Manufacturers have focused their efforts on releasing models that will keep sports fans happy. When looking for a sports TV, one must look for brightness, uniformity (to avoid screen shade clouding also known as dirty screen effect), fast motion handling, and wide viewing angles to accommodate your friends when watching the Super Bowl together.
We've tested more than 80 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs for sports to buy. Also see our recommendations for the best 4k TVs.
The best TV for watching sports we've tested so far is the LG B9. With its great picture quality and included features, it's a fantastic choice for watching the big game.
As is the case with all OLED TVs, it has a perfect contrast ratio and black uniformity, and although this isn't very important for watching sports, it's still a great feature to have when watching other content in dark rooms. It has very wide viewing angles for when you need to watch the game with a big group of friends in a wide seat arrangement, and it has outstanding gray uniformity, which is important for scenes with large areas of uniform color, such as a football field. Also, the response time is near-perfect, so motion looks very clear with almost no blur trail behind fast-moving objects and it can interpolate motion from lower frame rate content such as a cable box.
Unfortunately, OLED TVs have the risk of permanent burn-in. This could be a problem with constant exposure to static displays, such as a display scoreboard, but this is only an issue if you constantly have sports from the same channel on the TV and not if you have varied content playing. Unfortunately, it doesn't get bright enough in HDR to bring out highlights, but with SDR content, such as sports, it has good peak brightness and it has great reflection handling, so you can place this in a bright room without a problem. This is an excellent all-around TV, making it the best TV for watching sports we've tested so far.
If you have a bright room or find that you're too concerned about the possibility of burn-in on the LG B9 OLED, then the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 is a great choice. This LED TV is one of the brightest TVs we've tested and has excellent reflection handling, so it can fight the glare of any room. It can't deliver the perfect blacks found on OLED TVs, but nonetheless, the dark room performance is exceptional thanks to the low contrast ratio and the great local dimming support. It has a fast response time and displays fast-moving content with minimal blur. The input lag is low, and if you also game, you'll enjoy responsive gaming sessions. Unfortunately, the image degrades at an angle, and you're better off sitting straight in front.
If you want the best quality TV for watching sports, consider the LG. Otherwise, if you're too concerned about the risk of burn-in, then the Vizio is an excellent LED alternative.
The best LED TV for watching cable sports is the Sony X950G. It's a TV with exceptional motion handling, as it has an excellent response time and a black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It can also interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz to make motion look smoother, and lower resolution content like cable sports is upscaled without any issues. Although the corners of the screen are noticeably darker, there's very little dirty screen effect, which can be rather distracting during sports.
Like most TVs with a VA panel, the viewing angles are poor, resulting in images that look washed out when viewed from the side. If you're planning on watching a big game with lots of friends and family, you should look into the larger variants (75" or 85"), as they have Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' technology to improve viewing angles, though at the expense of contrast ratio. This TV is suitable for watching in a bright room setting or even outside due to its incredible peak brightness and impressive reflection handling. Best of all, you likely won't have to pay for calibration, as it has an outstanding out-of-the-box color accuracy.
If you're looking for a great TV to watch cable sports, this one is worth considering.
If you want a TV with wider viewing angles to watch sports with a big group of people, the Sony X850G is a great choice. Since it has an IPS panel, while the higher-end Sony X950G has a VA panel, the lower-end Sony can't produce the same deep blacks, but this won't make a difference when watching sports. It has a fantastic response time, so motion looks clear, and there's a black frame insertion to help reduce any motion blur. It has great peak brightness and excellent reflection handling, so it performs well even in rooms with direct sunlight. Unfortunately, although it supports HDR, it doesn't get bright enough to bring out any highlights. However, it upscales 720p and 1080p content, such as from a cable box, well with no visible artifacts.
If you're looking for the best LED TV for cable sports, the high-end X950G is a great choice. If you prefer having a TV with wide viewing angles, the X850G is a great alternative.
The best budget TV for watching sports we've tested so far is the LG UM7300. It's a good choice for watching sports without making your wallet too thin, and with good viewing angles for when you want to watch the big game with a big group of people.
This TV has a great response time, so fast-moving content in sports looks clear with little motion blur, but since the backlight flickers at 120Hz, it can cause some duplication in motion. If you stream your sports, the built-in LG WebOS offers a ton of apps and you'll likely be able to find the streaming service you need. Unfortunately, it doesn't have good dark room performance and it doesn't get very bright, so it struggles in rooms with direct sunlight. However, it has good gray uniformity, with minor dirty screen effect, which shouldn't be distracting when watching sports.
This is a good overall budget TV, making it the best budget TV for watching sports.
If you want a brighter TV to combat glare in bright rooms, the Hisense H9F is a great choice. It's a great TV and one of the best budget TVs we've tested, but the viewing angles don't make it as good for watching sports as the LG UM7300. Regardless, it has excellent peak brightness, which is important if you're watching football on a Sunday afternoon and there's direct sunlight on the TV. It has an outstanding response time so motion looks clear, but unfortunately, it has some uniformity issues, which might be distracting during sports.
If you're looking for the best budget TV for watching sports, the LG is a good choice, but if you prefer a brighter TV, consider the Hisense.
If you want a bigger TV than the 65 inch LG UM7300, the Vizio E Series 2018 is available in 70 and 75 inch models. The Vizio can't upscale 720p content as well as the Hisense H9F, but it still has a great response and a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. It has good out-of-box color accuracy and good reflection handling if you want to put it in a room with moderate lighting. Unfortunately, with a VA panel, it has poor viewing angles, so you'll lose image accuracy unless you're sitting directly in front of it, but that means it has an outstanding contrast ratio and black uniformity for great dark room performance.
If you want the best budget TV for watching sports, the LG is a great choice; if you want a larger TV, the Vizio is a good alternative.
05/08/2020: Replaced the LG B8 OLED by the B9, switched the Hisense and LG budget picks, added notable mentions.
01/09/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks. Removed some notable mentions due to availability.
11/08/2019: Replaced the LG SM9000 with the Sony X850G, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to watch sports for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.