Sling TV getting ABC in several markets — and a price hike

The Sling TV app button on the Apple TV home screen.
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)

Many Sling TV subscribers will see their bill go up soon. In an email sent to Sling Blue subscribers that Tom's Guide just received, Sling announced that the ABC broadcast network is coming to Sling Blue, along with a $5 price increase. It all happens next month.

The email, titled "Subscription Price Update" states "In order to carry all three of these networks, your Sling Blue service will see an additional $5 reflected on your next bill after March 1st." This reflects an announcement that Sling made on January 27th, and it changes Sling Blue to $45 per month. Sling Orange & Blue will also go up by $5, to $60 per month.

On Sling's website, it lists that only select markets will receive ABC. Those regions and their affiliates are: Chicago (WLS), Fresno (KFSN), Houston (KTRK), Los Angeles (KABC), New York (WABC), Philadelphia (WPVI), Raleigh-Durham (WTVD) and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (KGO).

Interestingly, Fresno, Houston and Raleigh will not get a price hike. 

The email blames the cost of carrying local broadcast channels for the price hike, stating "For many years, Sling has been able to absorb the increasing costs of carrying local broadcast channels. However, to provide FOX, NBC and ABC, our pricing needs to adjust to include some of the costs of offering these channels. We do not take this decision lightly and value your loyalty. We’ll continue to work to keep prices as low as possible while remaining the most affordable and valuable option for streaming live TV."

Now, Sling Blue is only $20 less than YouTube TV, one of the best cable TV alternatives it's often compared to. We break down all of the differences in our YouTube TV vs Sling TV face-off. 

Analysis: $60 is a lot to pay for Sling Orange & Blue

In its email to customers, Sling is making this sound like good news, declaring that "The Bachelor franchise, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, Abbott Elementary" along with the NBA Finals and the Oscars will be available. As a Sling Blue subscriber, who just got hit by a $5 per month price increase on or after Dec. 3, 2022, I'm less than happy.

Yes, I love Abbott. But I get it via Hulu, yet I won't cancel that because of grandfathered in Disney Bundle pricing.

The biggest deal here, though, is that Sling Orange & Blue will now be only $5 less than YouTube TV. And when you compare their apps and special features, Sling TV Blue + Orange does not compare favorably to YouTube TV when the former is only $5 cheaper.

YouTube TV has an unlimited DVR to Sling's 50-hour cap, and YouTube TV has a better overall user experience, with a ton of sports-focused features such as Key Plays.

Unless Sling ups its experience soon, those who want the channel assortment of Sling Orange & Blue may find their money better spent at YouTube TV, which offers also CBS, and twice as many channels overall, boasting more than 100 channels to Sling Orange & Blue's 47 channels.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.