How to Watch Live Sports on Smart TVs

A Smart TV can be the gateway to some of the best sports streaming services, especially if you want to cut the cord from cable TV.

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A Smart TV can be the gateway to some of the best sports streaming services, especially if you want to cut the cord from cable TV. 

After you buy a new Smart TV, it is common for people to get a little lost when it comes to picking an app to watch live sports. I’m giving you a rundown of the best sports streaming services based on my own experience as a paying customer.

Vizio, LG, Sony Bravia and Samsung Smart TVs all have pretty much the same options for watching live sports without cable. The same goes for Smart TVs that operate on Android TV or Google TV software.

Here is a brief summary of my experience to answer some of your questions. 

Table of Contents

How can I watch live NFL games on a Smart TV?

There are about a half dozen live TV streaming services that work on your Smart TV and carry key channels for NFL games. 

You can watch ESPN, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network and local ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations live without cable TV or satellite service.

DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV carry both local broadcast and cable TV channels.

Each of these live TV streaming services have pros and cons. Some might require a sports-add channel package for specific channels such as NFL RedZone, or a regional sports channel. 

Let’s cover a few more common questions about watching sports on a Smart TV. 

How to watch local sports on a Smart TV

Smart TVs support a number of apps for live TV streaming services that let you watch live sports. (photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

Local sports, such as in-market NFL, NBA and MLB games, are available on most live TV streaming services.

Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV have nationwide coverage of local broadcast channels. Sling TV has local NBC and FOX stations in a small number of markets across the U.S. 

NFL on Smart TVs

For NFL fans, YouTube TV, fuboTV, DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu Live TV have comprehensive coverage in their entry-level channel bundles. 

MLB on Smart TVs

MLB fans will need regional sports networks to watch local in-market games. Regional Bally Sports channels are available on DIRECTV STREAM. 

MLB.TV offers coverage of out-of-market games. Apple TV+ offers free coverage of Sunday morning MLB games that are part of the national broadcast schedule.

NBA on Smart TV

NBA fans can use Sling TV as an inexpensive way to get TNT and ESPN on a Smart TV. 

But if you need local, in-market games on YES Network or Bally Sports, then you will need a DIRECTV STREAM subscription with the Choice plan. 

Bally Sports+ is a new streaming service that carries regional Bally Sports channels. The service currently has no Smart TV app. It is supported on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

NBA TV and NBA League Pass gives you access to live out-of-market games.

ROOT Sports Northwest is also on DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV. The same goes for AT&T SportsNet channels.

How do I watch live CBS sports on Smart TVs?

Paramount Plus is an affordable alternative for watching NFL games and college football on a Smart TV.

The Essential plan costs $4.99 per month and gives you access to Sunday NFL games that are broadcast on local CBS stations. 

UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League matches are also available to Essential plan subscribers. You can watch “SEC on CBS” by subscribing to the Premium plan, which costs $9.99 per month.

Can I watch NBC sports on a Smart TV?

You can watch a variety of live sports on NBC using a Smart TV. Peacock TV offers the cheapest way to stream sports that are broadcast on NBC.

Peacock streams live NFL Sunday Night Football, Golf, NASCAR, INDYCAR, Premier League soccer and WWE events. You have to subscribe to the Premium plan, which costs $4.99 per month. 

How to get free live sports on Smart TVs

The easiest way to watch free live sports on a Smart TV is by adding a TV antenna to your setup. That can add local ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations to your channel lineup without a monthly bill. 

For cable networks such as ESPN, you can get a brief, free trial of a live TV streaming service to watch live sports. 

Related: How to Watch Live Sports on Roku and Roku TVs.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.