Football fans across the country will be gearing up for the start of the Premier League kicking off on August 11 with Arsenal vs Leicester at the Emirates.
If you want to catch the season from the comfort of your own home however, it means investing in a sports package that often comes with a notoriously high price tag.
Sky has however today revamped its Sports line up with the option to buy individual channels which could help cut the cost of supporting from your sofa.
We have done the hard work for you and taken a look at how the new Sky deal really stacks up against rivals plus we have rounded up the cheapest deals to get your sports fix this summer, whether you are a football fanatic or boxing is more your bag.
Premier League: Arsenal opens the season this year against Leicester on 11 August
SHOULD YOU BENCH YOUR SPORTS TV PACKAGE?
Die-hard sports fans may feel they can’t do without their sports TV package, but a third of subscribers actually end up watching less than two hours of sport per week, according to research by Freesat.
This is despite paying an average £50.50 for their sports package.
Many of the major sporting events this summer are aired on free channels including Wimbledon Tennis (BBC), The Tour de France (ITV and Eurosport) and The London World Athletics Championships (BBC).
FreeSat has come up with a list of the top sporting events this summer.
- Golf Open Championship held on July 20th – 23rd. Broadcast on Sky Sports.
- Cricket – England summer cricket tests happening throughout July. Broadcast on Sky Sports.
- World Athletics Championships on August 4 – 13th. Broadcast on the BBC.
- Rugby League – Challenge Cup final on August 26. Broadcast on the BBC
- Formula 1 – British Grand Prix on July 16. Broadcast on Channel 4.
- Cycling – Tour de France happening until 23rd July. Broadcast by ITV and Eurosport (available for free with Freesat).
- Tennis – Wimbledon Championships from July 3rd -16th. Broadcast on BBC.
|Broadband, TV and Phone package||Monthly cost||Set up fee||Yearly cost|
|Sky Sports Bundle +Fibre (free £75 prepaid MasterCard)||£69.50 for 18 months||£39.95||£873.95|
|Sky Sports Bundle +Broadband Unlimited (free £75 prepaid MasterCard)||£73.49 for 18 months||£39.95||£921.83|
|BT Starter +Unlimited Infinity 1+ Weekend Calls (free £80 BT Reward Card)||£33.49 for 12 months||£69.99||£471.87|
|NOWTV Sky Sports Pass+Brilliant Broadband Combo||£51.90 for 12 months||£22||£645.88|
|Virgin Media Full House Bundle||£55 for 12 months||£20||£680.00|
|TalkTalk TV with Fast Broadband and Sky Sports||£28.50 for 18 months||–||£342.00|
|TalkTalk TV with Faster Fibre and Sky Sports||£35 for 18 months||–||£420.00|
|Source: Broadband choices, correct as of July 18|
What you get
Sky has long been the only option for hard-core sports fans and it still offers the biggest choice of channels (both sports and entertainment) – but it has one of the biggest price tags.
It previously offered a range of channels including Sky Sports 1, 2,3,4,5 plus Sky Sports News HQ, F1 and Xtra.
However from July 18 it has scrapped its original line up in favour of a more themed approach. There will be 10 channels:
- Sky Sports Main Event
- Sky Sports Premier League
- Sky Sports Football
- Sky Sports Cricket
- Sky Sports Golf
- Sky Sports F1
- Sky Sports Action
- Sky Sports Arena
- Sky Sports News
Existing customers will see their channels switched over automatically. They will also let you buy individual channels rather than the whole line up if you want, cutting down on the cost.
These packs will be broken down into Premier League, Football, Cricket, Golf, F1 play an Action & Arena pack which will include the Main Event, Action, Arena and News channels.
Choose one of these and you will pay £18 per month, you get two for £22 or 3 for £26.
In terms of actual sporting coverage for every Formula 1 race, England’s Summer Test Series, ICC Champions Trophy, golf Majors as well as the European, PGA Tours and the 2018 Ryder cup, Rugby Union and Rugby League, boxing, darts, NFL and tennis.
Adding Sky Sports to an existing package will cost £27.50 extra a month, or slightly cheaper at £18 if you have Sky Cinema. This will be frozen for the next year.
If you want to buy individual channels it will cost from £18 a month, £22 if you only want two channels and £26 for three channels.
New customers taking out a bundle deal for 18 months will pay from £69.50 per month with a one off £19.95 set-up fee.
This includes all the sports channels, broadband speeds of up to 34Mbps (25GB cap), the Original TV Bundle (which includes 270 channels) and free evening and weekend calls.
If you want to add anytime calls it will cost you an extra £4 per month and adding the movies package costs another £10.
Truly dedicated fans can also access MUTV, Chelsea TV, LFCTV each costing £7 per month. This does include a SkyQ 1TB box which lets you record three shows and watch a fourth. Plus the Sky Q app means you can stream TV live and watch on demand on your tablet or mobile.
Getting BT Sport on Sky –
You can get BT Sport on your Sky box if you have BT broadband for £7.50 (£12.50 in HD) per month or £22.99 (£27.50 in HD) per month if you don’t have a BT connection.
Fore: Golf fans could watch Brooks Koepka winning the US Open last month on Sky
BT offers fewer sports channels and a smaller selection of Premier League games, but it has a dedicated boxing channel and exclusive right to the UEFA Champions League.
It does come with a much lower additional cost than Sky but BT has a smaller selection of channels.
BEST CHANNELS FOR FOOTBALL FANS
A quarter of sports TV customers say they only watch football, according to FreeSat.
The 25th anniversary season of the Premier League opens with the first game on Friday 11 August. BT Sport and Sky secured the rights for matches until 2021.
You can find out which games are broadcast on which channels here.
The majority of games (126) will be broadcast on Sky with a handful of the bigger clashes shown on BT Sport and a total 42 games over the season including the 5.30pm Saturday evening slot.
The BBC and BT Sport have the rights to the FA Cup until 2021, and BT has exclusive rights to 351 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League until 2021.
What you get
BT offers BT Sport 1,2 and 3 plus Box Nation and ESPN.
Fans can watch all 351 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games with exclusive rights until 2021, plus some games in the Premier League, FA Cup, European Rugby Champions Cup, Ultimate Fighting Championship, MotoGP.
You will get a YouView box, YouView+ or YouView+ Ultra HD box depending on which TV package you take out. All let you pause and rewind and catch up TV but the two beefed up boxes can record as well.
What it costs –
The cheapest add-on is the Starter TV kit with BT Sport. This gives you 80 channels and costs £3.50 per month plus it includes access to the app and online streaming.
If you want to bump up your TV channel options, the Entertainment Plus deal (110 channels) costs £10 and Total Entertainment (141 channels) currently costs £13 (usually £18) – both also come with Sport.
When it comes to wrapping up all of your costs in one contract, the cheapest option including BT Sports with 17Mbps speeds is the Starter deal with Sport and Unlimited broadband which costs £29.99 per month with a £59.99 set-up fee and a £40 BT giftcard.
If you want faster speeds the The Starter +Unlimited Infinity 1+ Weekend Calls includes up to 35Mbps speeds costs a total £33.49 per month with a £69.99 start-up cost and a £80 giftcard.
Sky Sports on BT
BT customers will still be able to buy Sky Sports through their existing package. It currently costs £22 per month and you get Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2.
Under the new Sky revamp you will instead get Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Extra at a cost of £27.50 per month.
Formula 1: Fans can catch the action on Sky’s dedicated F1 channel
Now TV is aimed at those who want access to Sky channels but don’t want to commit to an expensive contract and it is owned by Sky itself.
The benefit is they offer the option to mix and match packages from month to month – but you can’y buy individual sports channels through the off-shoot.
Watch out, while flexible, you will need to remember to cancel your monthly passes or they automatically roll over and you will be charged for the next month.
The sports packages offer the whole Sky Sports packages. It gives you access to 250 box sets on demand. It’s Now TV Roku box lets you pause and rewind TV.
What it costs
There is a 14 day free trial, once that’s up you pay £6.99 per month for a rolling contract.
Add Sky Sports for a day for £6.99, £10.99 for a week or £20 for one month (this is at a 40 per cent discount – usually it costs £33.99).
It does offer a Combo deal with Brillant Broadband at 17Mbps, 92 entertainment channels, pay-as-you-go calls and Sky Sports for £51.90 per month (£56.99 for 39Mbps speeds).
There is a £22 set up fee on a 12 month contract or £44 if you choose for a monthly rolling deal.
To add a calls package it costs £8 for anytime calls or £4 for evening and weekend. It’s an additional £6.99 for the Entertainment pass, £9.99 for Sky Cinema and £2.99 for a Kids Pass.
RELEGATE BT AND SKY FOR A BETTER DEAL
While you buying your sports package direct from Sky or BT is cheaper, once you factor in the costs of broadband and phone packages – you could actually end up better off choosing either Virgin or Talk Talk.
Talk Talk offers the full Sky Sports channels apart from Sky Sports Mix for just £8.50 per month on top of its broadband package.
Adding Sky Sports brings the bill to £28.45 per month and £35 per month respectively.
The contracts also promise no mid-contract hikes with guaranteed prices for the whole contract. There currently is no set-up fee.
But watch out at the end of the 18-month deal the price of Sky Sports jumps dramatically to £34 per month.
Talk Talk also offers BT Sport 1,2,3 and ESPN. A month’s pass costs £21.99 with a £30 activation fee for a rolling contract or £15 when adding it for a year.
You can add BT Sport and all of the Sky Sports channels to a Virgin TV bundle.
You get Sky Sports the whole Sky Sports bundle for £31.75 per month extra and you can pay an extra £7 for HD channels.
As of yet there is no option to take out single Sky Sports channels.
Adding BT Sports and ESPN on to your package costs £18 per month.
Virgin also offers Premier Sports for £8.99, Liverpool FCTV for £7, Racing UK for £22, MUTV for £7 and Box Nation for £11.
The Full House deal combining TV, broadband and phone plus BT Sports costs £55 per month. To Add Sky Sports the cost then jumps to £82 per month
BT-owned EE, doesn’t actually offer either sport package itself, but you can get access to both Sky and BT channels elsewhere.
EE’s most basic package offers 17Mbps and free weekend calls for £32.50 for 18 months (then £33.50 a month), with a £7 router delivery charge.
It will boost your mobile phone data plan by 5GB per month for fee (worth £10).
You get 70 channels and 11 in HD and a set top box (1TB storage) which allows you to pause, rewind and record with access to catch up and on demand services.
The box comes with NOW TV installed so customers can buy the same Sky Sports passes. EE mobile customers currently get three months free access to the BT Sport app.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online