Sky has announced a major overhaul of its sports channels, meaning those who only want to watch certain sports can save by avoiding paying for all channels.
From Tuesday 18 July Sky Sports will replace the current eight Sky Sports channels with 10, mainly split by the type of sport they show.
The current standard price of £27.50/month for the lot will stay, but you'll also be able to pick and choose which channels you get – something you can't do now – which gives viewers the chance to pay less.
Choosing one channel will cost £18/mth, which is useful for people who are into, say, just Premier League football or just golf or just Formula One, as there will be dedicated channels for these.
Crucially, the new structure is only available to customers who have a Sky box and are not locked into a Sky Sports contract (whether or not they are a Sky customer).
If you are tied into a plan then it will continue until the expiry date – though as Sky can be easy to haggle with there's no harm in asking for fewer channels. Also see our Digital TV Deals guide for all the top deals.
How much will the new channels cost?
Here are the pricing options for the channels you need to pay for (two are free for Sky subscribers, as you'll see from the channel list further down):
- £18/mth for one channel
- £22/mth for two
- £26/mth for three
- £27.50/mth for all
While these are the official prices, we've seen examples of people haggling much cheaper Sky Sports deals.
We asked an MSE staff member who's a Sky TV customer, on a rolling contract but without Sky Sports, to test how much she could haggle the new channels for. The Sky customer service rep told us she didn't yet have the pricing for the new channels – but we were still able to negotiate the entire Sky Sports bundle as an add-on for less than £7, so it is possible to get a better price.
What will the channels show?
Here is a list of all the channels, some of which are free to Sky subscribers.
- Sky Sports Premier League will show all Sky's 126 live Premier League football matches per season plus highlights and other football shows.
- Sky Sports Football will show over 900 other live games a season including the EFL, EFL Cup, the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup, La Liga, Major League Soccer and Eredivisie.
- Sky Sports Cricket will show every home England match live plus the County Championship, T20 Blast and more.
- Sky Sports Golf will show The Open Championship, US Open, European Tour, PGA Tour and more.
- Sky Sports F1 will show every Formula 1 race live, plus other motor racing events.
- Sky Sports Action will focus on rugby, tennis, darts, boxing, NFL, WWE, Gaelic Athletic Association sports and netball.
- Sky Sports Arena will show similar to Action.
- Sky Sports Main Event (only available via the full package) will air a selection of the biggest matches and events from the other channels – including live Premier League football, Ryder Cup golf, England test cricket, international rugby union and F1.
- Sky Sports Mix (free for Sky subscribers) will continue to provide a selection of sports programmes or matches from the other channels. It is unlikely to show the big events, though.
- Sky Sports News (free for Sky subscribers) will continue to show 24hr sports news.
It's worth noting that you have to pay extra through Sky Sports Box Office for some premium events, such as big boxing events.
I'm mid-contract on Sky Sports – what does this mean for me?
If you're already signed up to Sky Sports and within your minimum contract term, the trimmed down package option isn't available until your term expires. Yet there's no harm in calling Sky and seeing if you can haggle a better deal. See our Haggle with Sky guide for full information.
I'm a Now TV customer – will the changes affect me?
No. You'll still be able to purchase a one-day, week or month-long pass for Sky Sports to access the new channels.
I watch Sky Sports via a BT, TalkTalk or Virgin box – what will I get & pay?
TalkTalk, BT and Virgin customers will also have access to new channels, but not all of them.
- BT operates on a different structure as customers only receive Sky Sports 1 and 2 at the moment. After 18 July they will only receive Sky Sports Main Event and a different channel called Sky Sports Extra, which is a secondary Main Event channel.
- TalkTalk customers receive the whole lot now except Sky Sports Mix, and that won't change.
- Virgin Media has yet to tell us what it's doing – we'll update this story when we've heard back.