getting people to the channels that they want to stream. 

People focusing mostly on security and privacy know from their experience and reading that close to 30 percent of all VPN users make use of VPN services in order to access online content which is blocked. 

More specifically, they want to unblock streaming sites like, 

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu

Now, here is the rather interesting part. 

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Even if a user has access to a streaming site like Netflix, he/she may still want to use a VPN service to access Netflix. 

Why?

Well, streaming services like Netflix have this policy of offering different countries different content based on the rights they have purchased. 

So different people living in different countries get completely different Netflix experiences. 

Of course, all of them have to pay money to watch Netflix. 

The countries where users do not get access to the best shows feel ripped off. 

And in order to compensate for that, they use a VPN service in order to change their location and access content that other countries have access to. 

For example, a person living in the US may want to access content that Netflix offers only to people living in the UK. 

Of course, someone living in the UK may also want to see content that is only available in the US even though the streaming service is the same. 

Again, VPN services are great for people who want to access such content. 

In the VPN community, such type of content is known as geo-blocked content. 

This is the content that is available on the internet (which is supposed to be free and unrestricted) but is not accessible to all people or at least people in certain regions of the globe. 

But how are streaming services able to know where you live? 

Well, streaming services have the ability to screen out users based on their location by taking note of the user’s IP address. 

Whenever a user makes use of a VPN service, the VPN service routes the user data through different VPN locations. 

That changes the public IP address of the user. 

If a VPN user connects to a VPN server that is located in the region where the content (that the VPN user wants to watch) is not blocked then the user can access that content. 

More specifically, the streaming service would think that the VPN user is actually from the area which it approves viewing the specific content that the user wants to watch. 

Theoretically speaking, the whole thing just works. 

However, our research shows that making use of a VPN service in order to access content that is blocked is slightly more tricky then people like to think. 

The first thing that VPN users have to take care of is the VPN service itself. 

In other words, they have to sign up for a VPN service that actually works with the specific streaming service that they have subscribed to and want to access some content from.

Picking a VPN service, in and of itself, is a process. 

Selecting a VPN service that works with your streaming service is even trickier. 

Of course, by using a process of elimination you can eventually sign up for the right VPN that works for you. 

Here is another problem. 

Even if you manage to find the right VPN service that works perfectly well with your streaming service, it may not work out for you. 

Why do we say that? 

We say that because just as VPN services are striving all the time to unblock streaming services, streaming services are hard at work in blocking VPN services that unlock their content. 

So even if you find a VPN service that works with your streaming service today, it may or may not work with your streaming service tomorrow. 

That is something that you should keep in mind while you are thinking about signing up for that 3-year mega discount deal. 

Of course, on the other hand, if you have managed to find the online streaming service that streams your sports program which you are no longer able to access for one reason or another then a VPN service may provide assistance in that case. 

You will find a lot of people narrating their experiences and how they managed to stream MLB baseball games for absolutely nothing. 

Yes. 

Did you know that MLB allows users to stream premium baseball matches for free if it finds that the user lives outside the United States of America? 

Some online consumers would also tell you that they had to use a VPN service in order to make themselves appear outside the US in order to circumvent MLB restrictions. 

That is exactly what we have mentioned before. 

You sign up for a VPN service and you make it appear as if you are present in a location that your streaming service likes in order to get access to free streams if they are available. 

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We are not denying the fact that you may have to spend quite a bit of time looking at different streaming services for sports and VPN services that work with them at that given time. 

What we are saying is that you yourself come to the realization that sports fans have an unusual number of caveats to keep in mind and come to terms with. 

Firstly, the services that you may be able to unblock as a result of using a VPN service would still have blackouts. 

What are blackouts? 

Well, without o getting too technical, blackouts represent another tool that cable providers and various other broadcasters make use of in order to restrict specific regions and/or local markets based on the distribution rights that they have. 

For the end-user, that means the only kind of sports content which is available to each and every person in the US is the national sports content. 

More specifically, national sports broadcasts. 

Now, based on what a given user may desire to watch and where that user is located in the US (similar for other countries as well), the best tool for him/her is to skip the thing with streaming altogether. 

Instead of messing around with finding the right streams, the only step (a rather unfortunate step) that the user can take is to explore different packages that different cable providers are offering. 

How to use a VPN with Smart TV

 

Using a VPN with one’s TV is probably not a good strategy.

Why?

Because it is the wrong tool for tackling the kind of problem that a user with a TV and some content to unblock may want to tackle.

Of course, there are many ways in which you can use a VPN service with your TV.

More specifically, you may use a VPN service to spoof your real location.

In that case, the TV set itself would access content that is streamable in another country.

A VPN service also comes in handy for those somewhat sensitive online consumers who do not like the idea of a third-party company or an internet service provider monitoring their TV set’s web traffic.

Now, in order to use a VPN for your TV, you should either have a smart TV which is able to form a connection to the internet via your network and then stream video content directly with the help of its own TV apps.

Or, you should connect a streaming box to your TV. We’re talking about streaming boxes such as Apple TV and/or Roku TV.

So perhaps what you do first is to try and launch a VPN app either on your streaming box or TV set directly.

The market does offer VPN services such as NordVPN and SurfShark which do offer VPN app for such devices.

A user may install one of these VPN apps via official apps platforms/stores.s

All you need to do in such a case is to download the VPN app and then enter your login credentials and you should have nothing stopping you from going online and letting loose.

Of course, it is entirely possible that none of the apps might work for you and you may just end up wasting all of your money on a VPN app.

Another method to watch sports with the help of a VPN service on your TV is to install a VPN service directly on your WiFi router.

That should provide VPN protection not just to your TV but all of your devices that have a connection to the internet via the same network as the router.

This technique also helps people who have devices that do not have the ability to have apps on them.

We’re talking about devices such as smart bulbs and of course other types of IoT devices. 

Having a VPN on a router also allows users to spoof their real location on all of their internet-enabled devices, including their smart TV sets. 

The majority of the VPN service providers available in the market offer users setup guides on how to get VPN routers on their routers. 

Some VPN services also outright sell online consumers WiFi routers that they themselves have preconfigured to work perfectly with a specific VPN service. 

With that said, we recommend that users should not go with this approach. 

Why? 

Because streaming services along with banks and other services (plus sites) very often block and ban VPN services. 

Now, if some streaming service or bank bans your VPN service and you have that VPN running on your own WiFi router then you could get into real trouble when it comes to toggling the VPN on and off. 

So from the perspective of ease of use and convenience, we suggest that you go with running VPN services via VPN apps on various individual devices. 

And if you feel you need to turn off the service if a situation demands then, then you can easily do that as it would only require you to either press a button on the VPN app or turn off the VPN app by quitting it. 

Another thing that you should keep in mind about VPN services and streaming is that if you are using a VPN service then you, practically speaking, cannot stream content from your computer machine directly to your Chromecast. 

Or any other kind of streaming device. 

It is just not possible with current VPN technology. 

But why is that? 

It is that because such internet-enabled devices, generally speaking, only work internet-enabled devices which are connected to the same specific WiFi network. 

Whenever the user switches on the VPN service, the VPN encrypts the data and pipes right out of the user’s WiFi network. 

For the end-user, that means he/she will not have the opportunity to form a connection to a local internet-enabled streaming device. 

With that said, we do know of some VPN service providers that offer advanced VPN settings which allow users to have access to their LAN devices. 

Of course, generally speaking, you should consider it a rule of thumb that one must disconnect from the VPN service first before trying to cast any type of content on one’s TV set or any other device. 

Is it morally bad that I use a VPN service to stream sports? 

The thing about streaming sports content by using a VPN service is that it is not illegal. 

Again, if you use a VPN service in order to access streaming content that is blocked, in your region you are doing nothing illegal. 

However, sometimes you may violate the terms of service document of a given company. 

With that out of the way, we feel that one must definitely think about whether or not one should use a VPN service to stream sports content. 

It may be moral. 

Or immoral. 

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More or less, it will depend on which point of view you want to take. 

We’re not trying to give you legal advice here. 

Hence, you should not take our point of view on this issue as legal advice. 

But, if you really think about how you have consumed the majority of your content throughout your life, you should come to some conclusions fairly quickly. 

What do we mean by that? 

What we mean is that if you live in a country or a place where streaming services have blocked content because they want to censor certain kinds of content, then we are of the opinion that there is nothing morally wrong with using a VPN service in order to watch that content. 

Of course, based on your upbringing you could have a different point of view. 

We believe that commentary about different issues should reach each and every person that wants it. 

Now, if the content that someone wants to watch is not available for streaming via normal routes (in other words, mainstream media, and channels), then it is perfectly okay to simply switch on your VPN service and start streaming content. 

Almost every online consumer has one time or another used a VPN service to watch a lesser-known movie or a documentary that is really old and a non-US title. 

Such a title is never available for streaming or sale if you live in the US. 

In such cases, since you have tried your best to support the capitalist system that you live in and it has failed you, there is no fault on you for using a VPN to stream content. 

Now, if you are trying to watch some content which is definitely available via normal means but the content itself is not of good quality then that is another reason why someone would have his streaming experience wrecked. 

In such a situation, we feel users have the right to obtain a good stream via different online tools such as VPNs. 

Let’s take an example to further our point. 

If you want to watch the Olympics, you have to come to terms with the fact that in the US, only one company is allowed to broadcast it. 

Most of the time, the event is heavily edited. 

People who want to watch Usain Bolt (now retired) breaking records cannot do so for the simple reason that the US broadcaster is covering the event poorly. 

Here too we don’t see anything wrong in using a VPN service to find a stream which is better and also not available to people in the US. 

The discussion will definitely change if you want to access some content that is easily available and of high-quality. 

If the content is definitely easy to have access to and has enough quality to bring you joy then using a VPN for that content becomes a little less than ideal action. 

Some people feel setting up a VPN is too much of a headache to access such streams from another country. 

On that note, click here if you want to see a list of the best VPNs in the world right now that may help you stream all sorts of sports. 

 

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Zohair

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • I always watch sports, movies or read articles using NordVPN… I’m from a country, where lot’s of stuff is whether restricted or not popular. So, it’s a savior for me, as I just can’t think of a day without watching Netflix or enjoying sports. I like that, Nord is cheap, but the speed is very good! I can recommend it for those, who want I good service for an affordable price. However, I didn’t try other VPNs, so can’t say anything about others.

    • Hi Greg.
      Thanks for the comment.
      There is no doubt that NordVPN is currently amongst the best VPN services in the world.
      It can not only unblock Netflix but also provide extra security.
      We’re glad it is working out for you.