Sky Sports: get it cheaper

sky sports presenters© Sky

WE'VE been trying to work out the best place to get a Sky Sports fix ever since it became possible to get the channels without Sky TV.

To quickly see all the deals available wherever you are in the country, check out our Sky Sports TV comparison page. Or for a closer look at the cheapest available options, and the deals on offer from the various providers, keep reading.

Those willing to move their broadband and phone will save overall, but Sky Sports is available as a standalone TV package too. Click through to see:

Sky TV Latest Offers

Black Friday Offer: Get the Sky Box Sets bundle for just £25/mth when taken with Sky Fibre Unlimited for £25/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 3 days!
27 November 2017.
18 month minimum term. £39.95 setup. £50/mth for 18 months.

The best deals:
Just Sky Sports

Got sporting tunnel vision? There are two ways to access Sky Sports channels without also having to take a phone line or broadband package from the same provider.

Taking the most basic standard package they offer and adding Sky Sports to it, Sky are now cheaper than Virgin Media:

Sky Sports packages Base TV Sky Sports pack Total monthly
virgin media with sky sports Mix TV
All premium Sky Sports channels
£22 £31.75 £56.25
sky with sky sports Original bundle
All premium Sky Sports channels
£22 £27.50 £49.50

It used to be that Sky cost a little more than Virgin Media, which reflected the much higher channel count customers could expect, along with their free set top box - which at the time was a Sky+ HD box.

Sky now include the much more advanced Sky Q 1TB set top boxes with all their TV bundles - and given the much higher price Sky Q was on sale for when it first launched, we might expect Sky to be more expensive now, but it isn't.

Virgin Media, meanwhile, have recently refreshed their base TV bundles and increased their channel count - and their prices.

For those who want more than just Sky Sports, it's also worth noting that while Sky One is available in Virgin's most basic TV package, Sky Atlantic is not available on Virgin Media at all.

Choosing between Sky and Virgin Media is a tough problem worthy of a lengthier investigation than this, so we've looked at the differences between the providers in more depth in this guide.

Getting Sky Sports without pay TV

There is another way of getting Sky Sports without taking any other services - including any pay TV - and that's through Now TV.

Now TV is a no contract, streaming version of Sky's most popular services. As well as offering access to Sky Sports on a want-to-watch or rolling basis, they offer subscriptions to Sky Cinema - previously Sky Movies - and a selection of the broadcaster's entertainment channels.

There are three Sky Sports passes available, each valid for a different length of time:

Pass Price
now tv sky sports day pass Day Pass £6.99
now tv sky sports week pass Week Pass £9.99
now tv sky sports month pass Month Pass £33.99

The monthly pass automatically renews every month until we cancel the subscription, but the daily and weekly options come with no obligation whatsoever, making them ideal for the odd big game or crucial Test match.

Users get access to all seven live Sky Sports channels, but there's no on demand or red button service.

See our guide for more information about how Now TV works.

The best deals:
Sky Sports plus broadband and calls

The problem with looking at just the cost of Sky Sports as a standalone or bolt-on to existing services is that it doesn't take into account what we're already paying for other products, like broadband.

People willing to move one or more other services will be able to save overall.

Sky Sports + basic broadband

Bundling Sky Sports with broadband can be a more cost effective way than taking the service separately.

Package Price (inc line rental) Sky Sports
pack
Total monthly (inc line rental)
sky tv deal TV Original + Broadband 12GB + Talk £43.99
for 18 mths,
then £45.99
£27.50 £68.49
sky tv deal TV Original + Broadband Unlimited + Talk £38
for 12 mths,
then £50.99
£27.50 £78.49
virgin media tv deal Player Bundle £30
for 12 mths,
then £48
£31.75 £76.75

The monthly prices listed above are the providers' standard prices for basic broadband and calls - so depending on offers it may be possible to get them cheaper - and are correct at the time of this update.

Sky's deals don't include any inclusive calls, while Virgin include weekend calls, although with both providers additional call packages are available.

Note also that Sky are in there twice. As well as their standard unlimited broadband package, they also offer a capped package, suitable for lighter users, to people who take both phone and TV, which, outside introductory offers, costs £5 a month.

Depending on the offers available at the time, it's sometimes possible to get Broadband Unlimited for the same price, or even free - at least for a while.

Sky Sports + fast broadband

Faster broadband speeds and Sky Sports make a good pairing: people who want to catch up via streaming will find these deals make it easier.

Package Price (inc line rental) Sky Sports
1 & 2
Total monthly (inc line rental)
bt fibre deal TV Entertainment + Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls £39.99
for 18 mths,
then £48.99
£22 £73.49
sky fibre deal TV Original + Fibre Unlimited + Talk £45
for 18 mths,
then £60.99
£27.50 £88.49
virgin media deal Mix TV + Vivid 300 + Talk Weekends £56
for 12 mths,
then £65
£31.75 £96.75
virgin media deal Full House TV + Vivid 300 + Talk Weekends £65
for 12 mths,
then £80
£31.75 £111.75

Take note here: BT's Unlimited Infinity 1 pips the rest in terms of price - and can offer speeds of up to 52Mb - but BT only offer Sky Sports Main Event and Extra, while the others offer at least six of Sky's Sports channels.

BT, Sky and TalkTalk fibre broadband are also available at up to 76Mb, with prices rising to reflect the speed boost.

Note also that we've included two Virgin Media packages, both representing a significant upgrade.

The first option we've included is their Mix Bundle, which offers more than 190 channels, and we've added their 300Mb broadband.

The second option gives even more TV channels and also includes the provider's up to 300Mb broadband deal - currently the fastest widely available fibre in the UK.

And yet they're both close in price to Sky's up to 38Mb deal - and people can bring the monthly total down by downgrading the speed to 200Mb or even 100Mb.

Sky Sports + calls

While most people will want to bundle broadband with Sky Sports, here is the cost of two Sky Sports packages from Sky and Virgin Media with just a home phone service added in.

Calls Base price Line rental Sky Sports pack Total monthly
virgin media Weekend calls £10.50 £19 £31.75 £61.25
sky Line only £22 £0 £27.50 £68.49

Note that adding the phone actually acts to reduce the base price of the Virgin Media TV pack, to give us a bundle that's cheaper than Sky's.

What's more, as mentioned, Sky don't bundle any calls with their phone line, while Virgin Media include weekend calls.

Sky customers who want inclusive calls will need to factor in the extra cost: £4 a month to get evening and weekend calls, and £8 a month for anytime calls.

Virgin's customers can stick with inclusive weekend calls, pay another £5 for evenings as well as weekends, or go for anytime calls at £8 a month.

Depending on the setup options we choose, that can be cheaper at Virgin as well. There's an activation fee of £20, but the default installation option these days is the "Quick Start" self-install - which saves the £49.95 fee for having someone come and do it for us.

The TV part of setup at Sky costs from £20 to £199 depending on the exact package taken, and some customers may need to pay another £20 if they need a new phone line.

Current Sky Sports special offers for new customers

Fierce competition between the TV providers who offer Sky Sports means that there are plenty of sign up offers for new customers. But be warned - if you've had TV from a provider in the past there are rules surrounding who counts as a new customer and who doesn't.

Right now the following special offers are available for pay TV and premium subscription services.

Sky offers

These are Sky's current offers for new customers signing up to their TV service via Choose:

Offer Terms
sky Black Friday Offer: Get the Sky Box Sets bundle for just £25/mth when taken with Sky Fibre Unlimited for £25/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 3 days!
27 November 2017
18 month minimum term. £39.95 setup. £50/mth for 18 months.
sky Sky Black Friday sale: Get a £50 Prepaid Mastercard and Sky Unlimited Broadband for £18/mth

Hurry! Offer ends 7 December 2017
12 month minimum term. £19.95 set-up fee. £18/mth for 12 months, then £28.99/mth.
sky Get a £50 Prepaid Mastercard and money off Sky Fibre Unlimited

Hurry! Offer ends 7 December 2017
18 month minimum term. £29.95 set up fee. £25/mth for 18 months, then £38.99/mth.

See further details, prices and search packages in our main Sky review.

BT

Offer Terms
bt Get a £125 Prepaid Reward card and money off BT Unlimited Infinity 2, for £39.99/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 3 days!
27 November 2017
£9.99 activation fee and 18 month minimum term applies.
bt Get a £100 Prepaid Reward card and money off BT Unlimited Infinity, for £29.99/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 3 days!
27 November 2017
£9.99 activation fee and 18 month minimum term applies.
bt Get a £50 Prepaid Reward card and money off BT Unlimited broadband, for just £23.99/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 3 days!
27 November 2017
£9.99 delivery fee and 18 month minimum term applies.

See further details, prices and search packages in our main BT review.

TalkTalk offers

Offer Terms
talktalk TalkTalk Black Friday: 50% off Kids Boost - Fast Broadband, TV Entertainment and Kids TV bundle for just £27.45/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 6 days!
30 November 2017
Price includes line rental. 12 month minimum term applies. £5 one off cost, free TV Plus Box included.
talktalk TalkTalk Black Friday: Get Fast Broadband for just £18.95/mth.

Hurry! Offer ends in 6 days!
30 November 2017
Price includes line rental. 12 month minimum term applies. No set-up fee.
talktalk TalkTalk Black Friday: Get Faster Fibre broadband for just £25/mth.

Hurry! Offer ends in 6 days!
30 November 2017
Price includes line rental. 18 month minimum term applies. No set-up fee.
talktalk TalkTalk Black Friday: 50% off Entertainment boost - Faster Fibre, TV Plus and 30 extra Entertainment channels just £31/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 6 days!
30 November 2017
Price includes line rental. 18 month minimum term applies. No set-up fee, free TV plus box included

See further details, prices and search packages in our main TalkTalk review.

Virgin Media offers

Offer Terms
virgin media Get a free 6 month Netflix Subscription with Virgin Media Bundles

Hurry! Offer ends 18 December 2017
12-month contract. £20 activation fee. Excludes the Player Bundle.
virgin media TV, broadband and phone bundles from £30 a month 12-month contract. £20 activation fee.
virgin media Broadband and phone from £29 a month 12-month contract. £20 activation fee.

See further details, prices and search packages in our main Virgin Media review.

Get the best Sky Sports deal

Prices aren't everything however, especially considering the number of Sky Sports channels available with each provider varies.

Here's a quick rundown of the Sky Sports channels it's possible to get, who offers them and what they show:

Channel(s) What's on Available with
Sky Sports 126 Premier League games, new week night debate show. Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports Cricket Every home test, plus cricket from around the world Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports Golf Live coverage, watch the Majors as well as the European and PGA Tours plus all the live action from the Solheim Cup Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports Football Live football every week: Watch the EFL, Carabao Cup, SPFL and La Liga, plus Euro 2020 qualifiers. Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Arena All of the action from International and European Rugby Union, Rugby League, tennis, boxing, NFL, GAA and darts Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports F1 The only place to watch every Formula 1 practice, qualifying and race live Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
Sky Sports Main Event Showcasing the biggest and best live events on Sky Sports BT Infinity customers
Sky
Virgin Media
TalkTalk
BT Sport 1, 2, Europe Some Premier League games. UEFA Champions and Europa League games, European football FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, and Bundesliga. Aviva Premiership rugby and NASCAR. BT TV
Plusnet TV: £5/month
Virgin Media: XL or £18/month (inc. ESPN)
Sky: from £5 to £19.95/month
ESPN (part of BT Sport) US sports like Basketball and American Football. BT TV
Plusnet TV: £5/month
Virgin Media: XL or £18/month (inc. ESPN)
Sky: from £5 to £19.95/month
British EuroSport NFL, Snooker and winter sports among others. BT TV
Sky Variety and Box Sets
Virgin Media M+, L and XL

There's a wide range of sports and fixtures with Sky's Main Event channel, but that's no good if they don't have the games we want.

Premiership football followers already know that the war over rights between BT and Sky means both have some exclusive matches, although Sky still have the lion's share.

BT have fought back, though, and they're now the only place to find any live UEFA League action.

Sky's rivals also have coverage of matches from six European and World leagues, including Serie A, Bundesliga and Brasileirao.

Cricket fans have also been caught in the rights wars, as while Sky have the rights to the Ashes when they're played in the UK, BT have secured the rights to the Australian legs for five years from 2017/18.

Meanwhile, while Channel 4 have retained some of the shared rights to F1 and will screen half of the scheduled races, Sky Sports remains the only place viewers can see coverage of all 20 races, plus qualifiers.

Sky Sports Mix is the newest channel in Sky's sporting line up; it's available to all Sky and Virgin Media customers free of charge.

Sky say it'll feature a wide range of sports and fixtures, with the occasional big ticket event, but it's basically there to tempt viewers to sign up for more.

That means the decision will probably come down to price.

Is Sky Sports available in your area?

While Virgin Media have the fastest broadband, where they fall down is that they're the least widely available of the providers we've mentioned, with only about 50% of households having access to their network.

Similarly, Sky Sports may now be available on BT Youview, but only for those with Infinity. That means it's only available where BT have rolled out their fibre service - roughly 90% of the UK at present.

TalkTalk customers, who can get Sky Sports with or without fibre, don't face such limitations, although again, their service isn't completely nationwide.

So to find out which providers it's worth looking at, check their availability using the box below:

Postcode:
Enter your postcode above to check availability in your area.

Sky Sports extras

With the prices so close, it's also well worth comparing a few extras from each provider.

One particular area that might be worth looking into is HD.

Sky Sports is known to be a particular driving force behind the take up of HD TV in the UK - but it's not cheap. The HD pack costs an extra £6 a month - and is only available with the Box Sets Bundle (previously known as the Family Bundle) - while Virgin Media charge a further £7 a month for extra detail.

BT TV customers face paying an extra £6 a month for their Sky Sports in HD. Their standard HD pack costs £5 a month, but doesn't include Sky Sports.

BT also say that people wanting to watch or record more than one HD channel at a time will need an Infinity download speed of more than 30Mb.

If the cost and technicalities like this don't put you off, see our guide to the best HD TV providers.

Ultra HD

For those for whom Sky Sports in HD isn't enough, Sky Q now offers some of that content in ultra HD.

Only customers with the 2TB box and a Multiscreen subscription (what was known at the service's launch as the Sky Q Silver bundle) can get the ultra HD service - but alongside entertainment and documentaries, they'll be able to see 124 Premier League fixtures in four times the detail of standard HD.

As Sky now offer the Sky Q boxes as standard with all their TV bundles, there are three basic deals available with at least some ultra HD content, listed below:

Package Channels Monthly price
sky Sky Q Multiscreen: Original Bundle + Sky Sports 286 + 7 Sky Sports £61.50
sky Sky Q Multiscreen: Variety Bundle + Sky Sports 326 + 7 Sky Sports £71.50
sky Sky Q Multiscreen: Box Sets Bundle + Sky Sports 365 + 7 Sky Sports £77.50

Oddly, while getting Sky Sports in HD costs at least an extra £6 a month on top of the cost of upgrading to the Box Sets Bundle, getting Sky Sports in Ultra HD when available is included in the basic subscription price.

There's more on the features and quirks of Sky Q in our full guide.

Sky Go

For the kind of sports fan so unwilling to miss a match they'll watch at their desk on a screen the size of a postage stamp, there's Sky Go.

Since July 2011, the Sky Go service has offered live streaming of all the sports channels, plus catch up services for Sky Sports and Sky Sports News, on devices ranging from laptops to tablets to smartphones.

Subscribers can register up to four devices, and watch on two of them at the same time.

Sky Go Extra, available for £5 a month or free with Sky Q Multiscreen, allows users to download video to extra devices.

Those tempted by Sky Go Extra but not convinced that they need or want Sky Q Multiscreen as well should be aware that it can sometimes be bought cheaper depending on Sky's offers at the time - have a look at our existing customer deals page for more detail.

To take advantage of the full range of online content, subscribers must have Sky broadband unlimited or Sky fibre unlimited.

Virgin Media Tivo

Virgin Media's Tivo boxes are some of the best set top boxes on the market.

As well as clever little features like WishLists that mean the box will automatically record games or notify us when they're coming up, the service got "red button" interactivity in 2012 - which means multiple viewpoints, stats and replays for sports fans.

With the introduction of red button functionality also came Football First - previously only available through Sky - offering extended highlights of Premier League games.

Tivo customers with compatible devices - anyone with iOS 9.0 and above, and those with Android mobiles and tablets running 4.1 or above - can also use Virgin TV Anywhere.

People who don't have a Tivo compatible device but do have a Sky Sports subscription can use the Sky Sports app for iOS and Android instead, or watch via the website.

We've a full guide to Virgin's Tivo box.

Now TV

We said above that there's no on demand services available with Now TV's Sky Sports passes.

But Now TV is available via an app on a variety of devices - which means that anyone who has a Sky Sports pass can watch the live channels wherever they are, whenever they want - as long as they've a decent wi-fi or data signal.

Find out more on Now TV.

BT online player

BT customers might feel like they miss out somewhat. They only have access to Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Extra, and they can't watch anywhere but on their main TV. BT do have an online player and app, but it only covers the BT Sport channels.

Meanwhile customers who take BT's TV Everywhere service can't take Sky Sports - or Sky Movies. They may be able to access a selection of their subscription channels on their mobile devices, but they'll have to find some other way of getting Sky Sports.

Comments

1
21 July 2014
Annette

My ideal world would be super fast broadband and no TV subscription as we don't watch anything that can't be seen online and we have multiple iPads, phones etc for everyone to watch from. Unfortunately the hubby needs every sports channel going and that ends up with a £90 Sky bill every month! Is there a way to get closer to what we want?

2
17 January 2013
Alan Craddock

75 year old, love my sports particularly cricket... moved from Sky to Virgin Media in November thinking it would be cheaper. I have broadband, anytime phone and the full package apart from Movies. The price has increased already by £4 a month making it unaffordable. Sky and Virgin Media are costing out retired people... the cost to me being a quarter of my monthly pension. These companies are shooting themselves in the foot with their greed... my cancellation is due when contract ends in April!

18 September 2013
Save yourself some money.

Call your provider, if you have no discounts or offers on your account you will be eligible for one. Tell them you can't afford the payments, milk it a bit and tell them your only enjoyment in life is your sports. They will discount your package for you with no affect on your current package term.

Basically you'll get everything you do now but it will be cheaper.

I'm with Sky, have fibre broadband, HD package, all channels except, Sky Sports and ESPN and I pay around £58 per month.

3
4 December 2012
Kev

Hi, was just wondering if anyone knows if you'll ever be able to access the red button while using the TalkTalk player and watching Sky. As it stands you can't really get the full out of what you pay for, as you can only watch what's on and not the other stuff accessed with the red button. Please email me if you have any helpful info, thanks.


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