Updated: January 1st, 2018
BeIN Sports is a global sports channel network that is served in 11 different languages. Unfortunately, a lot of the content is exclusive to the United States. If you are traveling to the UK, you won’t be able to access UK sports content via BeIN Sports – unless you know how to setup a VPN.
This is what we show you how to do in this guide. So, to make beIN Sports UK accessible for you, go through the following steps right now:
- To do this, start by getting a VPN account setup
- Next, download then install the VPN software onto the device(s) you want to get beIN Sports on
- Open the software and connect to a server location where beIN Sports in available (e.g. a US-based server or Australia-based server)
- Then go to beIN Sports and you will full access in UK to either sign into your existing account or create a new one
How to get beIN Sports in UK
in more detail:
America is an amazing country. The land of the free and the home of the brave. It has beautiful scenery, vibrant cities, and fantastic people. Taking a gap year to travel around the US was undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made, as the trip taught me so much about myself, and the country, and even ultimately helped me to land my first job with a US company here in London.
The US is also sports-mad which is something else I loved as I grew up as a sporty teenager playing any kind of ball sport you can imagine. I was pretty good to, and like most Brits, the love of my life is football (soccer to those of you living Stateside!). To be honest, I didn’t expect to be able to watch games while I was in the US an was resigned to following the action on social media.
But that was before I found out about beIN Sports, the fantastic sports channel which shows games from almost all European Leagues plus rugby, tennis, boxing, athletics, and so on. It really made my trip to be able to see the games and their coverage was superb, so much better than what Sky Sports cobbles together in the UK.
On my return, I tried watching it only to learn it isn’t available in the UK. But with a little research, I soon discovered that by using a VPN I could still enjoy what is, in my view, the best football coverage in the world.
Why is beIN Sports not Available in the UK?
BeIN Sports has a presence in the following areas:
- The Entire Middle East
- Most of North Africa
- The United States
- Eastern Asia
- Australia and New Zealand
France is surprisingly the only European country where users can access beIN Sports. The network doesn’t have a presence in the United Kingdom.
The reason I could not get beIN Sports UK unblocked is all own to the infamous sports TV rights packages. Anyone who follows the Premier League will know that they sell their TV rights every few years for ludicrous sums of money. At the moment the rights to show games are jointly held by Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Businesses in the United Kingdom are unlikely to begin streaming content from foreign stations such as beIN Sports anytime soon, because the penalties can be severe. In 2014, Tony Blair, the owner of First National Wine Bar was fined £65,000 for streaming a video in their pub.
Blair was highly critical of the decision, stating that the streaming company wanted to make an example of him by driving him out of business.
“They didn’t like me showing the football because they’re not getting anything directly from it. I deal with legitimate suppliers. I think they’re pursuing me because I’m a sole trader. I’m one person with no money, and they want to make an example… Sixty five grand is my life. It’s a corporate day out for them,” Blair told the Liberpool Echo.
Fortunately, individual users aren’t likely to face the same challenges. For one thing, legal experts in most countries agree that using a VPN to access services such as beIN doesn’t violate any copyright laws. Even if it was a breach of contract, they likely wouldn’t draw much attention to themselves by using these services.
Having coughed up so much cash, these channels are obviously not keen on viewers being able to watch games with anyone else. beIN Sports on the other hand has the rights to broadcast games in the USA, and a few other countries, principally Australia, the Middle East, and North Africa. But if they made this coverage available on their online streaming service in the UK, they would be in breach of their rights agreement, and would properly annoy Sky and BT.
So they use a technology called geo-blocking to restrict access to their site to people who are based in the countries where they hold the rights. Everyone else gets an amusing error message.
How is beIN Sports Blocking Access in the UK?
Before we show how to watch beIN Sports in UK, it's worth understanding that geo-blocking works by reading your IP Address when you visit a site. Every internet user transmits an IP Address when they visit a site, and it reveals various bits of information about them, including where in the world they are located.
How does geoblocking work? Here is a brief overview:
- Your Internet service provider assigns an IP address to your account. This IP address is anonymised. This means that while only your ISP (and law enforcement officials, if they get a warrant) can identify you personally by your IP address, people can still identify some things about you. Every IP address is attached to the applicable ISP. The ISP also issues them in “blocks” according to customer locations.
- Every time you want to access content on the Internet, you need to send a request to the host server. When you send this request, your IP address is sent with it.
- The host server can identify your location according to your IP address. If you fall outside the regions where people are allowed to access content, they will use technological protection measures (TPM) to reroute your request to different content or show a different message.
If you try to make beIN Sport UK accessible, or unblocked in any other area where they are blocked, you will get the following message:
“Sorry! A problem occurred with the view rights in your location. Please view our FAQ page or contact customer service.”
This is their polite way of telling you to go away, because you aren’t welcome to view their content.
In fairness to beIN Sports, the service is not the only popular online media streaming service that is geo-blocking access to UK located internet users. Other major online channels are doing this, such as ABC, HBO GO and ESPN.
It is therefore pretty easy for beIN Sports to work out if you are in their catchment area, and if your IP Address indicates that you are not, they refuse to allow you access to their service.
The only way to get around this is by changing your IP Address to convince the site you are in the US even if you are not. And the best way to do this is by using a VPN.
There are several reasons that VPNs are preferable to proxies and Tor:
- Companies like beIN Sports realize that proxies are setup to access their content all the time. They are constantly monitoring new proxy lists and blocking access to them. They may work once or twice if you find them soon enough, but sooner or later they will be identified and blocked.
- The authorities carefully scrutinize people that use services such as Tor. A 2015 study had claimed that 80% of Tor users are engaging in criminal activity. While these studies have since been debunked, the stigma persists among law enforcement officials. National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies are carefully monitoring the people that access proxy lists and Tor. While they aren’t illegal, it can be miserable to be on their lists.
- If you use Tor, other people will be sharing your IP address and you may be the subject of a criminal investigation if they do anything illegal. You won’t be guilty simply for using Tor, but will have to deal with having your home searched and your computer seized.
In other words, it is legal to use Tor and proxies, but it just isn’t a good idea. You won’t have to deal with any of these problems if you use a VPN. VPNs don’t have the same kind of stigma that proxies and Tor do.
A VPN works by redirecting your internet activity via a secure connection to a third-part server. This server then connects to the site you want to visit and it is the IP Address of the server, rather than your own device, which they site sees.
These servers can be located all over the world, and therefore if you use one that is in the USA, beIN Sports will believe you are in the USA too and therefore allow you to use their service.
It’s pretty straightforward to do, as I have explained below using my pick of the VPN providers, ExpressVPN to illustrate the steps you have to take.
How to Use a VPN to Watch beIN Sports in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
The first step is to sign up for a VPN and to do this you will need to visit their website. You can connect to the ExpressVPN site using any one of the links in this article.
Once there, you will need to choose which of their subscription packages you want to sign up. Click on your preferred option and you will be taken to their payment processing section where you can follow the simple instructions to pay for your subscription.
Once you have done this, ExpressVPN will send you an email which includes a link you have to click in order to activate your account.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
With your account enabled, you will then be invited to download the ExpressVPN software. Choose the correct device and operating system from the menu you can see below and then you will see some straightforward instructions telling you how to download and then install the software.
This shouldn’t take more than a few moments and once it is complete, you will need to open the software (if it doesn’t do so automatically).
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
All that remains is for you to choose which server you want to connect to. Obviously you should choose a US-based one. It doesn’t much matter which you opt for, but generally speaking the East Coast servers will be faster in the UK than the West Coast ones.
Click on your choice and wait a few more moments while ExpressVPN makes the connection. Here is how this looks on my Android smartphone:
Step 4: Setup beIN Sports Account
If you already hold a beIN Sports subscription, then read no further, because you can now log in and access your beIN Sports account at your leisure.
If you don’t you will need to visit the beIN Sports website to subscribe. This is pretty straightforward, and at the time of writing, beIN Sports are happy to accept international Visa and MasterCard payments to make a purchase.
Once you have subscribed, the wonderful world of beIN Sport UK unblocked coverage awaits you!
So there you are. A quick an easy route to the best coverage of English and European football (soccer!) available anywhere, plus access to plenty more sports besides. Most of my mates back in the UK agree that beIN Sports easily surpasses the coverage on Sky Sports and BT Sport, and is also significantly cheaper too, even when the VPN price is taken into account.
All in all, it is a very sound investment. Do let me know any thoughts or comments you may have in the comment boxes below.
If you don’t like the look of ExpressVPN, there are of course plenty of other VPNs out there. Above you can find my pick of the top 5 to get beIN Sports UK accessible on any device you want.