By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

Sling TV, the live streaming service owned by Dish, has brought back its 50 percent discount on the first month of service, just in time for the NBA Finals which begins tonight on ABC and the NHL Stanley Cup which begins Saturday on TNT.

The streamer carries TNT, and it has ABC in its lineup in eight markets: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, North Carolina and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose. But if you don’t live in one of those eight markets, you can use your Sling user name and password to watch the NBA games on the ESPN 3 app. See this article for more.

The 50 percent off deal, which is available to new subscribers, means the first month would cost just $20 instead of the regular $40 a month. The regular price of $40 a month will be charged after the first month unless you cancel prior to the end of the term.

Sling TV’s new promotional offer replaces the previously one when it cut the first month’s rate by $10, bringing the price to $30. Sling’s multiple promotions is more evidence that live streaming services are exploring creative ways to generate new subscribers in an increasingly competitive category. The streamer is also including a free Amazon Fire Stick Lite+ with the 50 percent off deal.

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The Sling TV half-price deal is good for either its Blue or Orange basic packages. If you order both Blue and Orange, the price is $27.50 the first month, which is a $27.60 discount.

The Blue plan provides more than 40 channels including the three major cable news networks, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, as well as leading ‘basic cable’ networks as FS1, Bravo, The Cartoon Network, AMC, TNT, TBS, and your local Fox and NBC affiliates in select markets.

The Orange package offers more than 30 channels, but it includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3, which are must-haves for many sports fans. In addition, the Orange plan has CNN, Comedy Central, TBS, TNT and AMC.

Note: ESPN 3 is available in Sling’s Orange plan, not the Blue plan.

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— Phillip Swann