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Best VPN for Sports [Streaming Live]

Best VPN for Sports in 2024: Streaming Live Sports From Anywhere

Live sports can’t be streamed everywhere due to broadcast licensing issues. Some regions experience blackouts and can only show highlights or replays later on. By using a VPN for sports, you can bypass these restrictions and enjoy games in real time.

Arthur SabayiSamuel ChapmanJasna Mishevska

Written by Arthur Sabayi (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-29T09:07:17+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Which Is the Best VPN for Sports?

  1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN overall
  2. NordVPN — Secure VPN with reliable buffer-free speeds
  3. Surfshark — Best for multiple streaming devices
  4. CyberGhost — Largest server network
  5. Proton VPN — Best free VPN for live streaming sports

The popularity of live streaming sports is growing, and Americans lead the pack, spending more than 4.17 hours per week streaming sports related content, according to a 2022 study by time2play.com.1 However, licensing issues prevent many from accessing the live sports they love. The only way around this is to turn to the best VPN for sports.

Virtual private networks bypass the geo-restrictions on sporting events by hiding your IP address, keeping you anonymous while letting you stream sports content from other countries. Furthermore, they circumvent internet service provider (ISP) speed throttling so you can watch the game free of buffering. Yet despite the market being awash with hundreds of VPNs, not all are up to the task.

Our guide covers the five VPNs that impressed us the most for sports streaming. We will explore the size of their server networks, speeds, user privacy, device compatibility and, most importantly, how they handle sports streaming. For those in a rush, ExpressVPN is our pick for the best sports VPN, but if you want to learn more, read on.

  • 09/05/2022

    Updated Windscribe pricing: the paid plan increased to $5.75 per month from $4.08. The Build-a-Plan minimum purchase also increased to $3 from $2. Also updated Windscribe’s free data cap to 15GB due to it offering 5GB extra permanently when you tweet about the service.

  • 11/02/2023

    Updated the article to reflect ExpressVPN’s expansion of server presence from 94 to 105 countries.

  • 01/26/2024 Facts checked

    We’ve rewritten the article and adjusted our list to recommend the best available VPNs.

Cloudwards Editor’s Choice: ExpressVPN

Fast speeds are vital when streaming live sports, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find many VPNs faster than ExpressVPN. It consistently tops our fastest VPNs list due to its proprietary Lightway protocol. ExpressVPN also rarely disappoints when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted sports streaming services worldwide. It has over 3,000 servers in 105+ countries.

Finally, ExpressVPN has user-friendly apps that work on Android, iOS, Windows and macOS. For those with Samsung, LG or Apple TV, there’s MediaStreamer, which you can read about in our ExpressVPN MediaStreamer review. You can try ExpressVPN with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

How to Choose the Best Sports VPN

The main function of a sports VPN is to change your IP address to the location where you want to stream live sports. We focused on four key factors when ranking the best sports VPNs. 

  • Streaming: The first consideration was the ability to unblock geo-restricted content. Sports streaming sites like Peacock, SlingTV andCBS Sports are unavailable worldwide. VPNs with more evenly distributed servers give you a better chance of unblocking these streaming sites. Bigger VPN server networks like CyberGhost also improve speeds because there’s less server overcrowding.
  • Performance: The second factor we considered was connection speeds. Sports fans can miss critical action if the video buffers when streaming live games, so the ideal VPN needs to be fast enough to avoid that. Streaming services like TiVo Stream offer live content in 4K, but without a fast VPN you won’t be able to get that quality.
  • Security & Privacy: Thirdly, we looked at user privacy and security. The best sports streaming VPN should hide your IP address and stop your ISP from monitoring your online movements. The VPN should also maintain your privacy and encrypt your internet traffic, especially if you use public networks to stream.
  • Compatibility: The fourth factor we considered was device compatibility. The VPN should work on devices capable of streaming, like Android, iOS, macOS and Windows PCs. An added bonus is if the VPN has alternate ways to work on smart TVs that don’t support native VPN app installations, like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer.

The 5 Best Sports Streaming VPNs

With our criteria for choosing the best sports streaming VPNs settled, which five VPNs made the list? We’ll explain how each VPN performed with different streaming services during hands-on testing. Let’s dive right in.

1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Sports

expressvpn unbloocking mlb
ExpressVPN has U.S. servers that can unblock Major
League Baseball on multiple streaming platforms.

More details about ExpressVPN:

Pros:

  • Unlocks all streaming sites
  • Fast streaming speeds
  • Offers fast obfuscation

Cons:

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 105 countries. Though CyberGhost dwarfs this, ExpressVPN still unblocked live sports sites like FuboTV in the U.S., Sportsnet NOW in Canada and BBC iPlayer in the U.K. without issues. It doesn’t matter which corner of the globe you are in; you can stream your favorite team playing live anywhere.

Buffering won’t be a problem with ExpressVPN, as it is the fastest VPN on our list. On six continents, we cranked up the streaming quality to 1080p or 4K and streamed video with no buffering. We recommend switching to the Lightway UDP protocol, as it is the fastest — you can read more about that in our ExpressVPN Lightway review.

Furthermore, our tests showed that ExpressVPN layers impenetrable encryption on your streaming traffic, protecting you from snooping eyes. That gives you the peace of mind to enjoy your game even when using unsecured public WiFi.

Since internet service providers cannot interfere with your speeds if your IP address is concealed, we’ve found that we actually beat our unprotected speeds when using ExpressVPN.

Combine all that with how easy the ExpressVPN app is to use across different devices and you can see why it’s the best. Catch your favorite NBA team on NBA League Pass on your Android, iOS, macOS or Windows devices. Plus, you can connect up to eight devices simultaneously when you subscribe to a plan for 12 months or longer.

ExpressVPN Hands-on Testing

ExpressVPN is smooth and easy to configure and navigate. You can activate the kill switch and select protocols from the app settings with a single tap. Finding the server you need is also a breeze, as they are arranged by continent and come with a responsive search bar.

Alternatively, you can use a search function to locate the exact server you need quickly. We tested whether ExpressVPN could unblock Peacock TV sports using a New Jersey server and it worked on the first attempt. We also streamed MLB games and highlights without problems.

expressvpn server selection
The ExpressVPN app server list.

ExpressVPN Pricing & Value

ExpressVPN is an expensive service and comes with three price plans. The 12-month plan offers the best value at $6.66 per month and comes with an extra three free months. It’s followed by the six-month plan at $9.99 per month and the one-month plan, which is the most costly at $12.95 per month.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you want to learn more, check out our ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN — Best VPN for Sports Streaming on a Budget

nordvpn unblocking sportsnet
NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers that easily unblock
sports sites like SportsNet Now in Canada.

More details about NordVPN:

Pros:

  • Obfuscates servers
  • Fast NordLynx protocol
  • Unblocks live-streaming

Cons:

  • Obfuscated servers are slow

If ExpressVPN is The Flash, then NordVPN is Captain America holding that impenetrable shield. NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs and rates highly in our most secure VPNs piece. It helps circumvent ISP speed throttling by routing your sports streams through an encrypted virtual tunnel that hides your IP address perfectly.

NordVPN has more than 5,900 servers in 60 countries, making it the second largest network after CyberGhost. A high number of U.S. servers across 16 locations lets you bypass pesky NBA blackouts to catch live games as they happen rather than waiting for replays the next day.

It also comes with the all-important obfuscated servers for regions and networks that restrict VPN use. These also help on work and school networks that may not want you to mix work with play. Connecting to any of the 16 available obfuscated servers offers you unrestricted access to multiple sports streaming services, including Sling TV, DirecTV and FuboTV. 

Speaking of buffering, NordVPN averaged 94 Mbps on our unprotected speeds of 100 Mbps — only a 6% speed drop. These speeds can handle livestream sports at any distance without interference. NordVPN is equipped with a fast proprietary protocol called NordLynx; we touch on it in our NordVPN review, so give it a read.

NordVPN also works with Android, iOS, macOS and Windows and offers a SmartDNS feature for any smart TV incompatible with VPN apps. You can also connect up to six devices simultaneously, which is perfect for large groups and makes it possible for everyone to watch their preferred game on their own screens.

NordVPN Hands-on Testing

NordVPN gave us no trouble as we activated the kill switch, changed protocols and selected servers through the app settings. On the desktop version, you can see the exact number of servers in a location. Navigating is easy even for first-time users, which is why NordVPN appears on our list of best beginner-friendly VPNs.

nordlynx protocol
NordVPN’s NordLynx is one of the fastest proprietary protocols in the VPN world.

NordVPN Pricing & Value

NordVPN has three price plans. The NordVPN Standard two-year plan offers the best deal at $3.48 per month and comes bundled with an extra three months.

The next best deal is the one-year plan, which costs $5.74 per month, and last is the monthly plan, which will set you back $12.99 per month. All come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Basic
  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes
Plus
  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes
Complete
  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes

3. Surfshark — Fastest VPN for Sports

surfshark unblocking fubotv
Surfshark can unblock FuboTV and other sports sites with more than 3,200 servers.

More details about Surfshark:

Pros:

  • Fastest streaming speeds
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Obfuscates censored networks

Cons:

  • Expensive monthly plans

Surfshark is a reliable VPN for streaming sports, with more than 3,200 servers in more than 100 countries. These servers run on 1 Gbps ports that are super fast, so even overcrowded servers won’t be a problem. Surfshark averaged 95 Mbps, a 5% speed drop on our 100 Mbps unprotected connection. That’s sufficient to stream live games with minimal speed reductions and latencies.

Furthermore, its more than 3,200 servers are distributed globally, with a high concentration in the United States and Europe. We had no problem unblocking BBC iPlayer to stream the English Premier League games. You don’t have to worry about broadcasting licenses keeping you from enjoying your favorite games.

Surfshark passed our encryption tests, so rest easy knowing that your streaming traffic is for your eyes only. Furthermore, there’s a kill switch across all the apps that disconnects your internet when your VPN connection drops. That prevents your real IP address from leaking accidentally when you’re watching sports on public WiFi.

If you’re traveling to China and are worried about missing important games, don’t panic. Surfshark has an obfuscation feature called Camouflage Mode that will easily bypass Chinese VPN censorship. To activate it, switch to the OpenVPN protocol. We explain how it works in our VPN protocols guide.

Surfshark Hands-on Testing

The Surfshark app lets you connect to a server of your choice, change the protocols and activate the kill switch. It works with multiple streaming devices, like Android, iOS, Windows and macOS. It also offers SmartDNS for sports fanatics with Samsung, Apple or LG smart TVs that are not compatible with VPN apps. 

Most importantly, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous device connections, so you can find it sitting pretty on our best VPN for multiple devices list. This gives you more flexibility in sharing your subscription with friends and family.

surfshark app killswitch
The Surfshark app has a kill switch, and you can choose
the protocol that fits your streaming needs.

Surfshark Pricing & Value

Surfshark offers three price plans, and the cheapest one is Surfshark Starter. The best deal is the 24-month plan, which costs $2.49 per month and comes with four extra months. The 12-month plan goes for $3.49 per month, and the monthly plan costs $15.45 per month.

All plans offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our Surfshark review to understand these plans before you pay for a subscription.

Surfshark Starter
  • Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker. Plans renew: $185.40 for one year, $370.80 for two years
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
  • Yes
Surfshark One
  • Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias Plans renew: $191.40 for one year, $380.80 for two years.
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
Surfshark One+
  • Everything in One, plus Data removal Plans renew: $215.40 for one year, $430.80 for two years
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited

4. CyberGhost — Best VPN for Sports Globally

cyberghost unblocking dazn
CyberGhost has more than 10,000 servers, making it the largest server network.

More details about CyberGhost:

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Streaming-dedicated servers
  • Buffer-free streaming speeds

Cons:

  • No obfuscation

CyberGhost has the largest server network, with 10,000+ servers in 100 countries and 125 locations. It can unblock U.S. streaming platforms like ESPN+ and stream American college games and more from anywhere in the world without blackouts.

CyberGhost is also pretty fast, averaging 80 Mbps worldwide — a 20% speed drop on our unprotected 100 Mbps connection. Though this is slower than ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN, it is enough for streaming live 4K games without buffering. 

Additionally, CyberGhost is the only VPN on this list with streaming servers for specific services. That eliminates the time you’ll spend searching for a fast server.

We connected to a Japanese server optimized for DAZN Japan to stream J1 League games. It unblocked it on the first attempt. We go into more detail about these specialty streaming servers and what they can and can’t do in our CyberGhost review.

CyberGhost will keep your streaming traffic safe from prying eyes, including your ISP. The kill switch is available across all apps as a failsafe for unexpected moments when the VPN connection drops.

However, CyberGhost doesn’t have obfuscation. We wouldn’t recommend using it in highly censored regions or networks because there’s a high chance that your VPN traffic will be detected.

CyberGhost Hands-on Testing

You can run CyberGhost on Android, iOS, macOS and Windows, plus smart TVs like Apple, LG and Samsung through the SmartDNS feature. Additionally, you can connect up to seven devices simultaneously. Next time you have your friends over, impress them with a CyberGhost connection and stream the game in every room of your house.

As for usability, it’s one of the simplest VPN apps on this list. The server list is comprehensive; you can favorite the servers you use frequently for easy access. Other in-app functions at your disposal include the kill switch, protocols and WiFi rules. The latter feature lets you configure the general behavior of your CyberGhost app on unknown WiFi networks.

cyberghost app
The CyberGhost app is easy to use and lets you tweak settings to your preferences.

CyberGhost Pricing & Value

CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPNs, offering three price plans, and you can find it among our best cheap VPN recommendations.

The 24-month plan is the best deal at $2.37 per month with an extra four months. The six-month plan is the second cheapest at $6.99 per month, and last is the one-month plan, which goes for $12.99 per month. 

CyberGhost provides a 45-day money-back guarantee with the 24-month and six-month plans, whereas monthly plan subscribers have a 14-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost Plans
  • *The $56.94 price under the 2-year plan is billed yearly after the first two years.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 7
  • Yes

5. Proton VPN — Best Free VPN for Sports

protonvpn unblocking tntsports
ProtonVPN has a free version with three free locations.

More details about Proton VPN:

Pros:

  • Offers a free version
  • Reliable obfuscation
  • Unblocks streaming sites

Cons:

  • Free version has a limited server network

ProtonVPN is the only premium option on this list that offers a free version; it also makes an appearance on our best free VPNs roster. If you’re on a tight budget but can’t stand to miss a live game, ProtonVPN has you covered.

However, you’ll be limited to servers in just three countries: the Netherlands, the United States, and Japan. This is decent considering the number of sports streaming channels in the U.S. alone.

If you want to unlock more, the premium version has more than 3,000 servers in 70 countries. They are well distributed globally, with concentrations in regions like the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia. ProtonVPN is one of our best U.K. VPNs, and we managed to unblock TNT Sports using a U.K. server. We streamed highlights of the Investec Champions Cup with no hiccups.

ProtonVPN averaged a decent 34 Mbps on our unprotected 40 Mbps connection. This was a 15% speed drop, making ProtonVPN the second slowest after CyberGhost. However, that didn’t put a damper on our live streaming expectations. The VPN held its own pretty well during every rugby match we watched.

Additionally, user security and privacy are top notch. ProtonVPN shields your streaming traffic from your ISP and other interested parties itching to know what you are up to. You can bypass VPN censorship using the Stealth protocol, which hides your VPN connection from censors in countries like Russia that have a strict VPN ban

ProtonVPN Hands-on Testing

ProtonVPN is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS and Windows and offers up to 10 simultaneous device connections. The free version is limited to one device. Overall, the ProtonVPN apps are easy to use across all devices, and you can find the server you’re looking for without trouble. 

protonvpn app
The ProtonVPN app is user-friendly and works with Android, iOS, macOS and Windows.

ProtonVPN Pricing & Value

The best deal that ProtonVPN offers is the two-year plan, which costs $4.99 per month. Next up is the one-year plan, costing $5.99 per month, and the monthly plan, which costs $9.99 per month. All premium plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you need to know more, read our ProtonVPN review or take the VPN for a test run by subscribing to the best deal around.

How to Use a VPN for Sports Streaming

Setting up a VPN to live stream games on multiple platforms is easy. Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Subscribe to a VPN

    Go to the VPN website and select a plan that fits your budget. Make sure it has a server in the country where your sports event airs.

    get expressvpn step1
  2. Download and Install the VPN

    Open the VPN download page and choose the app that is compatible with the device you intend to use for live sports streaming.

    expressvpn-apps
  3. Launch the VPN and Connect to a Server

    Open the VPN list and connect to a server in a region where the streaming service you want to unblock is unrestricted.

    expressvpn app us

Why You Need a Sports Streaming VPN

You need a sports streaming VPN to unblock geo-restricted content. The internet has opened up the world, but licensing issues still restrict access to sports broadcasting. This leads to streaming blackouts that prevent some regions from watching live games. The best they can do is wait for the replays when the game is over.

A VPN lets you change your location and trick the streaming platforms into thinking you’re physically in a region that has a license to show the game. It also keeps you safe from cyber threats and unwanted surveillance.

By hiding your actual IP address and replacing it with a virtual one, no one can track your online activity. Another advantage is the ability to bypass the speed throttling that internet service providers impose.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy unlimited sports anonymously from anywhere in the world, get a VPN.

The Best Sports Streaming Sites

Countless streaming services broadcast live sports, and it’s hard to include them all here. Here’s a table showing the most prominent ones from different regions worldwide.

Site:SportCountry
BBC iPlayer ⚽Soccer
🏏Cricket
🏉Rugby
🎾Tennis
🥊Boxing
🏌️Golf
🇬🇧 UK
DAZN ⚾MLB
🥋MMA
🏈Football
⚽Soccer
🤼Wrestling
🤾Handball
🇺🇸 US
🇯🇵 Japan
🇮🇹 Italy
🇦🇹 Austria
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇧🇷 Brazil
🇪🇸 Spain
🇨🇦 Canada
🇩🇪 Germany
Sling TV 🏈NFL
🏀NBA
🏒NHL
🏈NCAAF
🏀NCAAB
🇺🇸 US
Kayo Sports 🏎️Motorsport
🏏Cricket
🏀Basketball
🏉Rugby
⚽Soccer
🇦🇺 Australia
Sky Sports ⚽Soccer
🏎️Motorsport
🎾Tennis
🏈NFL
🥊Boxing
🇬🇧 UK
🇮🇪 Ireland

Final Thoughts

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming live sports. It’s one of the fastest VPNs in the game, unblocks many streaming services worldwide, keeps you completely anonymous and can be used on multiple devices. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can try NordVPN (best security), Surfshark (most affordable), CyberGhost (largest server network) or ProtonVPN (best free VPN).

That’s it for today. How often do you watch live sports? Which streaming platform do you use the most frequently? Have you had streaming issues when using a VPN? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below. We appreciate your continued readership.

FAQ: Best VPN for Unblocking Sports

  • Proton VPN is the best free VPN for sports. It comes with free servers in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Japan, and it encrypts your streaming traffic, hiding it from all forms of surveillance.

  • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for sports betting. It has 3,000 servers to unblock geo-restricted betting sites like DraftKings, and it encrypts your betting traffic, protecting you from potential hackers or betting account bans.

  • You can use a VPN to watch NFL games from anywhere in the world. Simply subscribe to a VPN with U.S. servers to unblock streaming sites like Sling TV and FuboTV that broadcast live NFL games. 

  • You can watch Fox Sports with a VPN by downloading and connecting to a U.S. server that lets you unblock and stream Fox Sports from anywhere.

Sources:

  1. https://time2play.com/blog/americas-sports-watching-habits/
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