Best sports TV packages

Tuesday 12th November, 2013 By
Man watching football on TV

Whether you want to watch Barclays Premier League football, Aviva Premiership rugby or Ultimate Fighting Championship, there’s a sports TV package best suited to your needs.

The launch of BT Sport means that, if you're a sports fan, you're more spoilt for choice than ever before when it comes to sports TV packages, with the new group of sports channels providing a genuine alternative to the ubiquitous Sky Sports.

This has also led to more competition in the sports TV market, which can only be good news for you, the customer, as providers vie for your business by offering better deals, improving their service or both.

However, with the country's four leading pay-TV providers each now offering a different selection of sports channels you'll need to do a bit of research to ensure you get the package that best suits your needs - that's where broadbandchoices.co.uk comes in.

BT

Sport on BT TV

Whereas previously the only dedicated sports channels available to BT (www.BT.com) TV customers were Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2 and ESPN, which had to be subscribed to for an extra cost, all that has changed with the launch of BT Sport.

BT Sport is available to all BT broadband customers at no extra cost online or via the BT Sport mobile app, however to watch BT Sport on BT TV, you need to be a BT Infinity and BT TV customer.

BT Sport shows 38 Premier League football matches a season, 18 for which BT has the first choice from the fixtures being played. And, from 2015, BT Sport will be the place to find all the action from both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. The following table provides an at-a-glance guide to the live sports that can be watched on the three BT Sport channels - BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN.

Live sports on BT Sport

Football

Australian A-League, Bundesliga, FA Cup, Ligue 1, Premier League, Scottish Premier League, Serie A, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa League, Women's Super League

Rugby

Aviva Premiership

Tennis

WTA Tennis

Motor sport

IndyCar, MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, NASCAR

American football

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football

Basketball

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Basketball

Extreme sports

Red Bull Crashed Ice

Mixed martial arts (MMA)

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

BT TV and Sky Sports

Two of the six Sky Sports channels - Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 - are available to BT TV customers for an additional fee. The two channels can be subscribed to individually or together at a discounted rate, just add the Sky Sports Bolt-on as your complete your order.

However, Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 are only available to BT TV customers with a BT Vision+ set-top box who live in an area where BT Infinity fibre broadband is available. This is because Sky Sports 1 and 2 are delivered by broadband when subscribed to via BT, rather than by TV aerial.

Sky Sports show 116 Premier League matches live a season, so subscribing to Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 as well as BT Sport will mean you can watch over 150 Premier League matches live each season, which is roughly one-fifth of all the matches played in a Premier League season.

More sports on BT TV

Other sports channels included with BT TV packages

BT TV Essential Extra

BT TV Unlimited Extra

British Eurosport

British Eurosport 2

Sports in HD on BT TV

The following high-definition (HD) sports channels are available via BT TV:

  • BT Sport 1 HD
  • BT Sport 2 HD
  • ESPN HD

Watching sports online with BT

As mentioned previously, BT Sport is available to all BT broadband customers at no extra cost via BTSport.com or BT Sport App. The app will be compatible with iPhones, iPad and iPod touch's using iOS 5 or above and Android smartphones and tablets using Android 4.0 or above.

Compare BT TV packages

Sky

Sport on Sky TV

Despite the launch of BT Sport, satellite TV provider Sky (www.Sky.com) remains the undisputed champion of sports TV in the UK when it comes to breadth of coverage, offering over 20 dedicated sports channels.

Sky Sports & Sky Sports F1

Sky's group of sports channels now comprises Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4, Sky Sports News and dedicated Formula One channel Sky Sports F1.

All six Sky Sports channel can be subscribed to for an extra monthly fee with any Sky TV subscription, but they cannot be subscribed to individually. They can also be subscribed to for an extra monthly fee with a Sky broadband, home phone and TV bundle.

Sky Sports shows 116 Premier League matches live per season - over triple the number BT Sport shows - and every Formula One race. The following table should give you a good idea of what sports are shown live on Sky Sports.

Live sport on Sky Sports

Football

International football, La Liga, npower Championship, npower League 1, npower League 2, Premier League, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Champions League

Rugby

Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup, IRB Sevens, Super 15, Super League

Cricket

County Championship, international cricket, Yorkshire Bank 40

Golf

European Tour, Ryder Cup, US PGA Tour, World Golf Championship

Tennis

ATP World Tour, French Open, US Open

Motor sport

Formula One

Boxing

IBF, WBA, WBO

Other

WWE

Sky and BT Sport

Sky TV customers can subscribe to all three BT Sport channels - BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN - by contacting BT directly. This is the result of a tit-for-tat row between BT and Sky - Sky refuses to make Sky Sports available via YouView from BT and BT refuses to allow Sky to offer BT Sport directly.

You can get all the BT Sport channels on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform for free with BT Broadband. If you are not a BT broadband customer you'll have to pay a monthly fee PLUS an additional activation fee.

As mentioned previously, subscribing to both BT Sport and Sky Sports will allow you to feast your eyes on over 150 live Premier League fixtures per season, which works out at around one-fifth of all Premier League fixtures played per season.

More sports on Sky TV

Sports channels included with Sky TV packs

Sky Entertainment

Sky Entertainment Extra

Sky Entertainment Extra+

At The Races

British Eurosport

British Eurosport 2

Extreme Sports Channel

LFC TV

Motors TV UK

Sky Sports News

Trace Sports

The following sports channels can each be added to any Sky TV package for an extra monthly fee:

  • BoxNation
  • Chelsea TV
  • MUTV
  • Premier Sports
  • Racing UK

Sports in HD on Sky

These are the HD sports channels available via Sky:

  • BT Sport 1 HD
  • BT Sport 2 HD
  • ESPN HD
  • Sky Sports 1HD
  • Sky Sports 2 HD
  • Sky Sports 3 HD
  • Sky Sports 4 HD
  • Sky Sports F1 HD
  • Sky Sports News HD

Watching sports online with Sky

If you are a Sky TV customer you can stream all the channels you subscribe to, including sports channels, live on your PC, Mac, Xbox, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, wherever you are at no extra cost using Sky's online television service Sky Go.

Compare Sky TV packages

TalkTalk

Sport on TalkTalk TV

Unlike BT and Sky, TalkTalk (www.TalkTalk.co.uk), primarily known for providing broadband and home phone, does not have any sports channels of its own. However, dedicated sports channels are available with a TalkTalk TV, broadband and home phone bundle.

TalkTalk and Sky Sports

If you subscribe to a TalkTalk Plus TV, Broadband and Phone bundle you can add the Sky Sports Boost pack, which includes Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4 and Sky Sports F1, to it for an extra monthly fee.

Inconveniently, if you also want Sky Sports News you would need to sign up for the TV Starter Boost, which also includes six Sky entertainment channels, as well as pay another monthly fee. On the upside, TalkTalk TV Boosts do not require a long-term commitment and can be cancelled at any time.

TalkTalk and BT Sport

BT Sport is not currently available via TalkTalk, but BT has said it will look to make BT Sport available on other platforms. However with TalkTalk Plus TV being based on YouView and having Sky Sports, it is very unlikely it will also get BT Sport while Sky Sports remains unavailable via YouView from BT.

Sports in HD on TalkTalk

No HD sports channels are available through TalkTalk.

Compare TalkTalk TV packages

Virgin Media

Sport on Virgin Media TV

As with TalkTalk, Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com) doesn't offer any sports channels of its own. However, Virgin Media TV comes with at least four dedicated sports channels as standard. A further three can be added by upgrading your package, and another five can be added to any package.

Virgin Media and Sky Sports

Sky Sports News, the 24-hour sports news channel from Sky, comes as standard with all Virgin Media TV packages. The other five Sky Sports channels can be added to any Virgin Media TV package for an extra payment each month.

Virgin Media TV customers can subscribe to Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 individually or the Sky Sports collection, which includes Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4 and Sky Sports F1. To see Sky Sports 1 and 2 in HD, a subscription to Sky Premium HD is also required.

All six Sky Sports channels, including Sky Sports 1 and 2 in HD, are also available at no extra cost with the Virgin Media VIP Collection, the provider's top-of-the-range broadband, TV and phone bundle, which also includes fibre optic broadband, a TiVo set-top box and unlimited anytime calls in the UK.

Virgin Media and BT Sport

All three BT Sport channels, and their HD counterparts, come with the Virgin Media TV XL package at no extra cost, whether you're a new or exisiting customer. If you have a Virgin Media TV M, TV M+ or TV L package you can get BT Sport by either upgrading to TV XL or adding it to your current package for £15 extra a month.

If you also add Sky Sports to your Virgin Media TV package you will have every Premier League match that's televised beamed directly into your living room and you will be able to enjoy every one of them in HD. Virgin Media is the only TV provider apart from Sky to offer this level of live Premier League coverage in HD.

More sports on Virgin Media TV

Sports channels included with Virgin TV packages

Virgin Media TV M+

Virgin Media TV L

Virgin Media TV XL

At The Races

British Eurosport

British Eurosport 2

British Eurosport HD

British Eurosport 2 HD

Extreme Sports Channel

LFC TV

Motors TV UK

Sky Sports News

The following sports channels can each be added to any Virgin Media TV package for an extra monthly fee:

  • BoxNation
  • MUTV
  • Racing UK

Sports in HD on Virgin Media

These are the HD sports channels you can get via Virgin Media:

  • British Eurosport HD
  • British Eurosport 2 HD
  • BT Sport 1 HD
  • BT Sport 2 HD
  • ESPN HD
  • Sky Sports 1 HD
  • Sky Sports 2 HD

Watching sports online with Virgin Media

You can watch British Eurosport and British Eurosport 2 live online via PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with any Virgin Media TV package using Virgin TV Anywhere. However, Sky Sports and any other sports channels you subscribe to though Virgin Media cannot be watched online.

Compare Virgin Media TV packages

Plusnet logo

Plusnet

Unlike its bigger rivals BT, Sky and Virgin Media, Plusnet doesn't currently offer a TV service alongside its broadband and home phone packages.

However, if you've got Plusnet broadband, you can get BT Sport on satellite TV - provided you have a Sky dish and set-top box. It'll cost you £5.99 per month in standard definition, or an extra £1.50 to watch in HD.

Guide: BT Sport vs Sky Sports



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