The Run for the Roses is, perhaps, one of the most grandiose sports events surrounded by numerous bourbon and Mint Juleps-flavored festivities frequented by A-listers in lavish hats. But the race itself is usually a little over two minutes. Those two minutes can make or break a fortune for many and light up a star for another winner. If you don’t get a chance to attend the Derby in person this season, don’t despair because there are plenty of options to live stream it online without missing a single hoof beat.

The iconic Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. 

The following channels and streaming services offer Kentucky Derby live coverage and on-demand streaming:

  • NBC Sports is most U.S. viewers’ go-to option to watch the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing events. The broadcasting giant acquired the exclusive rights to air the Derby, sometimes partnering with Sky to stream the races in the UK. You’re going to need a U.S. cable subscription to stream the Derby.
  • Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV users can easily add the NBC Sports Live Extra app and enjoy live coverage via their devices.
  • Kentucky Derby Online is one of the self-evident places to stream adrenaline-infused races online.
  • (and TwinSpiresTV) is one of the best online streaming platforms for horse racing devotees, where you can watch the event live and place your wager.
  • FuboTV is chock-full of sports channels, NBC Sports included. It bundles a cloud-DVR record option and allows the use of two devices simultaneously. A 7-day free trial is available.
  • Sling TV is replacing traditional cable television for increasingly more U.S. households. Offering more than 75 channels, including NBC Sports, it supports a broad range of devices.
  • DirecTV Now from AT&T is yet another streaming service fully-loaded with live events and news from more than 60 channels, covering NBC, CNBC, NBCSN, and more.
  • PlayStation Vue, available for Amazon Fire, Android, iOS, and Windows, also includes a wealth of channels and allows you to stream on 5 devices simultaneously.
  • Hulu Live TV might be in Beta, but if you are a subscriber you don’t need to look any further than its streaming platform for your Derby coverage.
  • YouTube Live TV is limited to select US cities, bundling YouTube Red and more than 50 networks complete with unlimited cloud DVR and up to six accounts per household.

As you can see, there are quite a few streaming options for the Kentucky Derby but one little caveat can spoil all the fun. All of them are restricted to the U.S. while some of them (PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV) are further restricted to certain U.S. regions.

When you are outside of the U.S., you can’t use your subscription to stream the Derby because the broadcasters only acquire the license to air it domestically. You lose access to the Derby streams the moment you leave the country because your streaming service recognizes your physical location based on your Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Geo-blocks regularly frustrate many U.S. expats, military living off base, tourists, digital nomads, and business people traveling the world.

Luckily, there is a simple workaround that lets you swap your IP address and use a U.S. IP for accessing geo-restricted live streams – a VPN.

A Virtual Private Network is a service that uses a wide range of VPN servers across the world to allow its customers to browse the Internet through these servers. When you connect to a US-based VPN server, it assigns you a U.S. IP address, and you appear as if coming from your home country to your streaming provider. With a US IP address, you can stream the Kentucky Derby, and access the US repositories of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Videos, and more with a click of a button.

More than that, a VPN provides an additional layer of protection to your browsing because it encrypts your traffic. The advantages of encrypting your traffic are numerous:

  • Cybersecurity – with encrypted traffic via a VPN connection, your sensitive data is undecipherable to hackers preying on low-hanging fruit, especially on public or college WiFi.
  • Privacy – most Internet Service Providers log your browsing activity. Some ISPs share that data with third parties, copyright trolls, and law enforcement. Irrespective of the legal implications, the scope of intrusion is unacceptable for privacy-minded people. If you are like me and value your privacy, consider routing your sensitive traffic through a VPN, which hides its contents from your ISP.
  • Freedom – a VPN also helps you bypass college, office, or government-imposed firewalls and access dissident websites, human rights forums, uncensored news websites, or banned social networks. VPNs let you enjoy Net Neutrality without nosy tech giants telling you what to read, think, and buy.
  1. Subscribe to a VPN service – check my list of suggested companies below.
  2. Install a VPN program on your device and log in using the credentials provided by the company (sometimes, these are the same credentials you use to create a user account, but in most cases, the credentials for VPN are different for security reasons).
  3. Locate the servers list and connect to a server in the U.S. or a specific U.S. region where your streaming provider is licensed to stream the Derby.
  4. Open a clean instance of your browser, with cache and DNS from the previous sessions deleted (otherwise, old cache and DNS can reveal your real location).
  5. Go to your streaming service, log in and stream the Kentucky Derby. Voilá.

Tip: When choosing your VPN provider, make sure to test the service before subscribing to a long-term plan. It may be a good idea to subscribe to a short-term plan first and test-drive server speeds, check for DNS leaks, and ensure the VPN unblocks your streaming service on a consistent basis.

Live streaming the most exciting two minutes in sports from anywhere in the world is possible with a VPN, but you are well-advised to steer clear of free VPNs that keep logs of your browsing activities and your personally identifiable information (I’m talking about you, Hola).


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