If you want to watch live Premier League football, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Ryder Cup and other major sporting events, you’ll need to sign up for specialist sports channels. Here we take a look at the best TV sport deals.
What's the best sports TV provider?
If you're really serious about your sport and don't mind paying for the best coverage on the market, your choice is between Sky Sports and BT Sport.
With 11 dedicated sports channels, Sky has 128+ live Premier League games every year, as well as EFL, Formula One, the PGA Tour, NFL and top-flight cricket.
Meanwhile, BT Sport is the home of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. It also offers 52 live Premier League games per year, Premiership Rugby, NBA – to name just a few.
What's more, you can often combine Sky Sports and BT Sport to get the best of both worlds. Virgin Media TV does this really well, with many of its bundles automatically including both.
On the other hand, if you're on a budget or just want to watch the odd game, we'd recommend a NOW Sports Membership. It offers access to all 11 Sky Sports channels on a pay-as-you-go basis. You can get these for one day or one month, so you don't have to commit to a long-term contract.
Read on to find out how to watch sports with each provider.
It’s a good way to get access to the sports you care about. If you’re a keen armchair golfer, with no interest in Formula 1, for example, you can simply choose Sky Sports Golf. If you’re passionate about football, you can just get Sky Sports Premier League and Football channels.
The truly sports-mad should go for the complete Sports pack, which gives you all dedicated sports channels, along with Sky Sports Main Event, which showcases the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need to be a Sky broadband customer to get Sky TV. But if you do want to bundle Sky broadband with Sky Sport, you can certainly do that.
You can also add BT Sport to your Sky TV package, either on a 12-month contract or a one-month rolling one. Visit our page on BT Sport to find out how to do this.
Want Sky Sports, but you’re not a Sky TV customer? A NOW Sports Membership gives you just that – more on NOW Broadband below.
First, if you’re already a BT fibre broadband customer, you can add a BT TV package to your plan. All four BT Sport channels and BoxNation are included as standard on BT’s Sport, Big Sport and VIP packages, and can be added to any other BT TV package for an additional fee.
Even better, the Big Sport and VIP plans also include a NOW Sports Membership with 11 Sky Sports channels – which, again, you can add to other plans.
Although you can only get BT TV if you have BT broadband, there are still other ways to get BT Sport. Virgin Media and Sky both offer it, either as part of a bundle or added on as an extra.
The best – and cheapest – way to do this is to get BT Sport’s contract-free Monthly Pass. It works like a streaming service, which you can watch via web player or the BT Sport App, and even cast it to your TV screen. Moreover, you can get it no matter which broadband provider you’re with.
Plusnet also offers access to the BT Sport App, at a discounted rate.
Although it’s owned by Sky, NOW TV handles its sports packages a little differently. Rather than the traditional pay-TV mode, you can sign up to NOW TV like a subscription service:
- Sky Sports Day Membership – gives you access to Sky Sports for 24 hours. Great if you just want to watch a particular match, or one-off event
- Sky Sports Month Membership – get Sky Sports for a whole month. If you’re a big sports fan, this is the one to go for
This way, you can get access to all 11 Sky Sports channels, hassle-free – no need to deal with set-top boxes or long-term contracts.
You can watch on your smartphone, tablet, laptop and smart TV, as well as via the TalkTalk TV 4K Box.
And the beauty of NOW Memberships is that it’s the most flexible way to get Sky Sports – you can sign up to a monthly rolling contract and cancel as and when you want.
The easiest way to do this is through one of Virgin Media’s TV, broadband and phone bundles: Bigger bundle + Sports, Biggest TV bundle and Ultimate Volt bundle. These come with all Sky Sports and BT Sport channels pre-selected for you, so you’ll have instant and easy access to live games and roundups.
Alternatively, there are some options if you want a bit more flexibility and customisation. You can add the BT Sport Collection channel pack and/or the Sky Sports channel pack to any Virgin Media TV package, both of which are available on a rolling 30-day contract. Plus, you can upgrade your Sky Sports pack to high definition for an extra cost.
With Plusnet, you can get BT Sport in a variety of ways.
First, you can get the BT Sport App through Plusnet at a discounted rate. This gets you all four BT Sport channels and BoxNation, which you can watch on a variety of devices and even cast to your TV via Chromecast.
Otherwise, if you’re a Plusnet broadband customer who also happens to have Sky TV, it’s easy to add BT Sport to your package.
What is the best sports TV package?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for and what your budget is.
If you want the biggest selection of sports, you’ll likely want a combination of BT Sport and Sky Sports channels – this way, you’ll be able to watch pretty much any sport that’s televised. Plus, many providers let you add both to your package.
Virgin Media is a strong choice, with several of its bundles already boasting the full range of BT Sport and Sky Sports channels, plus the ease of adding them to other packages as you please. At the top end of the scale is its Ultimate Volt Bundle, which gets you BT Sport in 4K Ultra HD and Sky Sports in Ultra HD.
However, having both sports services from Virgin Media will cost you quite a bit of money. Not to mention, Virgin Media broadband isn’t quite as widely available as other providers – you can only get Virgin Media TV if you can get its broadband in your area.
Each one offers something a little different – for example, Sky Sports has the lion’s share of Premier League games, while BT Sport has exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League – so it’s important to consider what you want. And if you decide you want both, each provider makes it easy to bundle them together.
On a budget and looking for sports with no contract? The NOW Sports Membership is easy to recommend. You sign up for it like a streaming service, either for one day or one month, and you’re free to cancel after that.
What’s more, many providers offer NOW Sports Memberships as an add-on. It’s definitely the most flexible and affordable way to watch Sky Sports channels.
Watching sports online on a laptop or phone
Can’t make it to your TV but want to watch a game on the go? Nowadays you’re no longer confined to just sitting in front of the big screen. There are many apps and web players where you can stream from your phone, tablet or laptop – any time, any place.
- BT Sport app – lets you access every BT Sport channel from your device in HD quality. There are some handy functions, like the enhanced video player, a spoiler-free catch-up service and the ability to Chromecast or Airplay onto big screens. You can also download the BT TV web player app to your desktop. Available to all BT Sport customers and with the Monthly Pass
- Sky Go app – watch all Sky Sports channels live or on-demand. Depending on your subscription, you can watch live on up to four devices at the same time, as well as remotely record/download programmes to your Sky TV box. You can also download the Sky Sports Player to your computer. Included at no extra cost to Sky TV customers, as well as Virgin Media TV customers with a Sky Sports subscription. Plus, Sky Mobiles can enjoy Sky TV without using up any data
- Virgin TV Go app – watch BT Sport and Sky Sports channels through Virgin Media’s app, which lets you register on up to five devices and view on two at the same time. You can also download their respective apps and web players, if you prefer
- NOW Sports Membership – as it’s essentially a streaming service, you can watch all Sky Sports channels either online at NOWTV.com, or via the app which can be downloaded to over 60 different devices
- BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub – both show their coverage of the FIFA World Cup on their respective online platforms and apps (you’ll need a TV licence in the case of BBC, though)
Can you get sports TV packages for businesses?
BT and Sky both offer sports TV packages tailored specifically for businesses:
- BT offers BT Sport packages for pubs, bars, hotels, clubs and other businesses at btsportbusiness.com
- Sky offers Sky Sports packages, as well as many other sports channels, for pubs, bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants and even care homes and offices at skyforbusiness.sky.com
Can you get sports TV-only packages?
While you can’t get Virgin Media TV without broadband on the website, they encourage you to get in touch by calling 0800 064 3850 for a Virgin TV-only deal.
However, with most pay TV providers, you’ll also be paying for additional channels and subscriptions alongside sports. If you want a TV package dedicated to sports channels only, your best bet is to subscribe to a NOW Sports Membership, which gives you 11 Sky Sports channels and nothing else.
What are the best ways to watch sport?
If you have more questions on how to watch BT Sport or Sky Sports, or you simply want to work out which will be best for you, check out our handy guides below: