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Sky Sports price rise: is live TV sports coverage worth the cost?

Angry sports fan

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 serviceThere’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?


We already pay enough to Sky for what should be the ultimate in sports viewing.

Now the service is diluted by BT Sport which we refuse to pay extra for and we do not want their broadband.

If BT have so much money to spare, they should be improving their existing network so people can get decent broadband before entering the expensive sport market.


Good piece of research and interesting to those who use Sky and the general public. Excellent.


Sky is the British brand that I trust the least. Fortunately I don’t use their services at all any more. Instead:
– I pay Netflix US$9/month for UK HD content
– I use Hyperoptic (1Gbps) for my broadband
– I don’t have a landline

Sky was also using surcharged 084 and 087 numbers until they were outlawed by Regulation 41 of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013. Why does a company not realise that something is an unfair commercial practice before it is legislated against?

In my final year as a Sky customer, they gave me a 75% discount off my monthly charge. Therefore I was paying well under £10/month. You have to phone them to cancel and wait for the cancellation to take effect. Then a day before or after your service is disconnected, they will phone you and offer you a cheaper deal. You can’t get 75% off any more, but 50% is achievable. Don’t accept the first offer they make.


@NFH “Why does a company not realise that something is an unfair commercial practice before it is legislated against?” It’s called greed.

I one worked for a company that did tried to do business with Sky, we spent millions getting the bid right.

During the final meeting one of the owners sons walked in (late) and said, 50% off or we walk, then the whole sky team walked out.

And they still use 084 numbers, I did complain to the regulator but they deemed them sales lines even those for existing customers to upgrade through.

Malcolm says:
23 April 2015

Sky Sports pricing assumes that all users want to watch Soccer. I only use Sky Sports for the Rugby Union coverage, which used to be quite comprehensive. But when BTsport became involved we got less matches and paid more. Now the charges are going up again. Ridiculous. I am reluctant to sign up to ANY BT concern having had many dreadful experiences with them in the past. If any organisation is not fit for purpose it’s BT.

In an ideal world Sky Soccer coverage would be a separate package so that those who are happy to see their money go to vastly overpaid ‘professional’ footballers could do so, and the rest of us could simply get what we want to pay for.

Rant over.


I couldn’t agree more. I hate football, but want to watch cricket, golf and rugby. The sooner they have a football only package the better. While they are at it they can get rid of non-sports such as wrestling and fishing as well.

David M says:
25 April 2015

I totally agree with Malcolm, Both Sky and BT show so much football, English, European and some Scottish; I do not want to watch any of it, I loath football and its vastly overpaid players, who set an extremely bad attitude to young people. But if Sky & BT want to pay these over inflated prices for this “sport” then put it on as an extra and not as Sky Sports. Personally, like many people, I want to watch Rugby, Cricket and F1. Another wasted Sky Sports programme is “Wrestling” that should be re-named “the shouting programme” as most of the time that is all these American idiots do.
I do not want to have to pay extra for something I never watch and I certainly do not wish to contribute to overpaid footballers.

John says:
25 April 2015

We agree every word. I am not a football fan and never watch football anywhere. Our sports include golf, tennis and 6 nations rugby. Why can’t Sky organise channels to give us the option of excluding football – with a consequent reduction in their monthly charge. There will come a time when like minded pensioners will cancel their contracts. I have tried to support Sky since the early 80’s and cringe at their never ending increases – in pursuit of something many do not want or need.