From 1 June, Sky Sports will go up in price by £1 a month. Virgin Media customers will see a £2-a-month hike for Sky Sports too. Do you think it’s worth the cost?
Last month Sky announced it will increase the cost of all but one of its TV packages from 1 June: Sky Sports is up by £1, Variety by £1.50, Family by £3 and Sky Movies by 50p. Sky normally announces price rises for September, but has broken form this year by bringing it forward. This is in time for the Euro 2016 qualifiers coverage in June and the new football season in August, but without the live UEFA Champions League games – these will be shown on BT Sport.
Virgin Media customers won’t escape a price rise either – in fact, they’ll have to pay £2 extra for Sky Sports. So why is Virgin putting up its prices too? The cable provider says it has to pay its satellite counterpart more money because Sky will pay around 70% more for next year’s Premier League TV rights.
It makes sense; if providers are paying more, then the cost is passed on to anyone using their services. But the latest is only 10 months after the last price rise in September 2014. So we decided to track the cost of getting Sky’s sports channels over more than 10 years…
Sky Sports cost since 2004
From June, Sky customers will pay at least £47 a month for the cheapest TV-only package (Sky Sports with Original Bundle), rising to £69.90 with phone and unlimited broadband (or £62.40 with a 2GB download limit) – that’s before adding extra channels. The cheapest package is £16 more a month – £192 a year – compared with September 2004, when the cheapest Sky Sports 1 + 2 bundle cost £31 with the minimum ‘2 mix’ channel pack. That 51.6% rise far outstrips the cumulative inflation rate of 28.5%.
We asked Sky to explain. It said:
‘We work hard to make Sky the best value entertainment choice for subscribers. Sky Sports will offer an unrivalled choice of top quality sport. We’ll also bring more of the shows everyone’s talking about to Sky Box Sets. On average, bills will rise by less than £3 per month.’
Avid football fans who don’t want to miss a match also need BT Sport – £13.50 from Sky or free for BT broadband customers. BT Sport is also included in the cheapest broadband, phone, TV and Sky Sports packages from Virgin Media (Big Kahuna, £58.99 for 12 months) and BT (£46.49, but no Formula 1).
Read why the cost of Sky Sports is going up on Which? Tech Daily.
Tips to save money on Sky Sports
- Cancel – at least temporarily: You could cancel your sports package altogether, or simply drop your Sky Sports bundle when less is shown of what you want to watch – you’ll save at least £50 dropping it in June and July when there’s no Premier League. Changing your TV package should only take a quick phone call or visit to your online account, as on the Sky and Virgin Media websites.
- Stream Sky Sports on Now TV’s streaming service: There’s no contract and it could be cheaper, costing £6.99 a day or £10.99 for a week for Sky Sports 1-5, F1 and News. Use Sky’s fixture list to plan a good day to start – for example, we found starting a one-week pass on 13 December would cover international cricket, golf and South Africa Sevens rugby, plus Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United football matches.
How do you watch live TV coverage of your favourite sports? Do you think Sky Sports is worth the cost?