Watching live football on TV is a regular pastime for many of us, and with the Premier League season kicking off next weekend, now is a good time to work out how to do it as cheaply as possible.
After all, no Premier League games air on terrestrial channels ‒ if you don’t want to rely on Match of the Day highlights, then there will be costs to consider.
The first thing to bear in mind is that Premier League games are shown in three separate places: Sky Sports, TNT Sports (what was previously called BT Sport) and Amazon Prime Video.
The bulk of televised Premier League games are shown on Sky Sports, so if you’re interested in viewing as many Premier League matches as possible, that’s where you want to focus. It’s worth noting that TNT has the rights to live European games too.
Both Sky Sports and TNT Sports are paid-for TV channels, so you will need to add them to your existing TV package, or upgrade your broadband deal to have the channels added on.
- If you already have your broadband with Sky, BT or Virgin Media ‒ and you’re happy with the service you’re getting ‒ then it makes sense to simply upgrade your package. With Sky and BT though, that can mean a lengthy contract commitment.
- But if you get your broadband elsewhere and have no intention of switching over, then the likes of Now TV and the monthly Discovery+ Premium pass (which allows you 30 days of access to TNT Sports) may make more sense. These are also useful options if you’re only interested in particular games, rather than making a point of watching a couple of games a week.
- This is also the case with Amazon Prime Video ‒ if you already make use of the other Prime membership benefits then having some live football on top is a welcome perk. But it’s questionable whether it’s worth signing up to Prime membership just for a game or two during the game weeks when Prime has the rights.
Now TV | £34.99 a month | Cancel anytime
Now TV allows you to sign up for a monthly membership, providing access to a range of Sky TV channels. If you’re focused on watching football, then you’ll want to check out the Sports Membership which allows you to stream all 11 Sky Sports channels.
You can watch on your TV, mobile, laptop ‒ any device that you can connect to the internet, essentially.
There’s also one-day membership, if there’s just one particular game that you want to see, which will set you back £11.98.
Discovery+ Premium | £29.99 a month | Rolling contract
The rebranding of what was previously BT Sport can lead to some confusion when it comes to picking up this particular monthly pass. The Discovery+ Premium Pass includes TNT Sports, so you get access to six different sports channels ‒ as well as the other channels included in the Discovery+ package ‒ for 30 days. You can watch through the app or via the web player.
The pass renews automatically, so make sure you cancel it in good time if you no longer need it.
Sky Sports | £46 a month | 18 month contract
Sky has rights to the most Premier League matches and if you are already a Sky customer, then you can take up the Sky Sports package, which currently costs £20 a month. You have to sign up for a minimum 18-month contract, however.
It’s important to bear in mind that these costs are on top of the regular costs of being a Sky customer. The basic ‘Sky Signature’ pack for example costs £26 a month, so you’re looking at a minimum outlay of £46 a month just for Sky Sports.
Sky customers can also add TNT Sports to their overall package, at a cost of a further £27 a month, again with a minimum 18-month contract.
Sky has introduced monthly rolling contracts for its sports channels too, though it will set you back £27 a month.
BT | £39.99 a month | 24 month contract
BT customers can also snap up TNT Sports as part of their package. You can add the basic sports bundle to your package, which includes all four TNT Sports channels, for £12 a month or the big sport package ‒ which includes all of Sky’s sports channels as well ‒ for £35 a month.
In both cases, these are over a 24-month contract.
As with Sky, these costs are on top of the regular costs of being a BT customer, so with the cheapest deals starting at around £27.99 per month, you’re looking at a total outlay of at least £39.99.
Amazon Prime Video | £8.99 per month | Cancel anytime
Amazon has bought the rights to two rounds of fixtures for the 2023/24 season. It means that all of the games in each round ‒ a total of 20 fixtures ‒ are broadcast live on Amazon’s streaming service.
It means that while you won’t be able to watch all 20 games, you will at least be able to pick a game that matters to you.
The two rounds covered by Amazon Prime Video this year will be the games held on the 5th and 6th December, as well as the Boxing Day games.
Prime Video is included for all members of Amazon Prime, and costs £8.99 per month, though you will save by going for annual membership at £95 per year.
It’s worth looking at the other features included within the Prime membership to work out whether you’re likely to get value for money from an annual membership, or if it works out cheaper to simply snap up a monthly membership should you be determined to watch those weeks’ games.
What are the risks of watching live football on TV through an illegal stream?
Of course, it’s no secret that there are ways to watch live football matches through illegal streams.
But Crimestoppers point out, it is a crime and doing so does open you up to potential legal consequences.
Outside of the legal questions, there’s also a huge problem with hacking. These streams can be used by criminals to hack into your devices or infect them with malware.
Crimestoppers stats show that in recent years more than three million people using illegal streams were hacked, while more than one million had money stolen as a result of watching these streams.