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The football season is about to begin, so here’s how to watch it without forking out the equivalent of a Premiership player’s daily hourly wage.

Each year there’s more and more football on TV. If you want to watch Premier League games you’ve got a choice between Sky Sports, BT Sports and new to this season Amazon Prime.

But if you want to watch all of them, it doesn’t come cheap. And if you don’t support one of the big teams, they’ll be featured less often making it more expensive per match. So here’s how to pay less to suit how many games you want to watch.

(All this football talk reminds me of this classic Mitchell and Webb sketch…)

Who’s showing what?

Premier League 

Sky Sports/Now TV
  • Saturday 5.30pm – 32 games
  • Saturday 7.45pm – 8 games
  • Sunday 4.30pm – 32 games
  • Monday or Friday 8pm- 24 games
BT Sport
  • Saturday 12.30pm – 32 games
  • Two lots of selected midweek fixtures – All 20 games 
Amazon Prime
  • December 3,4 & 5th – All 10 games
  • December 26th & 27th – All 10 games
BBC
  • Match of the Day highlights

Champions League and Europa League

BT Sport
  • All games and highlights

Football League (Championship, League One, League Two, League cup) –

Sky Sports
  • 138 EFL games (minimum of 20 from Leagues One and Two)
  • 80 midweek Championship games can be shown on the red-button
  • All play-off semi-finals and finals
  • 15 EFL cup games
  • Semi-finals and finals of EFL Trophy
Quest 
  • Highlights

FA Cup

BBC
  • 16 fixtures including the final 
  • Highlights
BT Sport
  • 30 games including the final

From 2021 it’ll be shared by the BBC and ITV.

International friendlies and qualifiers

ITV
  • All England games
Sky
  • All games excluding England
BBC
  • Highlights on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
SC4
  • Wales matches (in Welsh)

Cheapest ways to watch football on Sky Sports

Sky Sports is available on Sky, BT TV, Virgin, NOW TV and Talk Talk.

Get day or week Sky Sports passes with NOW TV

If you only plan to watch a few games at home throughout the season you can buy a NOW TV day pass for £8.99 or a week long pass for £12.99. You get all the Sky Sports channels for 24 hours or seven days respectively. A monthly pass is also available, but at £33.99 it’s not cheap.

But you don’t have to pay that as there are always offers to pay less, For example just this month there’s been 50% on a month pass and a week pass for as low as £4. You can get more details on these in my regularly updated list of the best NOW TV offers 

Combine this with a cut-price broadband and phone line deal and it’ll often be much much cheaper than the full Sky or Virgin packages.

I love that there’s no minimum subscription, meaning you can cancel whenever you want. However, you can only watch live – there’s no catch-up or record option, which rules out some ardent sports fans.

Find the cheapest NOW TV sports pass deals

Add-on individual Sky Sports channels

If you don’t fancy NOW TV, then you’re looking at adding to another TV service – at a cost.

Sky

In July 2017 Sky axed the familiar numbered channels and replaced them with ones focused on individual sports. If you’re a Sky customer and you’re only interested in one sport, then you might be able to save money as a result. You can pick from:

  • Sky Sports Premier League
  • Sky Sports Football
  • Sky Sports Cricket
  • Sky Sports Golf
  • Sky Sports F1
  • Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Arena

You can pick just two of these for £22 a month, get three for £26 or all of them for £30 (this also comes with the Main Event channel) – though there’s an offer right now to pay just £23. This does commit you to an 18-month contract. These figures are on top of the basic Sky TV package, which starts at £22.

Other providers

You can add on the Sky Sports channels to Virgin, Talk Talk and BT TV. You will have to be already subscribing to the standard TV offering, so it can get very expensive. It’s worth looking for special offers at the start of the season, or get on the phone with your provider and haggle for a better deal. 

Cancel it when you don’t need it

These big pay TV companies often let you take Sky Sports month by month, so if there aren’t any matches you want to see, or you know you won’t have time, just call up and cancel.

You can sign up again when you want to restart watching the channels. Check the terms and conditions before subscribing and see if there is a notice or minimum period.

The cheapest way to watch football on BT Sport

BT Sport is available on BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. You can see the standard prices here.

Get BT Broadband or BT TV

Anyone who has BT Broadband can sign up to BT Sport App for £10 a month, or add it to an existing BT TV bundle for the same price.

If you already pay more for BT TV, then it’s an extra £3.50 to get all the channels in SD or £8.50 in HD.

Get an EE mobile contract

BT owns EE and some new contracts come with something called “Swappable Benefits”. Once option is to get free BT Sport. SIM-only plans start at £24 a month for 3GB of data over 12 months.

Existing customers can also get three months free viewing via the BT Sport app (which you can Chromecast to your TV). After three months it’ll cost you £15 a month – you need to cancel if you don’t want this to happen automatically.

Add BT Sport to your Sky, Virgin or TalkTalk TV packages

With each of the following, you need to factor in the other charges you’re paying such as landline, broadband and other TV channels.

If you have BT Broadband but Sky TV you can add BT Sport to your Sky TV pack for £16 a month, If you don’t have BT Broadband it’s £29.99 a month. There’s also an activation fee £20.

Virgin Media charge £18 a month for the full BT Sport package, though it’s probably cheaper to upgrade your existing TV package to one that includes the extra sports channels.

TalkTalk customers can subscribe direct with BT and watch on their YouView box. It’s £29.99 a month.

The cheapest way to watch football on Amazon Prime Video

There will be two groups of fixtures shown on Amazon Prime this season. Over two weekends in December, all 10 games will be shown. 

Get a free Amazon Prime trial

If you’ve never had Prime, you can take out a 30-day trial for free. This’ll allow you to watch all those games, and if you time it right, get free delivery on your Christmas shopping!

Pay £7.99 a month

You can also sign up on a monthly basis, at just £7.99 a month. So if you only want to watch those game, you can do it for £8 – as long as you cancel. You can also get an annual membership to Amazon Prime for £79.

> More on Amazon Prime trials and deals

Save more: Haggle or switch to a new deal

With Sky Sports and BT Sports, rather than just add the channels to your existing service as a top-up, it’s often cheaper to switch your service to a new company or haggle for a better deal.

There are always offers for current customers signing new contracts, but the best deals are usually for new customers or those who threaten to leave. You can generally save even more by going via cashback sites.

> How to get the best deal on your broadband and landline package

The cheapest way to watch every live game

Share it with a friend

Know someone who has BT or Sky? You can watch it on two devices (computer, tablet, phone) simultaneously, so you could split the cost between you.

> My guide on sharing your subscriptions

Watch it in the pub

Of course, you can save all that hassle and head to the pub. Premiership fans will normally be able to find somewhere showing the games, though Championship and lower may struggle (as I know from my time as a Crystal Palace supporter). A few pints would cost the same as a NOW TV day pass.

Download the MatchPint app too, as not only will it help you find what game is on where you might get a free drink!

The average cost to watch each team

This article from last year looked at the number of games each Premier League team had a match on Sky TV – and showed the cost of each match, and the season.

Spendonomics: How much are you really paying to watch your football team on Sky Sports?


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