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Watch the Premier League for less

20+ tips to find the cheapest football package

The 2014/15 season might be drawing to a close, but many are already planning how to watch Premier League games next season.

Pricing is more art than science, so if you're a UK viewer check out our 20+ tips to cut the cost of your footie fix.

First analyse what you want based on the football you'll watch

This is all about just how much of a fanatic you are, so home in on the best deal based on exactly how much football you'll watch.

Sky Sports has the rights to the majority of live TV games - but BT Sport has some corkers as well

Sky Sports & BT Sports

There'll be 154 Premier League games in the 2015/16 season shown live on UK TV. Sky has the rights to the majority of games, some 116, while the remaining 38 are with BT.

Sky also recently secured the right to a higher number of games for the three seasons running from 2016-2017 (at a record-breaking cost of £4.2 billion). It will be broadcasting 126 out of 168 games each season, compared to BT's 42 games.

Be warned though, buying access to every live game isn't MoneySaving by anyone's book. To see which matches each channel has check the Sky Sports and BT Sport live matches lists.

More info on Sky Sports

More info on BT Sport

Sky Sports is cheapest on BT but if you love sport, you'll miss other big events

BT allows you to add Sky Sports to its TV packages, but only Sky Sports 1 and 2. This gives you access to all the Premier League games Sky covers, but you'll miss out on Spanish football and Formula One.

If you take the full Sky Sports package with Sky or Virgin, you'll get access to all seven Sky Sports channels, including the newest, Sky Sports 5, which covers European football.

New customers with Sky can get 25% off Sky Sports plus £75 in bill credit

If you're looking for a new TV deal, this Sky offer is decent option if you want to watch all live Premier League games (though you need to add BT Sport on top). While you get it for a good price though, it's still a substantial outlay.

Sky

Sky Sports and Sky TV 25% off plus £75 bill credit*Plus half-price broadband if you take the line rent

Until Thu 25 Jun, new Sky* customers can get 25% off a year's contract on all its TV packages (excluding the HD upgrade) plus a £75 bill credit. A one-off £10 set-up fee applies.

Here's a quick breakdown of the deal:

  • 25% off the Sky Sports bundle. The Sports bundle, including Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports F1. Reduced from £47/mth to £35.25/mth. See here for other the other bundles that are available.
  • £75 in bill credit. You'll get £75 in credit added to your first bill.
  • Half-price broadband if you take its line rent. With Sky's £16.40/mth line rent, you can opt for a year's half-price unlimited b'band (£3.75/mth on a 12mth contract) or six months' half-price fibre (£10/mth for 6mths, then £20/mth for rest of the 18mth contract) You'll have to pay £6.95 for a router and it's £20 installation if you need a new line (or to change from cable).
  • £10 set-up fee. This is unavoidable whatever TV package you get, and isn't reduced.

More info on this deal.

Already got a TV package? Haggle a discount

Haggle that discount!

If you've already got a TV package with sports from Sky, Virgin, BT or TalkTalk, you could try haggling with your current provider to get the sports channels at a discounted rate (or even free!).

Watching every game isn't MoneySaving, but you can with Virgin

Virgin offers a range of packages - one advantage of Virgin over BT is that you can't get Sky Sports in HD on BT.

Virgin Media

Sky Sports & BT Sport* Plus superfast unlimited b'band

If you want to watch every game and get unlimited fibre-optic broadband, it won't be cheap, but the most cost-effective option is getting Virgin's Big Kahuna* package on an 18-month contract and then adding in Sky Sports.

For new customers it's £79.98/mth for 12 months, and then £101.49/mth after that, including line rental. BT Sport is included. Plus, until Tue 19 May you get a 'free' wireless speaker on top.

  • Virgin Media TV. This gives a 500GB TiVo set-top box and 230+ channels, including 46 channels in HD.

  • Fibre broadband. Superfast unlimited fibre broadband with speeds of up to 152Mb. Available to 50% of the UK.

  • Weekend calls. Unlimited weekend calls to landlines, 0870 numbers and Virgin mobiles for a maximum 60 mins - hang up and redial to avoid additional charges.
  • Make it HD. BT Sport comes as standard with HD on this bundle. Add Sky Sports in HD for an additional £7/mth.

  • Line rental at £16.99/mth or £164/year (equiv £13.67/mth). Line rental's usually £16.99/mth, but if you call 0345 840 7777 after signing up via the above link, you can opt to pay upfront for a year at £164.
    Crucially you need to phone to do this BEFORE installation, otherwise you'll pay more. Then it's £16.99/mth for the remaining six months of the contract.

Don't want to pay? It's possible to watch loads of football on TV absolutely free

If you just want to watch football and don't care whether it's the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup or internationals, you can do so for free on BBC and ITV through Freeview.

BT broadband customers automatically get 'free' BT Sport

BT markets its BT Sport channel as free to broadband customers, but you'll need its superfast broadband and line rental to get it through your TV so there's more to it than that.

BT Sport

BT Sport 'free' with BT Starter + Unlimited BT Infinity 1*Add Sky Sports 1 and 2 for £22/mth

You can watch BT Sport through your TV if you take out BT's superfast Infinity broadband. To get all the Sky Sports channels too you'd have to pay an additional £22/mth on top.

BT newbies can get its Starter + BT Infinity 1* package (it's the first one on the page) on a 12-month contract:

  • BT TV Starter and Infinity broadband. It's £7.50/mth. The TV includes Freeview channels and a box to live pause and rewind. Be warned - after the year's up it shoots up to £21.50/mth. Speed is up to 38Mb, with a 20GB monthly download limit. Available to 75% of the UK.

  • Compulsory line rental. It costs £16.99/mth, or £183.48 for a year if you pay upfront.

  • £49 activation fee. Sadly, you'll have to pay £49 for broadband and TV activation. There's also a £6.95 router p&p charge.

More info on this deal.

Three months' half-price Sky Sports for TalkTalk customers, plus £75 voucher

TalkTalk requires you to take its broadband and line rental if you want its TV service. It's one of the cheapest packages around but it only includes Freeview and catch-up services, not the hundreds of channels you get with Sky or Virgin.

Adding Sky Sports via the deal below makes it good value, although you can't get BT Sport with TalkTalk so it's no good if you want to watch all Premier League games.

BT Sport

Sky Sports half-price for three months with TalkTalk + £75 Love2Shop vch* Plus 25% off TV, broadband and phone for six months

Until Thu 21 May, new customers to TalkTalk's Essentials TV* bundle taking out an 18-month contract can add Sky Sports at half price for three months, gaining access to all seven Sky Sports channels. Bear in mind, though, that with the Premier League season ending in May this might not be the best deal. Plus, until Thu 21 May you'll also get a £75 Love2Shop voucher on top.

  • TalkTalk Essentials TV, unlimited broadband and calls. This costs £7.50/mth for six months, then £10/mth for the next 12 months. You'll get up to 17Mb speeds, with no monthly download limits. It's available to 85% of the UK.

  • Sky Sports. You can get Sky Sports half price at £15/mth for three months. To be eligible, you have to sign up for a minimum of three months. You can cancel any time after that (more info below), otherwise the price will increase to £30/mth.

  • Line rental. It's currently £16.70/mth, so £300.60 over 18 months. When you sign up you can choose to pay £180.36 upfront for the first year, then £16.70/mth for the remaning six months - £280.56 in total, equiv to £15.59/mth.

  • £75 Love2Shop voucher, spendable at Boots, Argos & more than 80 other stores. Once the broadband's live, as soon as you log into your TalkTalk account to do anything, the voucher'll be sent (takes up to 28 days). Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, etc. If you need a new line installed you won't get the voucher.

  • Need a new line? If you need a new line installed it's £20.

More info on this deal

Check how the costs for new customers stack up

The pricing for getting different services via different providers can be fiendishly complicated, so we've drawn up a table below setting out all the possible combinations. We've based our comparisons on taking a basic TV package, broadband and line rental, though you'll need to pay activation fees on top. We've also included a column with the best current deals if you want to get both Sky Sports and BT Sport, though TalkTalk doesn't show BT Sport.

BT and TalkTalk packages come with basic TV whereas Sky and Virgin have far more channels - so factor that into your comparison. Virgin's bundles below also come with superfast fibre broadband, whereas TalkTalk's and Sky's don't.

Cost of getting digital TV, line rental and broadband packages with sports channels
(HD prices in brackets)
Provider with Sky Sports with BT Sport with Sky Sports & BT Sport with Sky Sports and BT Sport, on a deal Comments
BT
(with BT standard broadband)
£43.49/mth (i)
(HD N/A)
N/A on TV, FREE on an app N/A N/A 10GB monthly download limit. BT Sport is only free online via an app and online player with BT standard broadband. Only if BT Infinity is not available in your area will you be able to get BT Sport free on your TV.
BT
(with BT fibre broadband)
£46.49/mth (i)
(HD N/A)
£24.49/mth (HD £27.49) £46.49/mth
(HD N/A)
Discounted package for 12mths
BT Sport is free to watch on your TV with BT Infinity (and standard BT broadband if Infinity isn't available in your area). You need BT Infinity and a BT Vision+ Box to add Sky Sports 1 & 2. A one-off £49 activation fee applies for TV and Infinity.
Sky
£51.65/mth
(£56.90/mth)
£46.03/mth
(£49.03/mth)
£65.15/mth
(£73.40/mth)
£75 bill credit One-off £10 activation fee on top. £15 activation fee to add BT Sport to your Sky TV package unless you sign up for a year's contract.
TalkTalk £53.37/mth equiv
(HD N/A)
N/A N/A Sky Sports half-price for 3mths; £75 vch BT Sport is not available on TalkTalk.
Virgin Media £84.57/mth equiv (£91.57/mth equiv) £55.32/mth equiv (£55.32/mth equiv) (ii) £81.99/mth equiv (£88.99mth) (ii) Discounted package for 12mths BT Sport is included as standard on Virgin's Big Kahuna bundle.
Assumes you take the basic TV service, line rental (paid monthly) and broadband with the provider. Set-up fees are excluded. Table correct as of May 2015. (i) Only Sky Sports 1, 2 and 5 are available on BT TV. (ii) BT Sport HD is included as standard on Virgin's Big Kahuna bundle.

You can add Sky Sports and BT Sport to many existing packages, but prices vary hugely

If you already have a digital TV service but want to add more sports to it, see below for the cost of adding Sky Sports and BT Sport. If you've come here looking for the best deal from scratch to watch every Premier League game live, first pick one of the deals above, then add any extra channels.

Cost to add sports channels for an existing customer
(HD prices in brackets)
Provider add Sky Sports Sky Sports channels available add BT Sport Comments
BT
(with BT standard broadband)
£22/mth
(HD N/A)
N/A N/A on TV, FREE on an app BT Sport is only free online via an app and online player with BT standard broadband. Only if BT Infinity is not available in your area will you be able to get BT Sport free on your TV.
BT
(with BT fibre broadband)
£22/mth
(HD N/A)
Sky Sports 1-2 and 5 (i) No charge
(£3/mth)
BT Sport is free to watch on your TV with BT Infinity. You need BT Infinity and a BT Vision+ Box to add Sky Sports 1 & 2.
Sky
(with Sky broadband)
£25.50/mth
(£30.75/mth)
Sky Sports 1-5, F1 and Sky Sports News HQ £13.50/mth
(£16.50/mth)
£30 activation fee to add BT Sport to your Sky TV package unless you sign up for a year's contract.
Sky
(with BT broadband)
£25.50/mth
(£30.75/mth)
Sky Sports 1-5, F1 and Sky Sports News HQ No charge
(£3/mth)
Whether you have standard BT broadband or BT Infinity, it's free to add BT Sport to Sky TV package.
TalkTalk £30/mth
(HD N/A)
Sky Sports 1-5, and F1 N/A BT Sport not available on TalkTalk.
Virgin Media £29.25/mth
(£36.25/mth)
Sky Sports 1-5, F1 and Sky Sports News HQ £15/mth
(HD included)
BT Sport is also available for free on Virgin Media with the TV XL package.
Assumes you already have the provider's digital TV service, broadband & line rental (unless otherwise stated), and add Sky Sports or BT Sport. Doesn't include special offers (standard pricing only). Table correct as of May 2015. (i) Only Sky Sports 1, 2 and 5 are available on BT TV

BT broadband gets you BT Sport 'free' - but it's pricier than other broadband deals

BT markets its sports channels (BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN) as 'free' for all BT broadband customers. And last year, Virgin Media and BT launched a deal for Virgin TV customers to get access to the BT Sport channels.

But they're not really free, given you'll need to sign up for broadband and line rental, or a TV package, to get them. As BT's broadband and phone service is generally a lot more expensive than other broadband deals (see Cheap Broadband for the best alternatives), the cost of the sports channels is effectively subsidised by pricier broadband and line rental.

All BT broadband customers, regardless of who they get their TV from, can watch the BT Sport channels on the free app for smartphones and tablets or via a web browser on a PC/Mac. It's also possible to stream the content to your TV via your phone/tablet/laptop using Google's Chromecast device (around £30), or simply connect your computer to your TV via an HDMI cable.

If you don't have decent broadband speeds though, bear in mind you may encounter buffering when trying to watch.

How to watch BT Sport: full provider-by-provider breakdown

You can't get BT Sport on TalkTalk TV

Unfortunately, TalkTalk TV customers still don't have access to BT Sport. However, all the Sky Sports channels are available to TalkTalk customers as a subscription add-on though.

You can't get every service everywhere, so check first if deals are available where you live

What is BT Sport?

Because not every service is available everywhere, you'll need to use a postcode checker to find out which are available in your area. Many cable services are not available nationwide, for example.

You can watch live football online for free, but legally it's highly questionable

Watching football online

It’s possible to watch matches live on the internet for free. But the picture quality's often suspect and there are big question marks about the legality of doing this.

Planning to stream games? Beware broadband download limits

If you're a footie fan planning to stream matches over the internet whether via an official service such as Now TV or using one of the more questionable methods above, make sure your broadband connection can handle it and you've got an unlimited download allowance.

If you breach any allowance you could be whacked by huge charges. There's more about download allowances and speeds in our Cheap Broadband guide.

Only pay out for Premier League football if you're sure you can REALLY afford it

Watching every Premier League game on TV is pricey. So, before you sign up for anything, use these money mantras to work out whether you really need to be spending all that money.

You can only get Sky Sports HD on Sky or Virgin

If you’re desperate to watch Sky Sports in crystal-clear HD, then you won’t be able to do so if you get it on a BT TV box.

Do also note it’ll cost extra to watch it in HD. Sky charges an additional £5.25/month and Virgin £7/month. With Sky, that'll get you all available channels in HD, not just Sky Sports. With Virgin, that only gives Sky Sports (and Sky Movies, if you have that too) in HD.

Find a pub showing your team - but you'll need to pay for drinks

MatchPint.co.uk

You could always head down to your nearest pub to get your football fix.

There are loads of other sports to watch on TV, including rugby, darts & cycling

Looking for other sports or something a bit niche? There are loads of other sports channels available in the UK, though if you can get them depends on whether your provider offers them. Some channels may also cost extra - read on for a list of what's available.

At the end of the season, consider cancelling Sky Sports over the summer to save

If you only took out Sky Sports to watch the Premier League, now the season's almost over you can cancel penalty-free and possibly save yourself a few quid.

You do need a TV licence to watch live sports

Obviously you need a TV licence to watch anything on TV, but if you're streaming football (or any other TV) on a computer, phone or tablet as it is being played on TV, you also need a TV licence. If you don't have one you risk a £1,000 fine.

Use specialist cashback sites when signing up to a new TV package

It's often possible to get cashback on top when signing up for a new TV package. Yet it isn't done direct. To get it you'll have to go via a specialist cashback website, such as Topcashback or Quidco.