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VPN for Every NFL Game: How To Watch Out-of-Market Games [2024]

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A VPN is a powerful tool that you can use to watch out-of-market NFL games. Continue on to get all the details!

In a hurry? If you want the best VPN for privacy, security, or speed, here are our editor’s picks for the best VPNs overall:

ExpressVPN
  1. ExpressVPN: Established VPN provider in 105 countries. Smart DNS, a built-in ad-blocker, and unlimited bandwidth. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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HotSpot Shield
  1. Hotspot Shield: Connect to servers in 25+ US cities. Comes with a 7-day free trial!
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Private Internet Access
  1. Private Internet Access: The only no-logs VPN with a location for every US state. Get 82% off + 2 months free.
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NFL broadcasting is set up so that games on Sunday afternoons occur at the same time as others. And since these live games are broadcast regionally by CBS and Fox affiliates, fans are usually out of luck when it comes to watching games that feature teams outside the area.

Your local networks will show your local team’s games because that’s what most people in your area will want to see. But that’s not necessarily what you want to see.

Say you’re an Atlanta fan living in New York. Ordinarily, you are only certain to see them play if they are competing against the Giants or the Jets — or when they happen to be playing a nationally televised game.

Unless you have a VPN.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name implies, it first and foremost is a service designed to protect your privacy. But one of the most common uses of a VPN is to change your virtual location — where the internet thinks you are — to somewhere else in the country (or the world). This can allow you to avoid game blackouts in your area.

Using a VPN in a Nutshell

A VPN provides an extra layer of security while hiding your computer’s IP address, allowing you to surf the web with complete privacy. Our in-depth guide to VPNs explains the details if you are interested.

For our purposes here, VPNs allow you to stream from any of the locations of the available VPN servers. It’s a very simple process.

Here is the process to livestream out-of-market NFL games with a VPN:

  1. Choose a VPN. There are plenty of good ones on the market. We all use ExpressVPN, but other brands worth checking out include Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost. See our list below for team-specific recommendations.
  2. Set up your account and download the VPN app on your devices.
  3. Figure out the location you can livestream the game from.
  4. Connect your VPN and stream the game.

Get ExpressVPN’s Best Deal!

Using a VPN to Livestream NFL Out-of-Market Games

If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, this all probably sounds overwhelming. So let’s take each of the “four easy steps” above and break them down in the context of unblocking out-of-market NFL games.

1. Choosing a VPN

We have a guide to the best VPN for each NFL team. Short version: we generally recommend ExpressVPN, but Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost are also great. And Private Internet Access covers the most teams.

If you’re selecting a VPN for security or privacy in addition to the ability to livestream out-of-market games, you should carefully consider each VPN’s features and pricing. 

Critical factors that affect your decision:

  • Does the VPN support your device? Is there an acceptable work-around if it doesn’t? Most allow you to stream through an integrated browser as a last resort.
  • Does the VPN have a server in or near the team you want to follow? For instance, if you’re a Detroit Lions fan living outside the Motor City, neither ExpressVPN nor HotSpot Shield have a server in Detroit. But Private Internet Access and SurfShark do. See our list of teams and the VPNs with servers in their markets.
  • How many simultaneous connections does the VPN support? This is important if more than one person will be streaming at the same time.
  • Does the VPN allow enough bandwidth? With high-resolution video streaming, it’s easy to eat up even generous bandwidth allowances. Look for unlimited bandwidth plans.
  • Are the servers fast enough? Buffering servers can make them all but useless streaming NFL games.
  • Does the provider offer different tunneling protocols for greater flexibility?

Other things to look for, although not specific to NFL streaming, are dedicated IP addresses and smart DNS as well as access to customer support and the use of a no-logs policy.

All the VPNs compared on our page meet industry standard requirements for encryption and other security features. Most are relatively inexpensive month-to-month. But several have tiers of service with increasing features and access to servers.

Remember that pretty much all VPN providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee (or more), so you can try them risk-free to see if they suit your needs.

Using ExpressVPN to watch NFL games out-of-market to you.

2. Setting Up Your VPN

To set up your VPN on your computer or as a browser extension is pretty easy — just download the app and follow the setup instructions, or install the browser extension from your browser’s app store.

Most services allow you to watch on pretty much all the streaming devices that are in use today. And that’s also true of VPNs, but not as true. Roku devices, for the most part, do not allow you to install VPNs directly. We have a complete list of devices and the VPNs that support each.

If you livestream on your computer, mobile device, or TV that you’re used to installing apps on, then you’re done. You’re also done if you have a Chromecast or a Vizio Smartcast or use Apple AirPlay. 

However, if you want to livestream the game directly on your smart TV or TV device, that’s a bit trickier. You’ll need to pick a VPN that supports your device. We have a complete comparison on our VPN page.

The alternative is to install the VPN directly on your router, so it covers your entire Wi-Fi network, not just a single device. Details on this are beyond the scope of this article, but the process is surprisingly straightforward. Your VPN provider will have step-by-step instructions.

3. Finding a Streaming Location

This is where your favorite team (or teams) come into play because of geo-restrictions applied to their broadcasts.

If you follow the Giants, Jets, Chargers, Rams, Commanders, or Bears, you should be fine with any of the VPNs that support your device. This is because NY, LA, DC, and Chicago are nearly universally represented in US server lists.

However, if you follow the Packers, Vikings, Colts, Bengals, or Browns, you may have fewer options. You’ll still be able to find the live NFL games, you’ll just have to be a bit more creative.

For example, if the Colts are playing the Cowboys, you can connect to a server in Dallas or Indianapolis to livestream the game. But there are many other cities where this game may be broadcast.

VPNs understandably focus on international servers. But when it comes to watching the NFL, you’ll require American servers in the correct locations. You can use the table below to help you find the best VPN service (which offers servers in the local area) for each NFL team.

Be sure to check first because server locations change often. Also note that sometimes the servers are not where you would guess. For example, Jacksonville Jaguars games are considered local in Birmingham, Alabama.

Team#1 VPN#2 VPN#3 VPN
Arizona CardinalsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Atlanta FalconsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Baltimore RavensExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Buffalo BillsSurfsharkNordVPN
Carolina PanthersHotspot ShieldPIASurfshark
Chicago BearsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Cincinnati BengalsHotspot ShieldPIAIP Vanish
Cleveland BrownsHotspot ShieldPIA
Dallas CowboysExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Denver BroncosExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Detroit LionsPIASurfshark
Green Bay PackersPIA
Houston TexansHotspot ShieldPIASurfshark
Indianapolis ColtsHotspot ShieldPIA
Jacksonville JaguarsPIA
Kansas City ChiefsHotspot ShieldPIASurfshark
Las Vegas RaidersHotspot ShieldPIASurfshark
Los Angeles ChargersExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Los Angeles RamsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Miami DolphinsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Minnesota VikingsPIA
New England PatriotsHotspot ShieldPIASurfshark
New Orleans SaintsPIAStrongVPNIP Vanish
New York GiantsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
New York JetsExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Philadelphia EaglesHotspot ShieldPIA
Pittsburgh SteelersHotspot ShieldPIA
San Francisco 49ersExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Seattle SeahawksExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
Tampa Bay BuccaneersExpressVPNHotspot Shield
Tennessee TitansPIA
Washington CommandersExpressVPNHotspot ShieldPIA
PIA is Private Internet Access

Where Are the Out-of-Market Games Airing?

To get information on upcoming games, see our NFL Viewer’s Guide. There are also team pages if you are interested in specifics.

4. Using Your VPN

Once it’s installed, your VPN should be a breeze to use. Most have a list of locations or a map (or both). You can use this to search by city or country name.

Many VPNs have a smart connect function that allows you to select a country, region, or city to connect to. They then choose the fastest, least-crowded server available. All the most popular ones will walk you through the process with pop-up tips and suggestions.

Get ExpressVPN’s Best Deal!

Live TV Streaming Services to Use With VPNs

VPNs can be used to access NFL content from all over the world. Since live TV streaming services offer all the channels you need to livestream the NFL games without cable, fans are in luck — no matter where they are.

Which games are shown in your local market will depend upon where the station is located. The CBS and Fox affiliates in a particular location will show the games that are of most interest to fans there.

The NFL has a similar problem during the preseason, except their games aren’t limited to Sundays. There is no problem, however, with playoff games since they are all broadcast nationally.

VPNs allow you to change your apparent location and stream the games that are shown there.

Here are streaming platforms that will offer you the best coverage of NFL games around the nation:

  • Fubo (formerly FuboTV): It is well known for its wide sports coverage, offering 50+ sports channels out of the 150+ channels in its Pro plan ($79.99/mo). The plan includes all the local network affiliate channels. It offers a great RSN selection as well. Add-ons are available for much more. (Fubo review)
  • DIRECTV STREAM: The Entertainment package goes for $79.99/mo and it offers all the local network affiliates. (DIRECTV STREAM review)
  • Hulu + Live TV: Offers 100+ live channels including network affiliates. It also includes ESPN+. The base package is $76.99/mo. (Hulu + Live TV review)
  • YouTube TV: Get 100+ channels with all the local network affiliates for $72.99/mo.

Note that we have not had luck using VPNs with NFL+, Paramount+, or Sling TV. We will update you if if things change.

Sign Up for a Free Fubo Trial

Out-of-Market NFL Games Without VPNs

There are other ways to watch out-of-market NFL games than by using a streaming service with a VPN. You can watch out-of-market NFL games through NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL+, and NFL RedZone.

Fans outside the USA, Canada, and China can just sign up for NFL Game Pass. Fans in Canada can sign up for DAZN.

Wrapping Up

So if you live in Boston, but you left your heart in San Francisco, don’t despair. With the help of a VPN, you can still regularly tune into the 49ers. Yes, it’s a bit more work, but when you catch that big play of the year (or decade!) live, it’ll all be worth it. 

Don’t let accidents of geography keep you from your team of choice. Install a VPN and never have to worry about out-of-market games again!

Our top choice is ExpressVPN. But for many teams, more expansive US coverage (from HotSpot Shield or others) may be required.

Get ExpressVPN’s Best Deal!

Related Pages

FAQs

What happened to the NFL Game Pass?

Beginning with the 2022-23 season, the NFL eliminated its Game Pass service for US residents in favor of its new NFL+ service. The NFL Game Pass — what we used to call the NFL Game Pass International — is now only available to fans living outside the United States, Canada, and China.

Get complete information in our NFL Game Pass guide.

Can I use NFL Sunday Ticket with a VPN?

Yes, you should have no problem using a VPN with NFL Sunday Ticket, whether you get it from YouTube or YouTube TV. What is considered out-of-market will depend upon where you are streaming from. This makes using a VPN with Sunday Ticket much easier than with NFL+ since you only need to stream from somewhere outside the markets of the two teams. It is much pricier, however.

Can I use a VPN to stream NFL Game Pass inside the US?

Possibly. You will have difficulties using a VPN with NFL Game Pass. Since the service is no longer distributed by NFL, we have received reports about issues making it work with a VPN from users who had no issues in the past. Based on chatter around the internet, some people have had some success, but it is (at best) finicky. Bear this in mind before you purchase a Game Pass subscription.

What streaming devices can I use my VPN on?

Most major ones, except Roku. The VPNs we’ve discussed support the vast majority of devices you may be streaming NFL games on. There is universal support for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. There is less support for Amazon Fire TV Stick or Cube, Apple TV, smart TVs (Android TV, LG, Samsung, Vizio), and gaming consoles.

One major exception is that Roku devices do not support VPNs at all. To use a VPN, you need to install it on your router. Most VPNs provide instructions on how to do this.

Will a VPN slow my streaming?

Yes, using a VPN will slow your streaming speed and, more importantly, your streaming latency. But as long as you use a quality VPN, you shouldn’t notice a problem. You should receive a high-quality and reliable signal. You may see a few seconds of lag in the signal, but this should be small compared to the normal broadcast lag compared to watching the game live onsite.

Is it legal to watch out-of-market NFL games with a VPN?

Yes, VPNs are perfectly legal in most countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the service you use to stream may have terms and conditions that limit the use of a VPN. NFL+, for example, does mention possible regional restrictions, but it does not explicitly forbid the use of a VPN.

Can I use a free VPN to watch out-of-market NFL games?

You probably can, but you shouldn’t. We highly recommend avoiding sketchy free VPN services. But there are reliable VPNs available for free from established providers like ProtonVPN and AtlasVPN. You may find them useful. However, chances are they won’t provide the access that you are looking for.

First, they greatly limit the number of server locations. They may also limit your bandwidth, making them useless for hi-def live-streaming. And they likely lack the fast speeds of the pay-tiers of the provider or pay services from other providers.

Can I use a VPN to watch primetime games on Thursday, Sunday, or Monday nights?

We supposed you could, but we don’t understand why you would want to. Primetime games, unlike the mishmash on Sunday afternoons, are nationally televised. What you see on Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football in Boston is what you’ll see in Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, or Bismarck. Same thing with NBC’s Sunday Night Football and ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

VPNs are only useful when the only thing keeping you from being able to watch the Buffalo Bills game is your location and your TV provider geo-blocking you.

What are some of the major benefits of using a VPN?

The big one, as far as this article is concerned, is the ability to watch NFL teams you usually would not see much of where you live. But there are other reasons to use a VPN:

  • Keeps all of your data private, whether from the websites you visit or from your Internet Service Provider.
  • Protects your passwords, credit card information, bank credentials, and browsing habits from malicious attacks, especially on public networks.
  • Masks your activity, so your connection can’t be slowed just because you’re streaming, gaming, or downloading files.
  • Closes vulnerabilities while gaming online.

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

Featured photo: Washington Football Team vs. Kansas City Chiefs on FedEx Field /
cropped from original by All-Pro Reels under CC BY-SA 2.0

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