BT Sport vs Sky Sports

ByDuncan Heaney
BT Sport v Sky Sport logo

If you're passionate about watching sport, you basically have two choices: BT Sport and Sky Sports. We put them head to head to see which is better for content, Premier League coverage, price and more.

For a long time, TV sport in the UK was Sky Sports. Not only did it nab most of the big championships and matches, it was pretty much the only game in town. All that changed with the arrival of BT Sport in 2013. Suddenly, for the first time since it launched in 1991, Sky Sports had a proper competitor, and the battle has been raging ever since.

So, how do BT Sport and Sky Sports compare? Which is cheaper? And, ultimately, which is the best? Don your jock strap and let's kick off.

BT Sport and Sky Sports deals

Here are some packages that contain BT Sport or Sky Sports.

Deals with BT Sport and Sky Sports

Sky
BT
Virgin Media
Sports Bundle + Broadband Unlimited Starter + Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls Full House TV Bundle
£785.87 Total first year cost £347.87 Total first year cost £680.00 Total first year cost
£62.16 p/m for 18 months £39.95 setup costs 18 month contract £23.99 p/m for 12 months £59.99 setup costs 12 month contract £55.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract
Up To 17 Mb Up To 17 Mb Up To 200 Mb
Pay as you go Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
Channels 119 Channels 84 Channels 258
33% off Sky TV Offer ends 29/06/17 Online exclusive - £25 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 29/06/17 V6 TiVo Box
Go
Call Sky on 0800 759 1469
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7

If you want to see more deals, compare your options here

What sports can you watch? 

Their advertising may centre on football, but both BT Sport and Sky Sports show loads of different sports - rugby, golf, cricket, motorsport… the list goes on. Here are just some of the things you can watch on each service:

Sport BT Sport Sky Sports

Football

Premier League, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, Australian A-League, Bundesliga, FA Cup, FA Trophy, Ligue 1, Serie A, UEFA Europa League, Women's Super League, Vanarama National League, Liga NOS

Premier League, Scottish Premier League, EFL, Scottish Cup, La Liga, Championship, League 1, League 2, Eredivisie, MLS League, Chinese Super League

Rugby

Aviva Premiership, Champions Cup, Challenge Cup

Heineken Cup, Champions Cup, RFU, IRB Sevens, Super 15, Super League, Guinness Pro 12

Cricket

Ashes, Big Bash League

Cricket World Cup, County Championship, international cricket, Yorkshire Bank 40

Golf

 -

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

Tennis

WTA

ATP World Tour, French Open

Motor racing

MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, World Rally Championship, IndyCar Series, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, Supercars Championship

Formula One, GP2, GP3, Speedway

Boxing

 -

IBF, WBA, WBO

US Sports

NBA, NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football, Major League Baseball, American College Sports, Major League Lacrosse

MLS League

Other

Red Bull Crashed Ice, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

WWE

WINNER: Both Sky Sports and BT Sport have an impressively wide variety of sports to watch, but when it comes to sheer breadth of choice, Sky Sports just about clinches the win.

Premier League football

BT Sport currently shows 42 exclusive live Premier League games per season. A bunch of those are 'top pick' matches, meaning BT Sport will show some of the clashes between the bigger Premier League clubs, such as Manchester United and Chelsea.

In comparison, Sky Sports shows 126 exclusive live Premier League matches per season, which is three-quarters of all the Premier League matches broadcast live on TV in the UK.

WINNER: Sky Sports. Although BT always nabs some big games, the sheer quantity of Premier League football on Sky still makes it the best choice for fans.

Availability

You don't have to get BT Sport and Sky Sports from their respective providers. Other TV services include them in their packages, and you can also watch online. Not every service is available from every provider though - oh no, that would be far too easy.

BT Sport is available in these ways:

  • BT TV - You get the full BT Sport pack to watch on TV and online with BT TV packages. There are no extra charges - it's in your package as standard. (From 1 August 2017, this is changing, though - it'll be free with the top-tier BT Total Entertainment, or £3.50 per month with other BT TV packages.)
  • Virgin Media - BT Sport can be added onto any Virgin Media package. It's also included as standard in the Full House and VIP bundles.
  • Sky TV - You can get BT Sport for an additional monthly charge. You can't get it from Sky directly as part of a bundle, so you'll need to sign up once you already have Sky TV up and running.
Football in back of the net

Here's how you get Sky Sports:

  • Sky TV - You can add Sky Sports to any package at any time. Alternatively, you can switch to the Sky Sports Bundle, which gives you all of Sky Sports channels, as well as the key entertainment ones like Sky One and Sky Atlantic.
  • TalkTalk - Sky Sports is available as a paid 'Boost' to your TalkTalk TV package. What's good about TalkTalk is that its add-ons roll on a monthly basis - you can cancel them at any time. That makes it the most flexible way to add Sky Sports to a TV package.
  • Virgin Media  - Sky Sports can be added to any Virgin Media TV package for an additional monthly charge. It's also included as standard in the Big Kahuna Sports and VIP bundles.
  • BT - You can add Sky Sports to a BT TV package, provided you have BT Infinity fibre optic broadband. Unlike the other providers in this list, you'll only get two channels: Sky Sports 1 and 2. Both show lots of football, particularly Premier League, so you'll still have plenty to watch.
  • Now TV - You can get a daily, weekly or monthly Sky Sports pass on Now TV. That flexibility makes it especially good if there's a particular match you want to watch.

WINNER: Draw. BT Sport and Sky Sports are both widely available. The only way to get everything directly is with Virgin Media, but you should have ways to watch some form of TV sport regardless of which provider you're with.

Cost

As a rule, BT Sport costs less than Sky Sports, but bear in mind that providers often run special offers that can cut the cost dramatically. All the prices below are correct at the time of writing, but may change as new deals come in.

The full BT Sport pack is included in BT TV packages as standard - though that won't be the case from August 2017 onwards. 

On Virgin Media, BT Sport can be added for £18 a month. It's also available in Full House and VIP bundles. And if you have Sky, you can sign up to BT Sport from £22.99 a month (though it's less than that if you have BT Broadband).

Sky Sports can be added to any Sky package for £27.50 a month. Adding it to Virgin Media will cost you £31.75 a month, and the TalkTalk boost will run you £32 a month. On BT TV, Sky Sports 1 and 2 can be added as bolt-ons - check with BT for current pricing.

TV sports deals

Sky
BT
Virgin Media
Sports Bundle + Broadband Unlimited Starter + Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls Full House TV Bundle
£785.87 Total first year cost £347.87 Total first year cost £680.00 Total first year cost
£62.16 p/m for 18 months £39.95 setup costs 18 month contract £23.99 p/m for 12 months £59.99 setup costs 12 month contract £55.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract
Up To 17 Mb Up To 17 Mb Up To 200 Mb
Pay as you go Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
Channels 119 Channels 84 Channels 258
33% off Sky TV Offer ends 29/06/17 Online exclusive - £25 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 29/06/17 V6 TiVo Box
Go
Call Sky on 0800 759 1469
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7

WINNER: BT Sport typically works out cheaper than Sky Sports. (Prices correct at the time of writing)

Verdict

All this brings us back to the original question: which is better, BT Sport or Sky Sports? Ultimately, there is no right answer here because so much depends on the particular sports you want to watch. If you're mad about F1, for example, you'll want Sky Sports. If you're a UEFA Champions League fanatic, it's BT or bust.

So here's our considered advice: think about what you want to see, and which service shows them - the better service will become clear. Then use our comparison service to find it for the best price.

Compare sports packages

 

Topics: Digital TV BT Sky

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