Compare Sky Sports Packages
Sky Sports is the number one TV sports service in the UK and is available from Sky directly or from rival TV suppliers such as Virgin Media, Bt Vision and Top Up TV. In order to compare Sky Sports packages we’ll look at the cheapest package and the most comprehensive package a new customer can get from each of the 4 providers, but first here is a snapshot of the differences. The best package for you depends on a number of factors including availability in your area, length of contract you’re willing to take and whether you need broadband and phone included.
Contract lengths shown are for the bundles associated with Sky Sports – the Sky Sports premium add-on is on a monthly basis on Sky, Virgin and BT. * The Virgin Followers bundle, their cheapest Sky Sports option, is phone and TV only on an 18 month contract. – other Virgin bundles are available with broadband on a 12 month contract.
Compare Channels in Package
There are 4 Sky Sports channels and Sky Sports News, each of which has a standard and an HD version. Here’s how the providers compare on availability;
Sky are the only provider to offer Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Sky Sports News in both standard definition and HD. You can choose to take either Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2 on its own or take the complete pack, with or without ESPN.
Virgin are able to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 in both standard definition and HD but only have Sky Sports 3 and 4 in standard and Sky Sports News is not available on any of their sports packages. You can take either Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2 on its own or take the Sky Sports Collection, which is channels 1 to 4.
BT Vision offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 in standard definition only. Customers can take either Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2 or both together – a viewing card is required which slots into the Vision+ Box and allows you to receive your chosen Sky Sports channels via Freeview, so you must have Freeview reception in your area that covers those channels. Use the Freeview postcode checker on this page here.
Top Up TV
Top Up TV offer Sky Sports 1 and 2. In a similar way to BT Vision you need a viewing card which slots into your Top Up TV box to enable you to watch Sky Sports on Freeview – a £20 connection fee applies.
Broadband Included in Package
With the exception of Top Up TV all of these Sky Sports packages are based on triple bundles where you take TV, broadband and phone from the same supplier, so for comparison here are the details of the broadband included in each bundle.
Sky broadband comes in two sizes, Broadband Everyday Lite and Broadband Unlimited. Both have the same download speeds but Broadband Everyday Lite has a monthly usage limited of 2GB which doesn’t apply to Broadband Unlimited. A free trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite is included with each – 3 months on Everyday Lite and 12 months with the Unlimited option.
Virgin Broadband comes in 3 sizes – up to 30Mb, up to 60Mb and the superfast up to 100Mb service – click here to check availability in your area. All of the broadband sizes are advertised as unlimited downloads but a fair usage policy applies and Traffic Management operates from 4pm to 9pm and 10am to 3pm to “ensure a consistent user experience”. Extras with Virgin Broadband include varying amounts of online storage and free photo prints as well as free Virgin Media security, and the Virgin service has been found to offer the highest and most consistent broadband speeds in the UK.
The 3 BT TV bundles on which Sky Sports is available all come with up to 16Mb download speed. The TV, Broadband and Calls and More TV, Broadband and Calls packages come with a generous 40GB usage limit and the Unlimited TV, Broadband and Calls package has no limit (as you’d expect from the name). It is possible to get BT’s faster Infinity broadband with the Unlimited TV, Broadband and Calls package and this has a download speed of up to 40Mb. Extras with BT broadband include unlimited WiFi minutes when out and about (you may have seen those BTFon pages popping up when you lose your mobile broadband connection), basic or advanced McAfee security depending on your package and online storage.
Phone Included in Package
Like the broadband, Sky’s phone service comes in 2 sizes – Sky Talk Freetime and Sky Talk Unlimited. Freetime is the phone service you would get in the basic bundle and gives you included evening and weekend UK landline calls – there is no charge for this within the bundle but you need to pay Sky line rental. Talk Unlimited gives you unlimited UK landline calls at any time, unlimited calls to 20 international destinations and a 20% saving on UK mobile calls for an extra £5 a month.
Line rental – Sky line rental is £12.25 a month.
Virgin’s phone service comes in 3 sizes – M, L and XL. M is the free option in a bundle which gives you unlimited weekend calls
to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles, L is the same but covering evenings and weekends (£4 a month) and XL is unlimited calls
to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles at any time (£8 a month).
Line rental – Virgin line rental costs £13.90 a month.
Although BT offers 3 levels of phone tariff – the free Unlimited Weekend plan, Unlimited Evening and Weekend (£3 a month) and Unlimited Anytime (£4.70 a month) it is the first and the last of these that are included with the TV bundles.
Line rental – BT line rental is £15.45 a month but can be paid 12 months in advance for £129, equivalent to £10.75 a month.
Which Other Channels Are Included?
If you’re taking Sky Sports as part of a bundle then you’ll also get different channels included with the TV part of the package – this is how the providers compare, based on the basic TV bundle;
If you take a bundle with Sky Sports from Sky you will take one of the 2 Entertainment Packs as the core of your package – Entertainment and Entertainment Extra, so you will have the regular free-to-air channels like BBC, ITV, Channel4 and lots more plus the channels included in the pack you choose. Entertainment is made up of the channels from the Variety and Style & Culture Packs and Entertainment Extra has all of the channels from these plus the News & Events, , Knowledge, Music and Children’s packs. Sky+ is included in all Sky TV packages enabling you to pause, rewind and record live TV, and the standard Sky+ Box has 250GB of space for recordings and 250GB for the on-demand service Sky Anytime.
There are over 50 channels available in HD on Sky including all of the Sky Sports family – you need to subscribe to the HD pack to get them. The Sky 3D channel has the most 3D content in the UK but you need to subscribe to the top package Sky+HD with Sky World to get it.
Virgin’s TV service comes in 3 sizes – M+ with 75 channels, L with 115 channels and XL with 175 channels – and assuming you opted for the most basic Sky Sports package the included TV size would be M+. The 75 channels includes all the free-to-air TV like BBC etc as well as Sky 1 and 2, Sky Living, Discovery and Discovery Realtime. Virgin Media has its own PVR service called TiVo to pause, rewind and record TV but it doesn’t come as standard so you would need to add £5 per month for TiVo.
Virgin has around 20 HD channels including BBC, Channel 4, Comedy Central, Discovery and E4 and a new customer joining online now gets the HD activation free and with no extra monthly cost. There is some 3D content on demand, mainly movies.
BT Vision is a Freeview based service so all of the live TV comes from Freeview but you can use the Vision+ Box to pause, rewind and record it. The rest of the content is on-demand, and can either be accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis or taken as a pack giving unlimited access. The packs are as follows – Vision TV and TV Replay, which come with the Bronze pack along with your choice of two others from Sport, Kids, Music and Film. The Gold pack comes with all six of these.
While there are no HD or 3D channels on BT Vision there are movies available on-demand which are downloaded to your Vision+ Box overnight if you choose to buy them.
Top Up TV
Top Up TV works in a similar way to BT Vision except there is no broadband and phone bundle, in that you buy a Top Up TV box to enable pausing, rewinding and recording of the Freeview channels and then add any other content you want on-demand. As well as Sky Sports you can add TV Favourites (a library of popular current shows), Picture Box movies or ESPN sport.
There is no 3D content on Top Up TV at this time but if you buy an HD ready box you can get any Freeview HD channels that are available in your area.
Digital TV Packages
- Sky+ HD Starter
- Sky+ HD with Sky Movies
- Sky+ HD with Sky World
- Sky+ HD with Sky Sports
- Virgin TV L + Phone M
- Virgin Media TiVo Starter Bundle
- Premiere Collection
- Top Up TV Favourites
- Top Up TV Complete Sports Pack
- BT Vision Gold Pack
- TV Essential + Broadband and Anytime Calls
- TV Unlimited + Broadband + Anytime Calls
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £21.50 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £21.50 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2GB broadband usage and included evening and weekend calls.
Virgin Classic Collection
£18 a month
Over 55 TV channels with 5 in HD, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 30Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £18 a month plus line rental.
BT Vision Starter Deal
£17 a month
£25 Sainsburys Gift Card > Free Vision+ Box > 16Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer
Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month
Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.