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How to watch local channels on Sling TV

With affordability on its side, Sling TV appeals to many cord-cutters because the service has a solid channel lineup as well. Sling TV offers a diverse range of programming — from drama and entertainment to news and sports. Besides the default channels you get with your subscription, Sling even offers plenty of add-ons to customize your plan to your liking.  

But as noted in our Sling TV review, the biggest drawback is its lack of local programming. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have any local channels at all. You can still get local channels on Sling TV in select markets through networks like ABC, FOX and NBC. Even for the local channels not automatically available with your Sling TV subscription, you can still find a workaround to access them.

This post gives you a rundown of how to get local channels on Sling, which plans you need to access them, which regional sports networks are available, and more.

Navigating local network channels

Local channels are the smaller, region-specific networks affiliated with one main broadcaster. For example, KCBS-TV in Los Angeles and KCNC-TV in Denver are the regional affiliates for CBS. They’re called “local channels” because they broadcast content to one specific television market or city and give you access to live TV programming based on your area. So they mostly focus on regional news content and broadcast games from local sporting events.

Local channels provide over-the-air programming that you can access for free even without a cable subscription. But you typically need an over-the-air antenna for this, although some live TV streaming services also let you access them without one. On Sling TV, for instance, you can access local programming from ABC, FOX, and NBC in select markets. CBS isn’t currently available on Sling, however, you can watch CBS live with Paramount+.

ABC is available in the following 8 markets:

  • Chicago
  • Fresno
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose

For FOX, the designated market areas include:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Chicago
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Detroit
  • Gainesville
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • New York
  • Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
  • Seattle
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg
  • Washington, DC

And the designated market areas for NBC are:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale
  • Hartford/New Haven
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
  • Washington, DC

Although the service doesn’t fare too well when it comes to local channels, it stands out in other aspects such as Spanish-language programming. In fact, it even has a dedicated package for a Spanish-speaking audience called Sling TV Latino. Learn more about it in our Sling TV Latino guide.

To get local channels on Sling TV, you need a subscription to the Sling Blue plan or the Sling Orange + Blue combo. Sling Blue costs $40/mo., while Sling Orange + Blue will set you back $55/mo. Learn more about these plans in our review of the Sling TV pricing and packages. You can also check out our comparison of Sling Blue vs. Orange to find out how these plans differ.

If you’re within the market areas where Sling TV offers local TV programming, you can access the channels through your TV guide. But make sure you have your location services enabled if you’re watching it from a mobile or tablet. Read our guide to learn more about all the devices compatible with Sling TV.

And for those wondering, “Can I get local channels with Sling besides ABC, FOX and NBC?” Sling offers a workaround in the form of the AirTV. This device connects to your home wireless network and brings you your favorite local channels for free, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS. And you can even use it without a Sling TV subscription.

Combining AirTV with your Sling subscription makes it easier to seamlessly access all your favorite live TV programming from local and national networks. That means if you use AirTV with your Sling TV subscription, you can easily switch between ESPN on Sling Orange and local ABC Sling TV programming.

Regional sports networks on Sling TV

Regional sports programming is where the Sling TV channel lineup falls far behind the competition. As the service no longer offers regional Bally Sports or NBC Sports channels, you can only get local sports programming from local ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates, and that too in select markets.

Shows on Sling TV

With the service having a diverse range of channels, the shows available on Sling TV span across various categories, so there’s something for everyone.

For those who love dramatic plot twists and exciting cliffhangers, Sling TV gives you access to plenty of drama and entertainment shows through its channels. And when it comes to local programming, the service gives you access to classic soap operas, dramatic entertainment shows, live sports events, news broadcasts, and more.

In most markets, NBC gives you access to entertainment and celebrity news through Access Hollywood. It also gives you early morning news via Early Today, regardless of your television market. But it also gives you market-specific news programming as well. For instance, someone living in San Diego will get the NBC 7 News on KNSD, but if you live in Chicago, you get NBC 5 News on WMAQ.

In addition to these, there are several programs that air throughout most markets. This includes the sports competition show, American Ninja Warrior, as well as talk shows like The Tonight Show with Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. You can also tune into TV series and lifestyle shows such as Cooking with Emeril, Days of Our Lives, and Open House in select markets. For sports fans, the regional NBC sports channels are the biggest highlight with access to live games from MLB, the NBA, and the NFL on top of several other major events.

Local FOX channels mainly focus on lifestyle and entertainment shows, as well as news programming. Most markets will get reality TV and talk show programs such as Filthy Rich, Judge Judy, L.A.’s Finest, and The Wendy Williams Show. But the news programming is typically market-focused. For instance, you get FOX 5 Morning News and FOX 5 News in DC, but you’ll get Good Day L.A. and FOX 11 News in Los Angeles.

The final cut

The local channels on Sling TV may not be the most comprehensive, especially if you consider regional sports programming. But this may be more than enough if you only watch local channels occasionally and mainly want a service to watch entertainment shows and kids programming. Even if that’s not the case, you can still get local channels for free with your Sling TV subscription if you use it with an AirTV device.

But before you decide to try out the service, keep in mind that Sling TV typically doesn’t offer free trials. At the time of this posting, you can get half your first month’s subscription, so you could still try it out and see if it’s the right fit for you. So sign up for Sling TV today or learn more about the free trials and deals available.

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