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 or BT Sports. It doesn’t come cheap though, 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…)
Here’s what’s on where:
- Premier League – 126 games on Sky Sports, 42 on BT Sport, highlights on BBC
- Champions League – BT Sport only, though 12 games will be shown free
- Football League (Championship, League One, League Two) -112 games on Sky Sports, highlights on Channel 5
- FA Cup – BBC and BT Sport
- England Euro 2016 Qualifiers – ITV; ITV and Sky will share the other home nations
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 £6.99 or a week long pass for £10.99. 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.
However right now there are offers to save 40% on a month pass, get a week pass for as low as £4 and save 10% on a day pass! 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 be much much cheaper than the full Sky or Virgin packages.
I’m a big fan of NOW TV for the entertainment package (I watch a lot of Sky Atlantic). It’s a great service that you stream on your computer, tablet, games console or via a NOW TV box without getting a Sky subscription.
Add-on individual Sky Sports channels
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 one of these for £18 a month, get three for £26 or all of them for £27.50 (this also comes with the Main Event channel). These figures are on top of the basic Sky TV package, which starts at £22.
Add-on all the Sky Sports channels
To get every channel can get expensive very quickly! Apart from Now TV, you might be able to pay less by negotiating with your TV provider, or get a bigger discount on your overall bill, especially if you have other extras such as movies.
- Sky – an extra £27.50 a month for all Sky Sports channels
- Now TV – the monthly pass is £33.99 and you get all the channels. There are often deals that lower the cost
- Virgin Media – It’s £31.75 to add all the new channels
- Talk Talk – the struggling broadband provider claims to be offering the cheapest way to get all the Sky Sports channels. It’s just £8.50 extra a month and you can lock this price in for 18 months
- BT – you can only add Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Extra SD. It’ll cost you £22 a month, though it goes up to £27 a month from 28th August 2017
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.
Cheapest way to watch football on BT Sport
BT Sport is available on BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. Twelve free to air Champions League games will be on Freeview. The channels are BT Sport 1, 2 and 3, BT Sport ESPN and Box Nation.
Get BT Broadband or BT TV
Anyone who has BT Broadband can sign up to BT Sport Online for £7 a month (free for the first three months). It’s a 12 month contract.
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
Now BT owns EE expect to see more cross over deals. Plenty of the new contracts come with up to two years free BT Sport. You need to be on a 4GEE pay monthly contract or SIM-only plan. These start at £10.99 a month for 12 months.
Existing customers can get three months free viewing via the BT Sport app (which you can Chromecast to your TV). After three months it’ll cost you £5 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 £10 a month (SD) or £15 a month (HD). If you don’t have BT Broadband it’s £22.99 a month (SD) or £27.99 (HD). 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 £21.99 a month for the SD channels and BT also charge an activation fee.
Save more: Haggle or switch to a new deal
With both 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.
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.
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!