Updated: January 1st, 2018
**This Solution STILL WORKS to Unblock Sky Sports in USA**
Go through the steps below to get Sky Sport in USA right now:
- Start with setting up a VPN account
- Next download and install the VPN software to the device you will watch Sky Sports in USA from
- Open the software then connect to a UK-based server location
- Login to your Sky Sports account or create an account if you have not done so already
- Enjoy Sky Sports in the USA
Time to complete these steps: 4 Minutes
The VPN I recommend using for this is ExpressVPN. Check it out here.
How to watch Sky Sports in USA in more detail:
Being a UK-born and raised kid, I was always in front of the TV with my dad on Sundays catching up on all the sports of the week he missed. Sky was the channel of choice for basically the entire day (much to my mum's dismay!), To say Sky Sports is a channel close to my heart is an understatement.
So to when I moved to the US for work last year, I took as many home comforts as I could to keep any home-sickness pangs at bay as much as possible. Thus, on the very first lazy Sunday I had once I was all setup in my NYC apartment, I went ahead and opened up my laptop to login to my beloved online Sky Sports account and catch up like always.
However, this time was not like any time before, because upon trying to access Sky Sports I was immediately denied and told that Sky Sports was not available in my location. Got this Sky error 288 thing. I was devastated!
Yup, it just so happens that even Sky Sports' online streaming does not allow quite a lot of their videos to be streamed in the USA. I was not expecting this, so was in no mood to be defeated. It was time to find a solution!
And find a solution I did. Thus, to help anyone else out there who also wants to know how to watch Sky Sports in USA without any restrictions, I decided to put together a quick guide of the solution I figured out.
Why is Sky Sports Not Available in USA?
So the first thing I looked into for this issue was why Sky Sports was blocking USA access to certain content on their service, as I figured this would help me find the best solution.
It took a little searching, but I discovered that the blocks on content come from the licensing rights that Sky Sports acquire for each sporting event they offer users access to on the service. You see, in order to offer each piece of content, Sky Sports have to physically purchase licensing rights to do so, every time.
These licensing rights are also only purchased individually for each country. So when Sky Sports offer a stream to users accessing the service from multiple countries, this means that Sky Sports have purchased licensing rights for each and every one of those countries.
Thus, when you try to get Sky Sport USA unblocked but are not granted access, this means that Sky Sports did not acquire licensing rights to let users in the USA watch that specific stream. This process of licensing rights issue is the same reason that many other online streaming services are restricted around the globe. Such other common (frustrating!) examples of media streaming services being blocked include BBC iPlayer in USA and Eurosport in USA.
How is Sky Sports Blocking Access in USA?
Understanding the reason why you get blocked or shown that sky error 288 was one thing, but now it was time to get to the bottom of how, like, technically, Sky Sports was implementing the content blocks on their service.
After researching other media streaming providers and how such services employ blocks like Sky Sports do, I quickly discovered that a process known as "geo-blocking" was being used.
This process acts essentially like a cat flap on Sky Sports service. So for example, if you try to access a video on Sky Sports and you're located in the UK at that moment -- plus -- the video has only been licensed to be offered to users in the UK; you will get access instantly. However, if you are located in the US at that same moment and try to access the very same video stream; you will be denied and presented with the "sorry" text. I.e. the cat flap will not open for you.
This "cat flap" process of geo-blocking works by checking the IP address of every user the moment they arrive on the website. From each user's current IP address, their physical location is determined and used to allow or prevent access to Sky Sports' content appropriately.
Realising how this works helped me to decide on the best solution that would work most securely and effectively. I set to research the various ways one can change their IP address to make their location "appear" in whatever location they need to "appear" within to get access to the Sky Sports content that's blocked.
After checking out all the options of SmartDNS/Proxy/etc, I determined the most beneficial and sophisticated approach to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
I won't bore you with the ins and outs of how a VPN works. The most important functionality of a VPN for this solution in particular is that this software allows you to fully control the IP address of whatever device you might be using to access the internet (i.e. your smartphone, laptop, iPad, smartTV, etc.)
This is feature that you want, since you will want to change your device IP address to a UK-based location, as this will make you "appear" inside the UK to Sky Sports when you next access the service.
There are a lot of VPN providers around, so I personally reviewed the most reputable ones and settled on ExpressVPN for this solution. So I will reference it as the example while I walk through the setup steps below.
How to Use a VPN to Watch Sky Sports USA
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
Head over to ExpressVPN's website and choose the plan that best fits your budget and needs. You'll then be prompted to choose a payment method. Once you've done this, confirm your new account details via email.
What's great about ExpressVPN, and 99% of VPN providers, is that when you first join you get 30 days essentially free (money back guarantee) if you don't like the service.
They have a nice, simple website layout that makes it simple and quick to get your account setup with them.
On the pricing plans page you will want to choose a plan to suits your personal budget/commitment preference and then confirm your account.
Upon confirming account details, you will see a link to the download area in that email. Click on it and you'll be automatically directed there to download the VPN software...
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
In the download are you'll see that there are individual download links specifically for whatever device(s) you plan to use the VPN on. So for me, I like to watch Sky Sports on both my Macbook and Android smartphone.
This meant downloading the OS X software, which was automatically highlighted by ExpressVPN for me. Then on my Android device I went to the Google Play Store and downloaded+installed the dedicated app thereon:
Installing is as simple as any software install. Simply open the downloaded file then follow the few steps as guided. This whole installation process takes literally a few seconds.
With the software installed on your device, you will then be asked if you want to launch the VPN right away. Do this, and you'll be ready to move onto the next step in the process...
Step 3: Connect to UK-based Server on VPN
Now comes the all important step in the process. Go ahead and open up the VPN software once it's installed, then you will be asked to select a location to connect to the VPN through.
Here's where you will be choosing what your IP address will change to, so select a UK-based server location and hit "Connect".
To give you an idea of how the software actually looks on your devices, I went ahead and downloaded it to my Macbook and launched it.
Check out the screenshot below to see just how simple and untechnical it is to use:
Pretty easy, right? You just choose one of the many UK-based server locations they have listed, then click connect. Wait a few moments, then you are successfully on a UK-based server; with your device's IP address now showing your location as within Britain. Awesome!
What's also great about using ExpressVPN for this is how much work they put in to making their software easy to use regardless of what device you want to use it on.
For example, I also wanted to get Sky Sport USA unblocked on my Android smartphone. All I needed to do was go to the Google Play Store and download + install the app from there. Easy.
Here is how the connection process looks on my actual Android device:
Step 4: Setup Sky Sports Account
Once you've connected to the VPN on a UK-based server, you will have successfully changed your IP address to reflect this. Good job!
Now, when you head to the Sky Sports website and choose to watch that video that was just minutes ago totally blocked to you because of your USA location -- you will have full access. No more sky error 288!
You may need to create a Sky Sports account at this point to sign into the service, depending on the media you want to watch. This is simply a case of filling in some general info; takes just a second.
Thus concludes a super quick step-by-step guide on how to watch Sky Sports in USA locations in less than 5 minutes. I hope you found the guide useful, and if you went through the steps as laid out you are now enjoying a completely unblocked and accessible Sky Sports from the comfort of your US location.
As mentioned earlier in this guide, I personally reviewed many VPN service providers before settling on ExpressVPN. So to give you some more options, here are the top 4 VPN providers I found that work best to watch Sky Sports in USA locations:
It is worth mentioning that using a SmartDNS does give you the option to access Sky Sports in the USA, however the success of doing this varies wildly from each different SmartDNS service provider.
Also, the level of privacy protection you get on your device the moment you are connected to a VPN is a great bonus to have to protect your data and online activity. A SmartDNS gives you zero encryption and thus none of your online behaviour is privacy protected.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments at all, then let me know in the comments section below and I'll be happy to help you out when I can.
Happy Sky Sport'ing!