Watch ESPN UK – How to Watch ESPN in UK – 2018 Solution

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Updated: January 1st, 2018
* This Solution STILL WORKS to watch ESPN in the UK * 

As huge a service as ESPN is - they still do not allow total access to their library of sport streams to those of us located in the UK.

All good! This solution is still completely effective. So to unblock Watch ESPN in the UK, do the following steps right now: 

  1. Start with getting a VPN account setup
  2. Install VPN software onto the device(s) you want to Watch ESPN in the UK on.
  3. Once installed, open the VPN software and connect to a US-based server.
  4. Go to ESPN and subscribe to the streaming channels you want to watch.
  5. Enjoy watching ESPN in the UK.

Maximum time to complete this guide: 5 minutes

How to watch ESPN in UK

in more detail:

NOTE: The solution for this problem I recommend is to use a VPN. I have researched and reviewed a huge amount of VPN service providers and decided on using ExpressVPN for this guide. You can check out this VPN by clicking below:

ESPN. The home of sports. I honestly can't get enough of just vegging out on my sofa and watching some ESPN classics. I can guess that you have a similar affection for this channel, and have run into the exact same issue I'm about to describe!

I arrived in Scotland, got to my buddy's apartment and settled into his sofa with my laptop hooked up to his Chromecast for the big screen experience. Ready to watch some ESPN UK live streams...

Denied! I was swiftly told by ESPN that I could not stream any media from my WatchESPN subscription, because of my "outside the US" location. 

So I frantically went ahead and researched why this was happening, and more important how WatchESPN was managing to figure out that I was trying to access the service from outside the US.

I quickly figured out what was happening, and then realised a solution that works 100% -- only taking me 5 minutes to setup. Thus, I figured it was worth writing up a quick article to describe this solution, to help others having trouble with how to watch ESPN in the UK like myself. Enjoy!

Why is Watch ESPN not Available in the UK?

The reason ESPN does not allow anyone to access their online streaming services in the UK (or anywhere outside the US) is because ESPN have made agreements on "distribution" with the owners of each media stream they offer.

These distribution agreements mean that ESPN have to make sure that only users within the US can access the service, otherwise if anyone could access the service anywhere in the world then ESPN would be breaking the distribution agreements they made with each media provider. 

Most importantly, after I found out this, was understanding how ESPN was managing to know where I am located at the time I access the online service. So let's take a look at that before we check out the solution...

How is Watch ESPN Blocking Access in  the UK?

Understanding how ESPN is technically able to figure out where you are located when you try to access the service, makes it very easy to understand what you need to do to get past this block. The solution I lay out below makes perfect sense by understanding this.

So the way that ESPN blocks access from European users, is by using a process called "geo-blocking". This process is essentially a 'front door' implemented on the service that checks the IP address of every single user that accesses the service.

This geo-blocking front door gets a user's IP address and can then determine the exact location of that user through it. 

The user's IP address is then checked against an internal checker to see if it is a US-based IP address or a non-US based one. So when you are trying to access the service from Europe, ESPN will know you are, based on your IP address.

Therefore, if you are able to somehow change your IP address from your real European-based one to one based inside the US, like a New York based IP address; then ESPN will check it and give you immediate and full access to your ESPN subscription. 

I did a lot of research and quickly realised that the best way to change your IP address safely, securely, legally and quickly, is by using what's called a Virtual Private Network (or a VPN, for short).

So here's my step-by-step guide on how to set this up super quick...

How to Use a VPN to get Watch ESPN UK Unblocked

Step 1: Sign up for VPN

First thing you want to do is sign up for a VPN service that best suits your circumstance and budget. 

I personally checked and tried out a huuuuge amount of VPNs currently available and settled on ExpressVPN, because it suited my budget for the best value. Therefore I'll use this VPN as an example while I walk through this setup guide. 

Go to, pick your plan, confirm payment and your account details, then you're ready for the next step. Here's a glimpse at the setup process with ExpressVPN:

expressVPN website

The site is super easy to navigate. Should you want to check out the most important information, like how the service works - what level of access they give (including Watch ESPN UK unblocking, of course) - and how the software actually works on your device; it's all there and easy to read through. 

expressvpn pricing

As you can see, you have three options for pricing plans to choose from. These are based on the level of commitment you want to make. I.e. if you don't want to commit to 6 months of using the software, then you pay a little extra and just roll month-by-month. 

expressvpn payment options

What is great about ExpressVPN is the free trial period they offer. Regardless of which plan you decide to go with - you will have a 30 day money back guarantee the moment you sign up. This is awesome and let's you see how consistently this software lets you unblock Watch ESPN in UK before committing longterm to using the VPN.

Once you have chosen your price plan, you will quickly setup your account then receive an email confirming your login details. 

Next step is to go ahead and download the software!

Step 2: Download & Install VPN

Next you will be prompted by ExpressVPN to download the software onto whichever device (or multiple devices, if you plan to get Watch ESPN UK unblocked via your smartphone, laptop, smartTV, etc) which is super simple as  you are automatically redirected to the download links:


Once you click on the correct download link for the device you're using, you will be prompted automatically to install the software. This is like any software install your device. Simply breeze through the steps here and in a few seconds you will have the VPN software successfully installed and ready to use on your device. 

Let it automatically launch after install, pop in your login details, and you're ready to go to the most important step in this quick guide!

Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN

With your VPN now open, you will see how clean and clear the software looks. It is literally just a case of selecting the location you want to connect to the VPN through. 

This is where you want to choose to connect to a US based location, since this will change your IP address. Here's a glimpse of what the Mac ExpressVPN connect screen looks:


In my case when going though this solution to get Watch ESPN UK accessible, I also wanted to unblock the service on my Android smartphone device. So I quickly nipped to the Google Play Store on my mobile device, searched for "ExpressVPN" then went through the auto-download and install process there.

I took a couple of screen grabs to give you a quick glimpse of how the app looks on my device. Check it out:

unblock whatsapp expressvpn app 6

NOTE: As I mentioned, you will not be connecting to a London-based server location like it shows in the above screenshot. 

Why? Because this is the step in the solution that actually changes your IP address to make Watch ESPN think you're "located" within the US. So to do this you will want to choose a US-based server location from the list that ExpressVPN offer you. 

To do this, just click on the list on the app option, then click any of the multiple US-based cities they offer and hit "Connect". 

Once you're connected, that's it. You will now be technically "located" within the US, and will thus have Watch ESPN UK unblocked on your device. 

Step 4: Setup Watch ESPN Account

For me, I already had my ESPN account and subscription setup. However, if you are getting ESPN for the first time from your European location, then simply go to the site and subscribe to whichever ESPN streaming channels you want. 

This will take you just a few minutes, and once you've got that done -- go ahead and refresh your browser, make sure your connected to a US-based server on your VPN, then head on over to the ESPN service and you'll have full access. Awesome!


Thus concludes my quick guide on how to get Watch ESPN UK accessed. If you followed the steps I laid out above, you will have full access to Watch ESPN from your European location within minutes.

As mentioned, I did research and review a whole bunch of VPN service providers to make sure I was choosing the best quality one for my budget. So below I have listed the 5 best VPN services in 2017 to watch ESPN in the UK via, to give you more of a selection. Check them out:

Can I get Watch ESPN UK accessible without a VPN?

The quick answer to this is technically yes, you can do this without a VPN. 

However, the alternative option we recommend does still involve using a piece of software (very similar to a VPN) to allow you full control over your IP address. 

How to use a SmartDNS to unblock Watch ESPN in the UK

A SmartDNS service is, in many ways, identical to a VPN when it comes to how it allows your to unblock service, like to get Watch ESPN Canada unblocked, for example.

In the same way a VPN re-routes your internet connection through a private server you connect to, bypassing your ISP (Internet Service Provider) - a SmartDNS also "intercepts" your connection before it reaches your ISP, and changes your IP according to the online streaming service you want to unblock in the UK.

The difference between a VPN and a SmartDNS service provider is in how the server connection process is conducted. You see, when you connect to a VPN server you are instantly placing a huge level of encryption on your internet connection until you disconnect from the VPN. You do not get this encryption with a SmartDNS.

Why would putting encryption on your internet connection be important? 

Well, by doing this, you are protecting to privacy of all your online data (bank passwords, logins for your social media/email/messaging apps/etc) and all your online activity (the websites you visit, what you stream/download/access/etc). 

Although this is not the primary reason for you to use such software in this instance --  you just want to get a ESPN UK live stream -- it does make sense to get this awesome level of privacy protection, especially since the difference in pricing between a VPN and a SmartDNS service are the same as a cup of coffee in most cases.

I hope you found this guide useful and are now enjoying Watch ESPN in the UK securely from your current location. Any question or feedback then please go ahead and let me know in the comment section below. I'll be happy to hear from you.

Happy ESPN'ing!

Article Name
WatchESPN UK - How to Watch ESPN in UK in 2018
Very easy solution to get Watch ESPN in UK locations.
Chris Beattie

26 Answers

  1. sarah t
    November 13, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Thanks, but do you know if there is any plan to have a proper ‘espn uk’ service in the future? This workaround works fine but it’s annoying to pay for a service and not get it eveywhere!

    1. Chris Beattie
      November 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Hey Sarah! Thanks for checking out the guide. Glad to hear you’re enjoying ESPN in the UK 🙂 I wish I could answer your question with a positive “yes!” but sadly I have no idea. It most likely won’t happen for some time, since this comes down to the licensing agreements made between each sport caster and the watchESPN service. Finger’s crossed though!

  2. Fella
    November 13, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Grand! Using it to watch espn uk footy matches even though i can watch those anywhere haaha just love the american commentators. funny as hell!

  3. Ana Abrams
    December 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks! I’m glad you’re sharing this information and espn​ ​UK blocks and not just keeping it to yourself. I’m an instant fan and follower of your blog now:)

  4. Robert Howard
    December 4, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I have alway had problems trying to watch​ ​espn​ ​UK but never understood why it was blocked. Not only do you give a solution, but you also clearly explain the reason it has been blocked. Several other sites I visited before I found your post didn’t even bother to explain. Keep publishing great content. The web needs more of this!

  5. Pat
    December 4, 2017 at 12:53 am

    So you’re saying out of all the VPN services out there, they all fell short when compared to ExpressVPN. If that’s true then I wonder why so many other VPNs won’t improve their service too. With articles like this, they sure can’t expect consumers to stay in the dark for too long.

  6. Cameron Foll
    December 6, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Man I know you were pissed when you tried to watch espn​ ​UK​ ​live​ ​stream and was denied you were PISSSED!. Same thing happened to me only you found the solution before I did. Sure wish that I would have heard about this site earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time, money and headaches.

  7. Kristopher M.
    December 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    So if I install this VPN, it will be easy to uninstall if I ever wanted to right? And it won’t mess up any of my computer configurations right?

  8. Bailey
    December 24, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Reading this made me realize how hard it is to just broadcast a network such as espn UK all over the globe for that matter. With that said I having a third party software aint that bad. I mean it fills in the gap that licensing and the technical stuff creates.

  9. Avery S.
    December 24, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Sorry for asking but how does this work? At least in a PC or laptop this can be a software but TV? Unless it becomes a tangible object or whatever.

  10. Miles
    December 24, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I guess this can be a great device to Watch​ ​espn​ ​UK. Third party or not what matters is it removes restrictions even if it can be just temporary.

  11. Linda L.
    December 24, 2017 at 6:50 am

    No wonder while I was there some time ago I cannot watch a espn​ ​UK​ ​live​ ​stream, that was very disappointing at the very least. Thankfully I am back at home at the US where I can watch it any time.

  12. Robert J.
    December 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I had the same concerns as I tried out a VPN before. Hell I almost turned down a job because of it. However, upon using it fora good while now, I came to see that you can on or off the thing and it all goes back to normal. Hope this helps Kris.

  13. Patrick cooper
    December 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I do not watch a lot of espn UK to be honest or the network in general so I cannot say much. However, I have been using a similar software on my PC for years now so I know this works.

  14. Danielle
    December 24, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    An interesting point was raised on one of the comments I wonder why Express? Not that I mind because I am fine whatever brand it is. Then again it is gonna be tough to spot the differences between these since they are practically newcomers.

  15. Paulina G.
    December 26, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Thank you for posting an alternative to Watch​ ​espn​ ​UK. I have the US version but it is not bad to check now and then. Before it is blocked and now it is solved

  16. Clinton
    December 26, 2017 at 3:08 am

    I like watching the espn​ ​UK​ ​live​ ​stream I have this on my PC but not yet on my TV. I guess I could try to have my TV get this but the article does not say how. Or is this just for internet only

  17. Lizzy Ramirez
    December 26, 2017 at 3:41 am

    How do I even install this system without a tangible device at least in the article it is treated as a computer software so??? I am kinda lost here sorry.

  18. Lhexie
    December 26, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Smart DNS? Is that a new term for VPN or they are the same? Either way This seems to be a good invention and article I mean it comes with directions I like that.

  19. Larry MC
    December 26, 2017 at 7:46 am

    I know ESPN is a well known brand but to the point where people clamor for it to the extent of using another platform/device is astonishing. Then again I am no sport buff so yeah.

  20. W. Monique
    December 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I guess the shoe is in the other foot now if BBC is blocked in parts of the US, ESPN returns the favor ha ha. It shows how much money goes into this.

  21. Proctor R.
    December 26, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    This software or whatever you wanna call it is relatively new. I have one on my mobile that seems to be perfectly fine. In any case thumbs up for this product it keeps my system safe from all the bad stuff and I see its potential is far from being tapped yet.

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