The NFL GamePass has launched in the US. Here's why you'll still want the international version (and how to get it).

For some time now there have been rumblings that the much be-loved NFL GamePass service would be coming to the US. This was great news because up until this point, the only way to get unfettered access to the games of your choice has been to buy an expensive dish or cable package. Well today the wait is over: GamePass is available in the US, with a 7-day trial, and for only $99. There is one big issue though: regular season games can't be watched live

Sports is a time-sensitive thing. Unlike a TV series, no one is going back and watching a season from the 80s that they haven't seen before. Sure a couple of hours isn't that extreme but when you need to wait to watch the game, you become that weird guy that tells people not to spoil it because you have the game DVRed. Unless you're being forced to go to a cocktail party with your significant other against your will, there's no excuse for watching a game on a tape delay.

Don't worry though. You may not be aware, but the NFL GamePass is not a new product. It's been available overseas for a few years. And unlike here, the NFL isn't forced to bend over backwards to please the local broadcasters. The international GamePass will let you watch games live.

Here are the bullet points for the US version. Notice all those regular season games are on-demand.

Here are the bullet points for the US version. Notice all those regular season games are on-demand.

Now check out the international plans. They're more expensive, but you get live access to everything. Depending on how your OTA reception is, you can probably skip the plus package since playoff games and the Superbowl games are easier to find.

Now check out the international plans. They're more expensive, but you get live access to everything. Depending on how your OTA reception is, you can probably skip the plus package since playoff games and the Superbowl games are easier to find.

And here's one final screenshot that will seal the deal:

You can have four feeds running at once, and can swap them in and out as easily as clicking and dragging them in.

How to get it

Therein lies the problem: the international version, by definition, isn't available in the US. So to get it, we just need to convince the NFL that we aren't in the US. We will need to use a SmartDNS or a full-blown VPN so that we appear to be from another country.

You can still use a US credit card to pay. As long as you appear to be overseas, they don't seem to care if everything else about you seems American, including your payment and billing address.

SmartDNS or VPN?

If you don't already use one of these services, you'll need to sign up. A SmartDNS will run you around $5/mo and a VPN will run in the ballpark of $10/mo. You can pay monthly, but you often get discounts if you pay yearly. What's the difference between SmartDNS and VPN you ask? SmartDNS masks your DNS queries so that you appear to be in another country, but you then connect directly to the servers using your own IP. VPN redirects all of the traffic through their intermediate server so all of your traffic appears to be in another country. Long story short, you can get away with a SmartDNS assuming NFL doesn't get wise to it and start blocking it. If they do, you need to upgrade to a full VPN.

If you have a need for newsgroup access (shameless plug: look around this site if you don't know what that is), then I recommend Newshosting.com which offers a year of unlimited newsgroup access and VPN for $99.99.

If you don't need newsgroups, then I recommend Overplay.net. They offer both SmartDNS and VPN access.

Once you're registered with one of the services, follow their guide to get connected. For the country, I choose Amsterdam / Netherlands, but any non-North American country should do.

Registering for NFL GamePass

Once you're connected to the VPN, it's time to sign up for the GamePass. Depending on if you've visted NFL.com lately, it may still serve you the US version of the GamePass even on the VPN. For this reason, I always just use incognito mode in the browser. You'll have to login every time, but you never have to worry about cookies getting in your way.

Launch your browser in incognito mode and go to https://gamepass.nfl.com. At the top, you can change your currency back to US dollars.

Choose the plan you want and click Subscribe. Depending on if you have good OTA, you may only need to get the Season package. If you don't want to bother with TV at all, the Season Plus will show you everything you'll ever want to watch.

Once again, you can use a US credit card and billing address.

Once you're registered, you can sign in at https://gamepass.nfl.com/nflgp/secure/loginform. When you're logged in, hit that big blue Launch button and enjoy.