watch NBA Play-In Tournament live online

The NBA Play-In Tournament is scheduled to take place from Tuesday, May 18 to Friday, May 21. It features a new format in which eight teams (four from each conference) compete for four playoff spots. Unfortunately, the NBA geo-blocks its content, meaning you won’t be able to watch this postseason tournament from just anywhere. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to watch the NBA Play-In Tournament live online.

Please note that we’re only going to be recommending official sources for streaming the NBA Play-In Tournament. Unlicensed streams of popular sporting events aren’t uncommon. However, they tend to be of far lower quality and may even be taken offline for violating copyright. There’s no need to risk missing out on the NBA Play-In Tournament because we list the highest quality, most reliable official sources further below in this post.

The NBA Play-In Tournament will only be shown on region-locked platforms. As such, if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll have to use a VPN to watch on your regular streaming services back home. 

How to watch the NBA Play-In Tournament live online with a VPN

A VPN encrypts your data and provides you with a new IP address. This in turn means you can spoof your location and access geo-restricted content such as the NBA Play-In Tournament while abroad.

Here’s how to live stream the NBA Play In Tournament from anywhere

  1. First, sign up with a VPN service. We recommend NordVPN. However, Surfshark and NordVPN are two reliable and affordable alternatives.
  2. Next, you’ll need to install and download the app for the device on which you want to live stream the NBA Play-In Tournament.
  3. Open the VPN app before connecting to a server in the location of the streaming service you’d like to unblock (such as a server in the US for accessing ESPN).
  4. Now you can go to ESPN or Sky Sports and sign in. All content should now be unblocked. We also cover the ways to watch cable-free further below.
  5. Didn’t work? You may need to clear your browser’s cookies before refreshing your browser. Another option is to connect to another server to change your IP address.

The NBA Play-In Tournament will broadcast live. For this reason, it’s a good idea to test your VPN with ESPN or Sky Sports ahead of time. If you run into any problems, you’ll then have enough time to troubleshoot the issue with your new VPN’s customer support.


NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30 day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for streaming NBA games with no restrictions for a month - perfect for watching the NBA playoffs while traveling abroad.

There are no hidden terms - just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

How to watch the NBA Play-In Tournament on US TV

US flag

In order to watch the NBA Play-In Tournament online in the US, you’ll need access to the following TV channels: ABCESPN, and TNT. If you have a US cable TV subscription that offers these channels, you can already watch at no additional cost. To watch online, all you need to do is go to the channel’s website or app and sign in using your cable TV login details.

Fortunately, it’s possible to watch all of the aforementioned channels cable-free. This requires having a subscription with a TV streaming service. Hulu + Live TV ($64.99 USD/month) and YouTube TV ($64.99 USD/month) are the only options that include all of ABC, ESPN, and TNT. AT&T TV Now ($69.99/month) and Sling TV ($35/month) offer ESPN and TNT while FuboTV ($64.99/month) has ABC and ESPN.

Whether you watch the NBA Play-In Tournament online with your cable TV subscription or via one of the TV streaming services listed above, you’ll need a VPN to live stream the matches outside of the US. This is due to copyright and licensing restrictions. By connecting to a VPN server in a US city, you’ll receive a US IP address which will allow you to unblock the content. NordVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you the chance to try it out risk-free.

Where else can I watch the NBA Play-In Tournament live online?


UK flag Union Jack

You can watch all six games of the NBA Play-In Tournament live on Sky Sports Arena. If you’re already a Sky Sports subscriber, all you need to do is sign in via the Sky Go app. Alternatively, you’ll need a Now TV subscription. A daily pass is available for a one-time payment of £9.99 while a monthly pass costs £33.99.

It’s worth keeping in mind that both Sky Go and Now TV are region-locked and only available in the UK. To access them while traveling abroad, connect to a server in the UK for a UK IP address. The content should then be unblocked in your location.



Much like in the US, NBA games in Canada are split across multiple networks: SportsnetTSN, RDS, and NBA TV. Your best bets are TSN and Sportsnet (RDS is French-language while NBA TV doesn’t offer a live stream of games). TSN costs $19.99 CAD per month while Sportsnet is a little more expensive at $27.99/month.

All of the above options are only available in Canada. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need a Canadian IP address (via a VPN server in Canada) to unblock and live stream their content.

How does the NBA Play-In Tournament work?

The new NBA Play-In Tournament sees eight teams (four from each conference) competing for the seventh and eighth seeds in the NBA playoffs. Beginning on Tuesday, May 18 and concluding on Friday, May 21, it precedes the playoffs which start on Saturday, May 22.

The teams that finish seventh and eighth in their conference will each have two opportunities to clinch a playoff spot. The teams that finish ninth and tenth each have to win two consecutive games to make the playoffs.