How to watch blackout MLB games in 2023

How to watch blackout MLB games in 2023
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Major League Baseball or MLB blackouts happen in many US states and the rest of the world because of licensing restrictions. Different broadcasting companies get exclusive rights to certain games before every season, which means you can’t watch them without cable as even MLB.tv can’t stream them live. Luckily, you can use a VPN to bypass MLB’s blackouts.

A VPN will change your IP address to make it look like you’re in a region where the MLB game you want to watch is streaming. There are too many VPNs on the market and searching for the right one can be difficult, which is why we tested around 30 providers and found the top 3 best VPNs for MLB.tv.

How to avoid MLB game blackout via MLB.tv

Using a VPN to avoid MLB game blackouts can be easily done in a few steps. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pick a VPN that you prefer. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install selected VPN on your device.
  3. Look for and connect to a server where the MLB game you want to watch isn’t blacked out.
  4. Head over to the MLB.tv and watch your favorite team’s game!

Why are MLB games blackout?

There is no one company that owns the right to air MLB games. Different broadcasting companies have exclusive rights to air certain games and no other entity can live stream them, online or offline.

MLB teams themselves negotiate broadcasting rights with regional sports networks (RSNs) who pay them a large chunk of money for letting them broadcast their games.

MLB detects your location with the help of your IP address and GPS/location services. If it determines you’re from a region where a game is blacked out, you’ll get an error saying the game is unavailable in your area.

As mentioned above, not even MLB has the right to live stream games whose rights are owned by TV stations like Fox or ABC. In fact, MLB doesn’t even have a say in how teams negotiate with RSNs.

This can be frustrating for people who are subscribed to MLB.TV. The site makes it clear, though, that all live games are “subject to local, regional or national blackouts.”

You can still listen to live audio of any game even if it’s blacked out. Live audio is included in your MLB.TV subscription as “MLB Audio.”

How to use a VPN to bypass MLB blackouts

Depending on which VPN you use, you’ll be able to install it on multiple devices. NordVPN, for example, is available on desktop (Windows and macOS), smartphones (Android and iOS), streaming devices, and even routers.

Here’s how you can use a VPN to bypass MLB blackouts on the following devices:

Desktop (Windows or Mac)

Connecting to a VPN on the desktop is simple. The process is the same on both Windows and macOS. All you have to do is install the VPN and find a server that’s located in a region where the MLB game you want to watch isn’t blacked out.

You can use MLB’s zip code tool to find a location where your team isn’t blacked out. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a VPN to watch MLB games on desktop:

  1. Pick a VPN from our list. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your system.
  3. Use the MLB zip code tool to find a location where you can watch your team’s game.
  4. Look for a server from that region.
  5. Connect to the server and start watching the game!

Android or iPhone

Using a VPN to bypass MLB blackouts on smartphones can be a bit tricky because even when you’re connected to it, the MLB site or app will be able to detect your location by reading your GPS/location services data.

For iOS, all you have to do is not allow the app to access your location. On Android, you can use Surfshark’s “GPS override” feature to change your GPS location to the VPN server you’re connected to.

Here’s how to circumvent MLB’s blackouts on smartphones:

  1. Choose a VPN you like. We recommend NordVPN or ExpressVPN for iOS and Surfshark for Android.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your phone.
  3. Find a server to connect to. If on Android, enable Override GPS in the settings.
  4. Once connected, open the MLB app and start watching your favorite game! If on iOS, make sure you tap Don’t Allow when asked to share location data.

FireStick TV

Using a VPN on a streaming device is just as simple as using it on desktop and smartphones. Other than making sure your VPN has an app for FireStick TV, there are no additional steps. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Pick a VPN that suits your needs. We recommend NordVPN or ExpressVPN for FireStick TV.
  2. Download and install your preferred VPN on your device.
  3. Look for a server where your game isn’t blacked out.
  4. Connect to the server.
  5. Open the MLB app and start watching!

If you still have trouble accessing the game, clear the MLB app’s cache in the settings.

Chromecast or Roku

Using a VPN to watch blacked out MLB games on Chromecast or Roku requires a few additional steps. Mainly because these devices don’t have native apps for any VPN and they don’t allow you to change the DNS settings.

The easiest way to go about it is to turn your VPN-enabled PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Another way is to connect your Chromecast or Roku device to a VPN-enabled router.

Here are the steps to show you how to do it:

  1. Pick a VPN you’d like to use. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your PC.
  3. Go to your Network and Internet settings and enable Mobile hotspot.
  4. Click on Status in the sidebar and go to “Change adapter options.”
  5. Go to the settings of your VPN’s Tap Adapter and in the “Sharing” tab, check the “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection” box.
  6. Open the VPN and connect to a server where your MLB game isn’t blacked out.
  7. Boot up your Chromecast or Roku and connect to the hotspot you just created.
  8. You can now watch your team’s MLB game on your Chromecast or Roku!

For the other method, we recommend using ExpressVPN since it has a router that comes pre-installed with the VPN.

Best VPN for MLB.tv to bypass game blackouts

The best VPNs for MLB.tv will allow you to hide your real IP address so the app or site can’t detect where you’re actually from. While testing the VPNs for MLB.TV, there were many things we took into consideration.

One of the most important factors was how trustworthy the VPNs are. Another thing we considered was how fast the VPNs are.

The number of servers was an important factor as well. The larger the server network, the easier it’ll be for you to find a location where your game isn’t restricted.

The next thing we looked at was the advanced security features the VPNs have. And finally, we looked at the prices of our best MLB.TV VPNs to make sure they’re affordable. .

With that being said, here are the top 3 VPNs for MLB.TV:

  1. NordVPN – Best VPN for avoiding MLB blackouts in 2023
  2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN for watching MLB games
  3. Surfshark – Most affordable VPN for MLB.TV

1. NordVPN

NordVPN
Review 2022
1

9.6

/10

NordVPN
Pros & cons
  • Fast speeds for uninterrupted MLB streaming
  • Over 5000 servers 
  • SmartPlay for watching MLB games on streaming devices
  • No free trial for desktop and iOS

NordVPN is the best VPN to use for bypassing MLB blackouts. Its NordLynx protocol gives fast speeds and it has over 3000 servers so you can easily find one in a region where your favorite MLB games aren’t blacked out.

Location Panama
Number of servers 5000+ in 59 countries
Price (yearly) $4.49 per month

You can use NordVPN on any device you want as it has a native app for desktop, smartphones, streaming devices and routers. In case you have a streaming device that doesn’t support the app, you can use its “SmartPlay” feature to configure the DNS settings of the device.

You can get NordVPN’s yearly package with a 30-day money-back guarantee for $4.49 per month.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN
Review 2022
1

9.7

/10

ExpressVPN
Pros & cons
  • Lightway protocol for fast speed while watching MLB
  • MediaStreamer for running VPN on incompatible streaming devices
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is another great VPN for MLB.TV. Owing to its proprietary protocol Lightway, you’ll get incredibly fast speeds and it has a native app for all major platforms. You can use its Smart DNS feature MediaStreamer to install it on streaming devices that don’t have the app.

Location  The British Virgin Islands
Number of servers 3000+ in 94 countries
Price (yearly) $6.67 per month

In our tests, all of ExpressVPN’s servers in the US worked with MLB and we were able to watch games in HD without any buffering.

Unlike NordVPN, ExpressVPN has a trial version on both Android and iOS, so you can try the app on either device and see if you enjoy using it. You can get the yearly package for $6.67 per month.

3. Surfshark

Surfshark
Review 2022
1

9.2

/10

Surfshark
Pros & cons
  • GPS override makes it harder for MLB to detect actual location
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Cheaper than NordVPN and ExpressVPN
  • Smart DNS may not always work

Surfshark is the most affordable VPN on this list that you can use to bypass MLB blackouts. It can be used on an unlimited number of devices and it has pretty much all the features that are present in NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Location  The Netherlands
Number of servers 3200+ in 100 countries
Price (yearly) $3.99 per month

The Smart DNS feature might not always work, though, so it’s not the best VPN to be used on incompatible streaming devices and since it doesn’t have a router app, you’ll have to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to use it on Chromecast and Roku. Thanks to its GPS override feature, though, it’s a much better option than ExpressVPN or NordVPN for Android.

You can buy Surfshark’s yearly subscription for $3.99 per month. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

MLB blackout map: Which teams are you blacked out from?

If you want to know what teams are blacked out in your region, you can use the MLB zip tool. Alternatively, you can look at the MLB blackout map below:

MLB.TV blackout map. (Source:wikipedia.org)

Areas with only one team blackouts are solid colors and the striped areas are where multiple teams have blackout rights. Iowa has the highest number of MLB blackouts, with six teams having the right to not have their games streamed.

The map may not be the best way to see if a team is blacked out in your region since the list tends to update with every season. We recommend using the zip lookup tool on MLB’s site to get the most accurate results.

Just enter the zip code of the area where you suspect your team might be blacked out and hit enter. You’ll see a list of teams that are blacked out in that particular region.

Use the zip code lookup tool on the MLB site to see which teams you’re blacked out from.

MLB tv not working with VPN

It’s quite common for a VPN to stop working with any app or site, so don’t fret if you run into any problem while trying to access MLB.TV. There’s a possibility that MLB has detected you’re using a VPN and has blocked your (fake) IP address. You can circumvent this by clearing your cache and cookies, and connecting to a new server.

Connecting to a new server will refresh your IP address and you’ll be able to access the site again. Another solution is to get a dedicated IP address with your VPN for an additional fee. A dedicated IP address will only be used by you which is why it won’t raise any alarms.

If you’re on a smartphone, then make sure your location services are turned off and you haven’t given the app access to your location data. On Android, use Surfshark’s GPS override feature to alter your GPS coordinates. Not all VPNs have a GPS override feature, so Surfshark may be your best bet if you use an Android.

If the problem persists, you can try getting in touch with your VPN’s customer support. Ask them which servers work with blacked out MLB games and they’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Can I use a free VPN to avoid blackout games?

Yes, you can use a free VPN to avoid MLB blackouts, but we don’t recommend it. Most free VPNs aren’t actually free and they make money by selling your data to advertisers and other third parties. They’re also not as secure so your data will be more vulnerable.

Most free VPNs don’t have all the security features that premium ones do. In fact, they won’t even let you connect to all their servers, which will limit your chances of finding one in a region where an MLB game isn’t blacked out. Not having access to all advanced security features will also make it difficult for you to truly protect your online traffic.

We recommend using a premium VPN like NordVPN to avoid MLB blackouts. NordVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and even has a free 7-day trial version on Android. If you’re not an Android user, you can try ExpressVPN as it has a free 7-day trial version on both Android and iOS.

Both VPNs have a large server network and have tons of great security features to make sure you can enjoy your MLB games without any problem. If you’re not satisfied with the performance of either VPN, you can ask for a refund within 30 days of the purchase.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can use a VPN to watch blacked out MLB games. A VPN will alter your IP address and connect you to a nearby server where the MLB games aren’t blacked out. You can constantly refresh your IP address to avoid getting blocked from the MLB site.

NordVPN is the best VPN for MLB.TV. We tested quite a large number of VPNs to see which ones work best with MLB and found that NordVPN gives the best security, speed, and features. It has over 5000 servers in 59 countries. You can get the yearly package for just $4.49 per month.

Yes, VPNs are the best way to circumvent MLB blackouts. You can use a VPN to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts as well. The best VPNs for blacked out games mask your IP address to make it appear as if you’re in a region where it’s not restricted. The MLB site detects your location through your IP address, but since the VPN has hidden it, the site won’t be able to figure out where you are.