- The market has never been more complicated - with Sky,
Virgin Media, BT and TopUpTV all offering sports
- This year there is more sport in HD (and 3D) than ever
This year, the battle is bigger than ever. Sky is on a high having
already invested heavily in sport in high definition (HD) and is
set to offer a wider range of sport in 3D (available to those with
a 3D Ready TV).
On the other hand, BT still has to demonstrate its sporting
credentials after an underwhelming launch on the TV sports scene
last season - and a reinvigorated Virgin Media will be looking to
increase share in the TV sports market.
As a result, there is a bewildering array of offers and
counter-offers to tempt the armchair sports fan, with some real
bargains to be had.
Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Ofcom accredited TV, broadband and
phone comparison service Simplifydigital.com commented:
"This season there are some great deals on offer from the
three big players - Sky, Virgin Media and BT. They all
recognize that it's a tough time for consumers and so are offering
great savings to attract arm-chair sports fans."
Here is the Simplifydigital.com guide to help you make the right
What's simply the cheapest way to get Sky Sports (on its
If all you want is the Sky Sports Collection (Sky Sports 1, 2, 3,
4 andSky Sports News) for the 115 live FAPL games - Virgin
Media remains the cheapest place to buy it, at £29 per month for
the Sky Sports Collection - with their basic home phone size(M) and
TV size(M+) packages included. This cost excludes line rental of
£12.99 per month and a one-off set up charge of £40.
The cheapest Sky Sports option is £39.75 per month which includes
Sky+ with 1 Entertainment Pack and the Sky Sports Collection.
Customers have the option of adding free Sky Broadband Lite (up to
20 Mbps broadband with a 2 Gig cap) and Sky Talk Freetime (free
evening and weekend calls). This package has a one-off £30 set up
cost and £49 charge for the Sky+ HD box.
What's the cheapest way to get Sky Sports, if I take my
broadband and home phone bills into account?
Sky remains the cheapest place to get the full Sky Sports
Collection when bundled with broadband and home phone services.
Sky's most basic TV, broadband and phone bundle deal including Sky
Sports costs £39.75 per month, excluding line rental. There is a
£30 set up fee and £49 charge for the Sky+ Box.
The Sky package has a number of attractions: it includes the whole
Sky Sports Collection (Sky Sports 1,2,3,4 and Sky Sports News); you
get a much wider range of basic TV channels with your Sky Sports;
and you get a Sky+ HD box, so that you can enjoy BBC and ITV in
However, if you want Sky Sports 1 and 2 only, plus ESPN thrown in
- then BT has become the cheapest option.
BT TV, Broadband and Calls (up to 20 Mbps with a 40 Gig usage
cap), weekend calls plan, with Sky Sports 1 & 2 and ESPN at a
monthly cost of £30.30 (excluding line rental). But there are some
drawbacks with the BT package. First, BT does not carry the
full Sky Sports Collection (which includes Sky Sports 3 and 4), so
you may not see all the live football on BT, if Sky chooses to move
some games to Sky Sports 3 and 4.
There is a £30.00 set up fee, a £60 charge for the BT Vision Box
and the package comes with a 24 month contract. And the
included TV package is very basic (i.e. the Freeview channels), so
you will not get popular channels like Sky 1, and you will not get
any high definition (HD) channels.
What's the cheapest alternative, if you want all the
football action available from Sky Sports and ESPN?
It is important to remember that ESPN will only have 23 Live FAPL
games this season, with the other 23 games moving back to Sky
Sports - taking the Sky Sports total games to over 100.
But if you do want ESPN and Sky Sports, at £30.30 per month, BT
has now become the cheapest place to go, if you sign up to a 24
month contract. But, as mentioned above, you will not get Sky
Sports 3 and 4 with BT. In addition, there is a £60 charge for the
BT Vision Box and £30 set up fee.
So if you want Sky Sports Collection (with all the Sky Sports
channels) and ESPN, you need to go to Sky or Virgin Media.
The cheapest package on Sky which includes Sky Sports Collection
and ESPN, is £48.75 per month, excluding line rental. This includes
Sky Broadband Lite and Sky Talk Freetime thrown in, if you want
them. There is a £30 set-up charge and £49 charge for the Sky+ HD
The equivalent package on Virgin Media is cheaper, costing £35 per
month (excluding line rental of £12.99 per month). For this
you get Virgin Media TV size (M+) which gives a good range of
channels including Sky 1 and home phone size (M) with free weekend
What if I want Sky Sports in high definition?
Sky and Virgin Media are currently the only two places to get Sky
Sports in high definition (but Virgin Media does not have Sky
Sports 3 and 4 in HD).
Virgin Media offers the lowest price alternative. Virgin Media TV
(M+), Sky Sports Collection, Sky Sports 1 & 2 in HD, and
home phone size (M) costs £36.00 per month, excluding line
rental of £12.99 per month and there is a £40 set up charge and
£49.95 cost for the V+ HD set top box.
The cheapest package on Sky, which includes up to 50 HD channels
including the full Sky Sports Collection in high definition costs
£50 per month. This gives you Sky+ with1 Entertainment Pack
and the full Sky Sports Collection in HD. This package comes with a
free Sky+ HD box and no set up costs.
What if I want Sky Sports without a long
TopUpTV has also launched a new Sky Sports deal. They now
offer Sky Sports 1 & 2 for £29.99 per month and Sky Sports 1
& 2 and ESPN, for £39.98 per month.
This is the only Sky Sports deal to come without a contract.
The expert's view - The best way to get Sky Sports this
There are so many ways to buy Sky Sports now: standalone; with
ESPN; as part of a broadband and phone bundle; long contract; no
contract; free set up; with HD; without HD - that it is
impossible to say definitively where to go to buy Sky
It really is a question of talking to an independent expert to
match your household's needs to the best option for you. So
if you would like free and impartial advice to help find the best
TV sports deal for you, you can speak to Simplifydigital experts
for free on 0800 1 388 388.
Charlie Ponsonby concludes:
"We have never seen such a complex digital TV market.
There is so much competing advertising, some of which does a good
job at hiding the true cost of the package, that we strongly
recommend talking to an impartial, Ofcom accredited expert before
taking the plunge."
- ENDS -
Note to editors:
Please note, line rental charges are an additional cost to all
bundles quoted above.
• BT £13.90
• Sky: £11.25 (increasing to £12.25 20 June
• Virgin: £12.99
Simplifydigital.com offers a free and impartial "Switching
Support" service for anyone looking to get a digital TV, broadband
or phone package.
Its London-based impartial experts are available for free over
the phone, to answer all those tricky questions and match the
family's needs to the best deal available.
Simplifydigital.com's experts are available for free on 0800 1
388 388 seven days a week (Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Saturday
9am-5:30pm; Sunday 10-5:30pm).
You can also use Simplifydigital.com's Ofcom accredited
comparison engine online at www.simplifydigital.com.