Some of these professional and college sports teams are subject to blackout restrictions if you are not able to watch them on their regional cable-only sports networks. However, local channels such as CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX can be viewed with an antenna without restriction.
|Team||League||Regional Sports Network||Subject to Blackouts?|
|Chicago Bears||NFL||FOX||Not usually|
|Chicago Blackhawks||NHL||NBC Sports Chicago||Typically, Yes|
|Chicago Bulls||NBA||NBC Sports Chicago||Typically, Yes|
|Chicago Fire||MLS||FS1||Not usually|
|Chicago White Sox||MLB||NBC Sports Chicago||Typically, Yes|
|Chicago Cubs||MLB||NBC Sports Chicago||Typically, Yes|
|Northwestern Wildcats||NCAA||BTN||Not usually|
One of the top reasons families don't cut the cord sooner is because of an unfounded fear that they simply can't watch their favorite sports teams anymore. This is untrue, and with a little bit of help from us, we can walk you through it pretty easily.
If your teams have games on channels like CBS, NBC, FOX or ABC, you'll likely be able to get them with an inexpensive TV antenna. Regional sports networks and Cable-only channels present a slightly more complex problem, but with the multitude of streaming services available online today, the solution is more than manageable for anyone, no matter their technical savvy. Click on each team above to research the best ways to watch those respective teams' games.
Some sports (NHL, NBA, MLB) will black out their games for local viewers unless you are watching on their Regional Sports Network. Anyone that tries to stream games while inside this "local viewing area" are subject to blackouts (i.e. the game is on, but you can't watch it).
Luckily, there is a way for those of us that want to cut the cord, yet can't live without our local sports teams, regardless of blackout status. By using a VPN - or virtual private network - your home's exact location is masked. Teams then cannot determine if you are within their blackout "range", thus allowing you to watch whatever sports team you want.
Our favorite VPN service — and one of the most respected — is ExpressVPN. I personally use ExpressVPN, so I can vouch that they work for this exact use-case.
A VPN hides where you actually are on the internet. After purchasing their service, you get an IP address that is registered from some far-away place (think Germany, Italy or Seattle), and that IP is either entered into your home internet broadband router or via their downloaded "VPN app". This IP address acts as a disguise to the various major sports teams that attempt to "blackout" their streaming services for those of us that can simply watch it on our TVs or computers.