How to Watch the NBA Without a Cable Subscription

John Bennet Last Updated by John Bennet on September 28, 2020

I’m a huge fan of the NBA, but it’s difficult to follow the season while moving around Europe. When I searched for the best platforms to watch the NBA 2020 from outside the supported countries, I found outdated or unofficial streams on web pages hosting malware or annoying ads.

After hours of research, I put this list of official NBA broadcasters together so you don’t have to waste time searching for a working sports stream. Since some of these platforms only work in certain countries, you’ll need to use a VPN to bypass regional blocks.

I tested over 20 of the best VPNs and narrowed them down to the 3 best options for watching the NBA online without a cable subscription. ExpressVPN is my top pick for its highly responsive servers that offer lag-free and high-quality streams. You can check it out for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

Try ExpressVPN for free for 30 days

Quick Guide: 3 Easy Steps to Watch the NBA Without Cable

  1. Get a VPN. ExpressVPN has super-responsive servers for watching the highest-quality NBA online streams.
  2. Connect to a server. Select a server where your preferred streaming service is located. I recommend the US as most of the official streaming broadcasters are based there.
  3. Sign up for an International NBA League Pass for access around the world. You can also watch the NBA live online with any of the other streaming services listed below.

Watch the NBA online with ExpressVPN

Top Alternatives to a Cable Subscription for Watching the NBA

With a quality VPN and a good streaming service, you can easily watch the NBA online without a cable subscription.

Keep in mind that many of these services are based in the US or Canada, so you may need access to a local credit card or PayPal account. You can easily get a gift card from MyGiftCardSupply.com to pay for some of the services (including Sling TV and Hulu).

  • NBA League Pass (Worldwide) – This is your best option for cutting the cord and streaming all NBA games online. If you choose the International League Pass, you won’t be impacted by blackout restrictions on the US League Pass. It’s also possible to find a cheaper plan that you can use with your preferred payment method. There’s a 7-day free trial for both plans that you can try before signing up.
  • AT&T TV Now (US) – The lowest priced plan offers 45+ channels including ABC, ESPN, and NBC for extensive NBA coverage.
  • DAZN (Germany and Italy) – One of the most affordable plans with NBA streaming and other global sports events.
  • fuboTV (US) – A pricier plan that gives you access to all NBA content from the Playoffs to the Finals. This includes NBA TV for quality post-game coverage.
  • Hulu + Live TV (US) – A massive range of national US and smaller regional networks. You can try it for free for 7 days.
  • Sling TV (US) – If you’re a die-hard fan of just one team, the Team Pass is an affordable choice. The NBA League Pass gives you access to all games from the pre-season to the Playoffs. Sling’s Orange plan also includes TNT and ESPN, while Blue includes TNT and NBC.
  • Sportsnet NOW (Canada) – The second cheapest plan on this list with coverage of the NBA, NHL, NFL, UFC, MLB, and more.
  • TSN Direct (US and Canada) – The lowest cost per month with access to the NBA and a wide range of other global sports.
  • YouTube TV (US) – A mix of sports and regular broadcasting, but this variety comes at a high price. Try the 7-day free trial before subscribing.

Watch the NBA online with ExpressVPN

Why You Need a VPN to Watch the NBA Without a Cable Subscription

Getting access to a high-quality NBA stream from outside the US can be extremely difficult – or just unnecessarily expensive. I tested the streaming services listed above from my location in Europe, and most of the pages didn’t load at all due to licensing restrictions. Those that did just showed me location errors (besides the League Pass which is available globally). Unless you already live in the US or Canada, you’ll face the same problem.

If you try using free unlicensed streams, you’ll likely run into several issues. The pages they’re hosted on are often infected with malware and irritating ads, putting your device in danger and creating a bad streaming experience. Even worse: these streams are sometimes taken offline in the middle of a game!

With a VPN, you can access streams from any provider from anywhere in the world. A VPN tricks services into thinking you’re in a different country, allowing you to buy a subscription and watch without restrictions!

Even if you’re in a country that has access to one of these services, you can connect to a VPN server in a different country and possibly get a better deal. When I connected to a US server, I was shocked by instant 50% savings compared to the UK’s NBA League Pass pricing!

Screenshot of ExpressVPN connected to a US server with a cheaper price on the NBA League Pass compared to a more expensive UK plan.

I was able to save nearly 50% by simply connecting to NBA.com with a US VPN connection

Watch the NBA online with ExpressVPN

3 Best VPNs to Watch the NBA in October 2020

1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Watching the NBA Online With No Lag

Key Features:

  • 3,000+ global servers with 700+ in the US to reliably unblock NBA live streams
  • Highly responsive servers with no buffering while streaming
  • Watch NBA games on up to 5 devices at once
  • 24/7 email and live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for watching the NBA online without a cable subscription, thanks to its zero-lag server network. With these highly responsive servers, I could easily unblock NBA League Pass, Sling TV, DAZN, and more for high-quality NBA streams.

Getting started with ExpressVPN is simple – just search for a country and double-click to get connected. For me, all servers connected in less than 6 seconds, with nearby servers taking just 2 seconds! ExpressVPN’s servers are tuned to be high-performing, best demonstrated by the extremely low buffering times I got while testing the NBA streams.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN unblocking Hulu US and playing Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

I was able to watch the NBA buffer-free with ExpressVPN

Besides being extremely responsive, ExpressVPN is super fast. This allows you to watch games in the highest possible quality without slowing down your other online activity. While servers close to me reached 137Mbps, even the distant New York servers (13,000 km+ away!) hit 126Mbps! These consistently high speeds meant I didn’t have to adjust my internet usage at all – I could stream, browse, and download large files simultaneously without lag.

You can try ExpressVPN to watch NBA games online for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. To check this policy, I signed up for 1-month and then got in touch with an agent through the 24/7 live chat. While many VPN reps are pushy to keep you as a customer, ExpressVPN has a no questions asked policy! They immediately approved my request and the whole process took less than 5 minutes. The money was back in my account in just 5 days. If you use PayPal, you can get it back within a couple of hours!

ExpressVPN unblocks: Hulu, DAZN, Fox Sports, beIN Sports, BT Sport, YouTube TV, Sling TV, NBC Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC Sport, Sky Go, AT&T TV, and more.

ExpressVPN works with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Kodi, Linux, Android TV, Fire TV, various smart TVs, select routers, and more.

Watch the NBA online with ExpressVPN

October 2020 Update: ExpressVPN has dropped prices so you can save up to 49%! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more deal information here.

2. NordVPN – Fast Speeds for High-Resolution NBA Streams

Key Features:

  • 5,400+ servers and 1,700+ in the US to reliably unblock NBA live streams
  • High speeds to watch the NBA online in full HD
  • Watch NBA streams on up to 6 devices simultaneously
  • 24/7 customer support through live chat or email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

I was extremely impressed by NordVPN’s super-fast speeds, making it a class-leading VPN for live streaming NBA games. In my tests, I reached surprisingly high speeds of 171Mbps with a Wichita server and 186Mbps with a Montreal connection, even though I’m across the world. You’ll be able to watch all games in the highest resolution without worrying about slowdowns. Although some VPNs severely limit your bandwidth and get in the way of normal browsing or downloading, NordVPN doesn’t slow down any of your online activity while you multitask.

Screenshots of NordVPN speed test results while connected to servers in the US, Canada, UK, and Germany.

I was impressed that all of NordVPN’s servers reached at least 170Mbps!

You also won’t need to wait around while your game is underway, as NordVPN connects you to its servers extremely quickly. Most of the servers I tested – US, UK, and Germany – connected in 5 seconds or less, while Canada took an average of 9 seconds.

NordVPN gives you access to numerous streaming platforms from anywhere with its integrated SmartPlay technology (which relies on a frequently updated pool of global IP and DNS addresses). You’ll have no problem accessing multiple NBA broadcasters so you can avoid dealing with annoying errors!

You can try NordVPN’s reliable servers to unblock streams for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I signed up for a month to test NordVPN’s features, and then requested a refund from support via live chat. The agent asked if I needed any technical help that could convince me to stay (unlike ExpressVPN’s no questions asked policy), but when I confirmed the refund they immediately approved it. I had the money back in my account the following week.

NordVPN unblocks: Hulu, DAZN, Fox Sports, beIN Sports, BT Sport, YouTube TV, Sling TV, NBC Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC Sport, Sky Go, and more.

NordVPN works with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Kodi, Android TV, Fire TV, select routers, and more.

Watch the NBA online with NordVPN

3. CyberGhost – Dedicated Streaming Servers to Watch the NBA From Anywhere

Key Features:

  • 6,200+ servers and 1,000+ in the US to reliably unblock NBA live streams
  • 4 optimized high-speed sports streaming servers
  • Watch NBA games on up to 7 devices simultaneously
  • Customer support available through live chat or email
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost has dedicated streaming servers highly optimized for reliable access to numerous streaming services. You’ll easily be able to unblock the NBA and follow every basket with CyberGhost’s servers for Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, and ESPN. Keep in mind that CyberGhost’s regular servers can also be used for streaming, but may not be as reliable for unblocking the NBA.

It’s super simple to unblock sports streaming services to watch the NBA with CyberGhost

I reached a minimum of 151Mbps with CyberGhost’s distant New York server and 168Mbps from London. These speeds are perfect for multitasking – you’ll have no problems streaming games in full HD (or even 4K where supported) while simultaneously downloading or browsing.

CyberGhost also supports up to 7 devices, so you can catch every layup and 3-pointer anywhere you go. I connected 2 PCs, a Fire Stick 4K, an Android phone, a MacBook, and an iPad with no impact on speeds or stream quality!

You can try CyberGhost’s dedicated sports streaming server for free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. This gives you plenty of time to check out the VPN’s ability to stream the NBA before you subscribe. To verify the policy, I signed up for a monthly plan and contacted customer support through 24/7 live chat. After the agent attempted to get me to reconsider my cancellation, I explained I just wanted the refund and my request was approved. Even though I paid via credit card, I had the money back in my account in just 3 days!

CyberGhost unblocks: Hulu, DAZN, Fox Sports, beIN Sports, BT Sport, YouTube TV, Sling TV, NBC Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC Sport, and more.

CyberGhost works with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Fire TV, Apple TV, Kodi, various Smart TVs, select routers, and more.

Watch the NBA online with CyberGhost

Using a Free VPN to Watch the NBA Without Cable Isn’t a Good Idea – Here’s Why

I’ve done extensive testing on some of the top free VPNs on the market. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend any for watching the NBA online due to their extensive technical and security issues.

Free VPNs are bad options for streaming video as they have extremely limited bandwidth and speeds as well as small server networks. This leads to overcrowded servers and low-quality streams since servers can’t allocate enough resources to help you get a stable connection. You’ll likely have issues unblocking streaming platforms too as a limited amount of IP and DNS addresses aren’t quickly replaced when a service blocks them.

You can bypass all of these problems by getting a quality premium VPN with a money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN’s fast, large, and secure network makes it the perfect VPN for watching the NBA online. Sign up today and try it for free for 30 days with its “no questions asked” money-back guarantee.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN live chat refund being processed

I got my refund approved almost immediately and had the money back just 5 days later

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days!

Common FAQs About the NBA (and VPNs)

🤑 Can I watch the 2020 NBA season online for free?

No, there aren’t any official free online NBA broadcasters, but you can check the list of streaming providers to find one with a free trial. All of my recommended VPNs also have money-back guarantees of 30 days or more. If you combine them, you can get easy access to more than 100 games with no risk.

You can check out ExpressVPN’s high-performance network and watch the NBA for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I also recommend that you connect to VPN servers in other countries (if the streaming service supports multiple countries) to find the cheapest available price.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days!

😎 Will ABC, ESPN, or TNT stream the NBA 2020?

Yes, all 3 channels will be streaming the NBA 2020 season. You can find them on the various streaming platforms listed above, including Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and Hulu + Live TV. However, I recommend the official NBA League Pass for the best NBA viewing experience – it offers 4 games in split screen, mobile viewing, and high-resolution live streams and replays.

Start watching the NBA with ExpressVPN

🤩 Can I livestream the NBA from specific countries?

Yes, the NBA offers streams and commentary from various countries and languages around the world. You can read the full list of recommended streaming options above or read on for a country-specific breakdown (without the official League Pass):

Country Streaming Service
US
  • DAZN
  • DirecTV Now
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu + Live TV
  • Sling TV
  • Sportsnet
  • TSN Direct
  • YouTube TV
Australia
  • ESPN (also accessible through the Fetch or Foxtel
  • Go apps if you have an Optus or Foxtel subscription but requires an Australian phone number)
  • NBA TV
  • SBS (limited games)
Canada
  • RDS (French language)
  • Sportsnet
  • TSN Direct
France
  • beIN SPORTS
Germany
  • DAZN
  • NBA TV
  • Spox.com (limited games)
Italy
  • DAZN
UK
  • Sky Sports (via the Now TV app)

Watch the NBA with ExpressVPN

Don’t Miss a Single Buzzer Beater and Watch the NBA Online From Anywhere!

The NBA 2020 season has heart-stopping moments, as the teams slam, juke, and shoot their way to victory and the NBA Finals. With every play potentially being a game-changing one, it’s important that you use a VPN that prioritizes speed and performance.

Due to its high speeds and extremely responsive servers, ExpressVPN is my #1 choice for watching the NBA 2020 season. It’s proven to bypass geoblocks for sporting events and geo-restricted streams around the world every single time. You can even use it to get access to many other sporting events including the NFL, NHL, and the Premier League.

See for yourself – try ExpressVPN for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. The refund policy is no questions asked (I’ve tested it myself) so you have zero risk for signing up!

Watch NBA 2020 with ExpressVPN!

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John Bennet
John Bennet is an experienced data and communications engineer and cross-platform copy and content writer and editor with a keen interest in cybersecurity. He has been working with and researching, VPNs and other online privacy tools for many years.