The 2019 National Football (NFL) season began on September 5 with a full slate of regular season matchups, and it runs through February 2, when the AFC and NFC champs meet in the Super Bowl.
There are 32 teams in the NFL, with the lion’s share of the teams playing on Sunday afternoon, so you’ll need to decide which teams you want to watch the most.
If you’re traveling abroad during the football season, or if you’re a U.S. expat living abroad, you will find that you’re required to jump through a few hoops to watch your favorite team’s gridiron action.
In this article, I’ll share how you can live stream NFL games while abroad.
This article will include only information about viewing NFL-approved streams, which means connecting to your usual home streaming services while you’re abroad.
While there are certainly plenty of unauthorized streaming services that provide access to NFL games, there simply isn’t any reason to use them. Many of the unlicensed streams are of a low quality, they may not be available every week, and let’s face it, it’s illegal to watch them. So, we’ll be sticking to the various legal ways to view the NFL action.
What Is the Best VPN for Streaming NFL Games?
ExpressVPN is the top-performing choice for opening up access to NFL regular season and playoff games while traveling or living abroad. The provider’s reliable access to sports streaming services ensures you won’t miss one minute of the gridiron action.
ExpressVPN has thousands of servers around the globe, including numerous servers located in the United States.
ExpressVPN’s high-speed connections can easily handle the HD streams that the NFL offers. Connections are well protected with a number of security features to keep your online activities from being exposed.
Native apps are available for the iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire and Linux platforms. Firefox and Chrome browser extensions are available.
It only takes a few minutes to register and install the app, as you merely need to select a subscription length (1 month, 6 months or a year) and enter your credit card or Bitcoin payment info, then download the app.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is more than enough time to decide whether the provider is the right one for your football-viewing needs.
BEST VPN FOR VIEWING NFL GAMES FROM ABROAD:ExpressVPN is the best way to access live streams of your favorite NFL team’s games. The provider does a great job of opening access to most streaming services, while offering strong security and privacy protection.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
How to Stream NFL Games Using a VPN
Using a VPN to view your favorite NFL team online requires but a few easy steps:
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (I use and recommend ExpressVPN, but CyberGhost is an excellent option for novice VPN users, and NordVPN is an excellent option for users on a budget.)
- Download and install the provider’s VPN app on your device(s).
- Decide which of the streaming services (which we’ll discuss below) that you’d like to use. Be advised that many of the streaming services will either require you to purchase a subscription or have a cable TV or IPTV subscription. (That’s why this article is focused on U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad.)
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a server located in the U.S. or another country where an NFL game is available.
- Grab your foam finger and enjoy the game. (Team jersey optional.)
Where to Watch NFL Games Online
While the NFL is based in the United States, and that’s where most of its fan base is, the league is also popular around the globe. Fans are found in the U.K., Mexico and numerous other countries. (The NFL plays games in both London and Mexico City during the regular season.)
This means that NFL game coverage is available in multiple countries. Below, I’ll provide a country-specific guide as to how you can watch the gridiron action live.
In the United States, there are multiple options for watching the NFL, as the league’s games appear on 1 of 5 broadcast networks, all of which offer streaming services.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Monday Night Games: ESPN
- Thursday Night and Saturday Night Games: The NFL Network, FOX and Amazon Prime Video
- AFC Sunday Afternoon Games: CBS
- NFC Sunday Afternoon Games: FOX
- Sunday Night Games: NBC
There are exceptions to the above list. For instance, if a game is exclusive to ESPN or the NFL Network, it will also be available to air on a local television station in the participating team’s viewing areas.
So, if you already have a cable package, you should be able to view the game.
Users who don’t subscribe to a cable television package can subscribe to over-the-top streaming services, which should include the above networks.
YouTube TV, AT&T NOW and Sling TV are just a few of the streaming television services that include NFL games as a part of their offerings. (In some cases, you may be expected to pay an additional subscription fee for sports packages that include the NFL Network and ESPN.)
When you’re traveling abroad, games will be blocked outside of the U.S. on these services, so you will require a VPN (like ExpressVPN) to gain access to the games.
Note: While the NFL offers their NFL Game Pass streaming service, the U.S. version of the service offers only replays of the games after they are finished, so you can’t view any regular season or playoff games live. However, the international version of the service does offer live action.
British fans of American football can enjoy NFL action a few different ways.
Subscribers to the Sky service can watch all of the action live on Sky Sports. You’ll need to add the required sports channels for an extra monthly fee, but that will allow you to watch the games on the Sky Go app.
Now TV subscribers can also sign into Sky Sports, but they’ll be limited to viewing select games from the NFL season, instead of the full roster of games that Sky Sports offers.
If you don’t have a cable subscription, you can take advantage of NFL Game Pass, which provides live viewing of regular season, playoff and Super Bowl action.
BBC iPlayer is a good option if you’re simply looking for access to weekly highlights of NFL games, as they are shown on BBC2, as the Super Bowl will be. No live games are available.
If you’re a Brit traveling abroad, you’ll need to subscribe to a VPN, like ExpressVPN to gain access to the above services.
Mexico is a hotbed of NFL fandom, and the NFL has played one regular season game in Mexico City each season for the last few years.
NFL action is available in Mexico via numerous broadcasters. While Thursday night and Sunday afternoon games are available via the NFL Network, they are also available on Fox Sports Latin America. Both services allow viewers to watch with either English- or Spanish-speaking broadcasters calling the action.
Some Sunday afternoon games are shown on either Fox Sports or Televisa. Televisa shows a more limited slate of games that other services, but it’s free to watch.
ESPN Latin America shows all Sunday and Monday night games, as well as the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. ESPN offers both Spanish and English-speaking broadcasters, although the latter may only be available via ESPN3.
As with our previous countries, Mexican residents traveling outside of Mexico will need to use ExpressVPN or another quality VPN service to access these streaming services.
Access to the NFL roster of games is limited in France to two official options: W9 and beIN Sports.
W9 will only show the Super Bowl, while beIN Sports will show every game live and allow viewers to watch previous games on-demand.
Once again, if you want to access either of these streaming services from outside of France, you’ll need to subscribe to a VPN provider, like ExpressVPN or another reliable provider.
Spanish football fans will have only one in-country option for NFL action.
Movistar+ has the exclusive NFL broadcast rights in Spain. The service makes every NFL game available live via Movistar Deportes, but that means you’ll need to subscribe to both the Movistar broadband and TV packages to view anything.
Spanish citizens traveling abroad will need ExpressVPN or another VPN provider to access this content.
Asian Pacific Region
NFL Game Pass is available in much of the Asian Pacific region, and it offers all NFL regular season games, the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
However, there are spots where it is not yet available, including:
- Hong Kong
If you’re in any of the above countries, you can watch NFL Game Pass by using a VPN.
If you live in a region of the world I haven’t covered, it’s still possible that you have access to NFL action from a provider in your country.
If not, subscribe to a VPN provider to access the games from another country.
Can I Use a Free VPN to View NFL Games?
Trying to use a free VPN to view NFL games is like being a fan of the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – frustrating at best.
First off, many free VPN providers will limit your enjoyment via monthly data caps, bandwidth limitations and throttled connection speeds. None of those are the ingredients for a day-long football-viewing binge.
Plus, free VPN providers are known to make their users cool their heels in a queue before connecting to a VPN server. Once you’re allowed to connect, you might find your server options are severely limited, if you’re offered a choice at all.
In addition to those inconveniences, a “free” VPN provider carries hidden costs related to your security and privacy.
Even a free VPN provider needs to keep their lights on, so many of them make money by keeping records of their users’ online activities, then selling the info to the highest bidder. Some have also been known to insert unwanted tracking cookies and advertisements into their users’ browsing sessions.
Using a free VPN will provide about as enjoyable a viewing experience as that enjoyed by fans of the 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Yeah, they sucked that year too.)
What Else Can I Do With a VPN?
In addition to opening access to NFL games from back home when you’re abroad, a VPN is also an excellent way to view streaming services that may normally be blocked in your region of the world. It also opens access to gaming servers, websites and other services that might be blocked.
A VPN also helps prevent your Internet Service Provider from throttling your internet connection simply because you’re streaming from an “unapproved” provider or engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing.
A VPN also makes a great online security and privacy tool, as it routes your internet connection through a tunnel of encryption, preventing any outsiders from monitoring your online activities. This keeps your personal and business information safe.
A VPN subscription will allow you to view your favorite NFL teams while you’re traveling or living abroad.
A VPN – like my #1 choice, ExpressVPN – allows you to follow your favorite NFL teams on your terms, even from outside the U.S. It also protects your other online activities, while also enhancing them.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.