As the 2023/24 Premier League season kicks off, armchair football fans across the UK are gearing up to follow their favourite teams. However, the cost of watching these games can be quite steep, especially for fans who only want to watch their team’s matches.
Fortunately, there are ways to save money on sports streaming – especially if you’re willing to move to streaming services, with potential savings of up to £850 per year.
My friend Andy Webb, the editor-in-chief of Be Clever With Your Cash, was kind enough to share some interesting data – and some of his tips on how football fans can save.
The Cost Of Watching Premier League Matches
In the world of sports streaming, the playing field has changed dramatically. Once the Achilles heel of TV cord-cutting, sports streaming is now a game-changer, offering fans flexible and often more affordable ways to enjoy the matches.
However, the cost of watching Premier League matches can vary significantly depending on the broadcasting platform you choose – but we’ll take Sky as the main example.
Please note that most of the data is based on last year’s fixtures – but things are expected to be similar this year.
Sky Sports holds the largest share of broadcasting rights for Premier League matches, airing 128 games in the 2022/23 season.
To get Sky Sports, you have a variety of ways – you can get it via Sky’s streaming devices – Sky Stream (see our review) and Sky Glass (see our review) – where Sky Sports normally costs £25-£27/month, depending on the length of your contract.
That’s on top of the basic, ‘Sky Ultimate” package, which is required on Stream and Glass – and costs £26-£29/month (for more details on Sky Stream’s pricing – see our guide).
Therefore, the total cost for Sky Stream plus Sky Sports, is between £51 and £56 per month.
If you have a satellite dish, the cost of a Sky Q subscription starts at £31 per month. This basic package includes Netflix and access to channels like Sky Atlantic.
To add Sky Sports to Sky Q, you’ll need to pay an additional £20 per month (though the price fluctuates a lot, depending on different offers).
Therefore, the total cost for a typical Sky Q subscription with Sky Sports is also £51 per month, or £612 per year.
However, on Sky Q, this cost doesn’t include HD, which is an extra package on top, as is Sky Cinema. If you want to watch the games in HD, you’ll need to shell out even more.
Furthermore, if you’re only interested in watching your team’s matches, this can be an expensive way of viewing, especially if your team doesn’t get a lot of airtime.
TNT Sports, the new name for BT Sports, aired 52 matches in total during the 2022/23 season (as BT Sports).
To add TNT Sports to your Sky package, you’ll need to pay an additional £25-£30 per month, depending on the deal and device.
However, TNT Sports also offers a pay-as-you-go option via Discovery+ Premium, which costs £29.99 per month.
This option doesn’t require a long-term contract or other packages, so you can cancel it during the months when your team isn’t selected.
Amazon’s Prime Video
All teams had two matches shown exclusively on Amazon’s Prime Video last year, as the streaming giant showed two full sets of fixtures (20 matches in total).
The cost of Amazon Prime (with free shipping and other benefits) for a year upfront is £95.
However, if you only want to watch the two matches of your team shown on Amazon Prime, you can pay for a single month at £7.99 – or pay for the standalone Prime Video tier, which is £5.99/month.
The Total Cost Of Traditional Premier League Watching
If you want to watch all the Premier League matches across all three broadcasters, the total cost can be quite steep.
A new Sky Stream subscription with the required additions to cover Sky Sports, TNT Sports, and Amazon’s Prime Video can currently get up to £1,103 per year.
This cost can be even higher if you want to watch the games in 4K, or if you’re looking at other Sky devices – such as Sky Q.
In conclusion, while each broadcaster offers different packages and prices, the cost of watching Premier League matches can add up quickly.
Therefore, it’s crucial to consider your viewing habits and team preferences before choosing a package.
How To Save On Sports Streaming
While the costs of watching Premier League matches can be steep, there are several strategies you can employ to save money.
According to Andy Webb, “The hack is about only paying for services when your team is on the TV.
“Looking at last year’s fixtures, there’s a huge difference between the number of times each club’s matches are shown across the three broadcasters.
“If you ditch the lengthy contracts and plan ahead, you can make some really big savings.”
Mix and Match Streaming Services
One of the most effective ways to save money is to mix and match streaming services. This involves only paying for a service when your team is playing.
Of course, this means you shouldn’t take Sky, BT or Virgin Media’s long-term contracts – but that’s certainly possible these days.
By doing this, you can avoid paying for months when your team isn’t getting much airtime.
Sky Sports via NOW Passes
Sky’s NOW streaming service (formerly known as NOW TV) offers a flexible way to access Sky Sports.
The service costs £34.99 a month and doesn’t require other non-sport passes to access, making it cheaper overall. Also, NOW frequently offers special deals and discounts.
For the less featured teams, you may be better off planning ahead and ditching the monthly pass in favour of a day pass, which costs £11.99 for 24 hours (and – you usually also get the NOW Sky Sports Mobile Pass as a bonus).
As fixtures are published in advance, you can work out whether it’s cheaper to buy a monthly pass for each calendar month or a day pass.
TNT Sports via Discovery+ Premium
The standalone pay-as-you-go subscription cost is £29.99 per month, which also grants access to the Discovery+ Entertainment and Sports plan, encompassing Discovery’s lifestyle, factual, and reality shows, along with Eurosport content.
Existing BT Sport customers can access TNT Sports via BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media, with the service offering up to four main TV channels and six additional digital channels.
If you want to get via the streaming route, Discovery+ serves as the new streaming platform for TNT Sports in the UK, compatible with most streaming devices including Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Smart TVs, tablets, and mobile phones.
Although it’s more per month than other deals (if you take the pay-as-you-go option), subscribers are not locked into long contracts or other packages, so you can ditch the months when your team isn’t selected.
Amazon Prime Video for a Single Month
All teams had two matches shown exclusively on Amazon’s Prime Video. Instead of paying for a full year of Amazon Prime, you can pay for a single month of Prime Video at £5.99 when your team’s matches are being shown.
And – if you haven’t yet, you can get get a free 30-day trial for Amazon Prime – so if you time it correctly, you can watch your team’s matches for free.
Virgin Media: Cheaper For Some
If your household has split loyalties across several teams, consider other providers like Virgin Media.
Virgin Media offers a massively-discounted price via its Virgin Media Stream Box for its broadband customers.
As of this writing, for example, you can get a Sky Sports HD add-on for £18.75/month, or TNT Sports for just £10/month.
And while you do have to sign a Virgin Media broadband contract – the sports add-ons, if you get them on the Stream box – are 30-day rolling contracts, so you can sign up on relevant months and then cancel.
Finally, planning ahead can help you save money.
As fixtures are published in advance, you can work out the most cost-effective way to watch your team’s matches.
This might involve mixing and matching streaming services, opting for day passes instead of monthly passes, or choosing a different provider.
Calculating Cost-Savings Per Team
The cost of watching Premier League matches can vary significantly depending on the team you support.
Andy checked the costs based on Sky Q subscriptions: the traditional package for football fans – a new Sky Q subscription with the required additions to cover Sky Sports, TNT Sports, and a full Prime subscription – costs £1,007 per year.
Based on this package, a Bournemouth fan would be paying £91 per game, while a Wolves fan would be paying £84 per game.
The cheapest per-match price based on this package is £35 for Manchester City fans, while the average across the league is a hefty £55 per game.
However, by strategically mixing and matching streaming services, fans could save up to £850.
This involves only paying for a service when your team is playing.
For example, you could use Sky Sports via NOW month and day passes, TNT Sports via Discovery+ Premium monthly membership, and Amazon Prime Video for a single month.
Using this method, fans of Brighton could save nearly £850, and fans of Bournemouth, Wolves, Brentford, Crystal Palace, and Fulham could all save over £800 a season (and possibly even more – if they ditch Sky Q and go for other streaming-based platforms).
Even supporters of the most-broadcast team, Manchester City, would save £628. Manchester United fans would have saved £644 and Arsenal fans, £651.
Here’s the full team breakdown across Sky Q, Virgin Stream and NOW:
In conclusion, while sports streaming can be expensive, there are ways to save money. By carefully choosing your streaming services and only paying for what you need, you can enjoy your favourite team’s matches without breaking the bank.
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