/ Technology

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‚Äôll also bring more of the shows everyone‚Äôs 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?


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.

Desmond High says:
25 April 2015

Like others I’m not the slightest bit interested in soccer or formula 1, which I assume the majority of my charges for Sky Sports goes towards. I suspect that Sky would increase overall viewing numbers. along with subscription and advertising revenues by offering better targeted packages. This household only watches rugby and cricket and as a cricket coach, I know full well that the absence of cricket on terrestrial (or maybe low cost subscription) is gradually losing the next generation.

Peter says:
26 April 2015

I tried Now TV yesterday on it’s free trial. The excessive money being poured into football is having a negative effect on those Sky customers who wish to watch other sports plus the impact on the game and sporting ethics. Although Now TV Sport appears expensive if used constantly, for occasional use there is some good value to be had. I am now thinking of purchasing it for a week at a time for this seasons test match cricket for relevant matches that I have time to watch and cancelling my Sky subscription. The quality on an Apple TV streaming device when played on a good HD screen was excellent. For football, if you do follow one particular team, prefer just to watch those games and can’t make a home or away match, ¬£6.99 for one day represents reasonable value in the long term.

I totally agree with the above comments 100%. We – the TV viewing public – are completely swamped with televised football day in , day out ! Money is no object to the plethora of worldwide football clubs who live in perpetual debt…. and who pays ? Well I know who SHOULD pay and that is the football addicts and they should pick up the tab from Football only channels ! I hate football and never watch it so why should I contribute to the astronomical costs that these clubs need to keep their overindulged foortballers in luxury ? I watch golf and Aviva Premieship rugby union , that’s all !

Come on Which? Get your commercial clout in gear ! Get Sky and BT to provide Footbal ONLY channels and channels only for say , golf and rugby union and , most importantly , get them to allow people to pay for only the channels that they want rather than lumping them all together as a package .
You are our Consumer Champion and I refer you to your WHICH? PROMISE. There is enough like-minded comment above for you to do something about it !!

M.Cresswell says:
3 May 2015

Absolutely agree

david says:
5 May 2015

Totally agree with this comment

Brian says:
8 May 2015

I totally agree with all the comments about football. I do not watch football and have suggested to Sky to make this a separate channel to be paid for by subscription, I received a standard reply ignoring my comments.
Sky having spent millions for football coverage should recover those costs for those who wish to watch it.

Mike Livingstone says:
31 May 2015

I have just cancelled my Sky contract on exactly this basis.
Sky do have the best technical platform, but I just got the feeling this year that they were raising prices across the board so they could make up for their foolishly high bid for the Premiership. As someone who hates football, I just couldn’t bring myself to subscribe to Sky any longer. They need to separate the football out, so that those who watch football pay for it and those who don’t want it don’t have to.

Hello , I’m wondering if you can help.
I’m new to Sky
I’m woundering can you cancel Sky sports at any time or is there a charge if you had sky sports less than a year ?
Or , has this have a catch , prices etc, depending what other package or service you have ?

All quiet confusing , what to do with wifi, broadband ect

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hallcross says:
23 April 2015

The magazine article doesn’t detail the extent of Sky’s price increases. For instance the price for our Sky Variety Bundle alone is also to rise by ¬£2 to ¬£30/month from May. As a result, I’m changing to the Original Bundle at ¬£22 a month. Following the change, there’s no channels that we will miss.
We are reluctant to move away from Sky as we have difficulties getting good, reliable Freeview reception and living in a rural area, we are not cabled. On the upside, as a Plusnet broadband / house phone customer, we are able and already have BT Sport for £5.99 on a rolling month by month contract. More than enough sport for us with the Premiership rugby union, Motorsport, Bundesliga and Italian football and from next season The Champions League and US sports, WTA tennis etc. etc.

“We are reluctant to move away from Sky as we have difficulties getting good, reliable Freeview reception and living in a rural area, we are not cabled” – You don’t need to pay a subscription to receive free-to-air channels (the ones available on Freeview) via your Sky box. If you stop paying Sky, then you will continue to receive all these channels. However, Sky will remotely disable the Sky+ functionality of your Sky box, even though Sky+ is functionality of goods and not a service.

Hallcross says:
24 April 2015

Thanks. ‘Freesat from Sky’ customers can retain their boxes to record, series link, play and pause for a mere ¬£10/month..

Plusnet have told me that they can provide me with an alternative viewing card at no cost which will allow me to receive BT Sport’s channels without having to have a live Sky contract. I may just do this..

If you can’t get Freeview have you thought about Freesat?

Janet says:
25 April 2015

Same problem here. I have +1 to get digital radio upstairs. The only sport I would EVER watch is the annual boat race and I watch that on BBC!. I do not have the sports package but the price of everything else goes up and it was totally predictable that we would all be stung for the sports deal.Currently, I am watching so many re runs, in the absence of any decent new programmes, that I can almost chant the scripts alongside the actors. It is fortunate that there are such brilliant archives as Dad’s Army etc. Why are there so many ‘reality’ idiots, make overs, cooking and no talent shows that I have to pay for to get the one decent innovative Atlantic channel?
My monthly payments started at £16 and are now £46+. If Sky want to charge these prices perhaps tthey should look at a package that is chosen by the customer with a few select channels and not predesigned so that you have to have the rubbish

smike says:
23 April 2015

In my opinion SKY had added little, and cost much, to the public at large..

The writing was on the wall long from early in the Satellite broadcasting era, , when Analogue SKY bought out the only competition, Digital BSB, and promptly closed it down.

A shrewd but anti-consumer ploy by Sky with two of our Terrestrial based challengers, saw them off a few years later.

In the meantime they have for many years looked to see what free to air programs are getting good viewer ratings, and buying the their broadcast rights, so that anyone hooked on Lost, House, 24hour Le Mans, or whatever, had to take a SKY prescription and pay to continue to see what was previously free.

Only recently, when credible alternatives started to emerge which they could not eliminate, have they started producing their own content, and thus offered something that the public would have had for free already, have Sky introduced some beneficial behaviour.
However they have covered their extra costs involved by massively increasing their charges to protect their very generous margins.

To be fair, it is not certain that the existing broadcasters would have added as much new Sport coverage as SKY has if it was no more. Generally however, we would all see much the same as we used to, but for free.
The main losers apart from Sky itself, being the Premier league footballers, whose wages would get back to reality.

I think the main losers are the young lads and lasses who could follow sport for free when it was on terrestial. The collapse of cricket I think is in no small way a reflection of a younger generation lost.

I stopped supporting England in rugby when they took the Murdoch money and I am losing interest in F1 as it becomes disjointed. Having said that the BBC should never ever have bid to show it as the expense is absolutely huge – you wonder who and why the decision was made.

This is a resume on what is going on ;

And lastly does it occur to anyone that perhaps F1 is now entertainment rather than a sport and that decisions are made to make it more interesting, to get punters, to get advertising revenue, to get status. It is certainly doing wonders for Mercedes.

The only sport I really enjoy is Snooker. Luckily 99% of what I want to watch is on Eurosport in which i can just pay £3.99 & watch via the Eurosport online Player. Plus the other games are shown on BBC & ITV4 (both online feeds for free).

When BT Sport came out I was worried they might try & buy a few games. But I’ve been lucky & it’s all still on Eurosport.

I do feel sorry for football fans, i mean they need Sky & BT, just the cost alone would make me mad, might even take away the enjoyment of the game. The one time I don’t feel sorry for fans is when ITV take off Corrie for the bl**dy football. No need for that when we have so many TV channels these days.

Surely the residents of Coronation Street are entitled to stay indoors and watch some football from time to time instead of having to be on parade for the whole nation to goggle at. Or is it not real life?

What I find curious is how football (a game) can dominate the news to the degree it does. I confess to having no interest in the football business or its prima donnas.

Likewise, I have no interest in football, but each to their own.

Do painted people like the ‘Angry sports fan’ in the introduction really attend matches or is the practice confined to viewers of Sky TV?

Awesome reply John Ward haha

Like Malcolm, I don’t understand the popularity of watching football, or any sport. I can truthfully say that the last game I watched was when England won the World Cup. I was a child at the time and it was not even on colour TV.

Surely sport should be about taking part.

Helpfully, I think the England team were wearing a black and white strip. West German viewers could see their team in colour.

I reduced my Sky subscription to basic plus HD Sports recently to reduce costs. Surely, losing the Champions League should reduce Sky’s subscription not increase it.

When NowTV offers Sports in HD will seriously think of using that as I mostly want test match cricket plus occasional football. Not sure about reliability though.

PeterC says:
24 April 2015

I’ve just cancelled my sports and movies as the end of promotion price and the increase made my monthly premium jump by ¬£18 per month. Long term customer with Sky over 25 years and no incentives to try and keep me. how’s that for loyalty…New customers offered huge incentives to join.

I had a Sky TV package which used to grate as the cost per month I felt was excessive. I eventually cancelled the contract and bought a Humax TV box which ran from the same satellite dish. When cancelling I obviously got a few telephone calls from their team. I explained:- you know the feeling when you have paid off the mortgage on your house, you know, punch the air and feel like cheering? Well that’s exactly how I felt when I gave up Sky! As unpopular as it was with the rest of the household, when I explained just how much a year it actually costs, they all agreed. As far as I am concerned it was the removal of a huge millstone around my neck. I have never regretted it and I will NEVER go back! There has to be more to life than living the life of a couch potatoe!

Skip says:
25 April 2015

Q. Is sky sports worth the cost?
A. No

I want to watch just two sports, for which Sky have the exclusive contracts. I do not want to watch any of Sky’s “entertainment”. However, Sky has structured their packages so that one has no option but to buy an entertainment package first to be able to watch any sports. The resulting cost is outrageous.

In consequence I buy a day pass from Now TV when there is something I absolutely cannot miss, and bitterly resent both Sky and the sports bodies who choose to sell to them and therefore prevent not only me but thousands of genuine fans from being able to see the particular sport which they love. I suspect that it won’t be long before even the Now TV route is removed, either because Sky will stop offering it or they will increase the price.

Sky is in business to make a profit rather than package their services to suit customers.

I have never understood why exclusive contracts for sport coverage are permitted by the Competition and Markets Authority.

I feel as though we are being hi-jacked by Sky – we don’t watch much Sports – but do watch the Golf and the occasional film- but are now paying well over ¬£70 a month as long time customers. I feel that new customers get unfair welcome packages and older customers are ignored and we are being forced to pay for Football which we would never watch anyway. My husband feels we cannot cancel Sky as we would miss all the golf from America and now the Open too! I feel extremely annoyed by the latest hike in prices – which on our package was ¬£4.50 a month from 1st June!

Sue says:
25 April 2015

We have the minimum package we can get that includes Sky Atlantic, for Game of Thrones. If it wasn’t for that I would change to Freeview tomorrow. I’m sure the price only went up in August, and now it’s going up by another ¬£3 per month. They say it’s because of all the wonderful extras we can take advantage of, but we don’t want or need them. I feel as though I am being forced to pay for a lot of stuff we don’t use.

Tibouchina says:
26 April 2015

Although the Sky sports coverage has made some positive contributions to sport in general, it is all subsidised by the hefty fees we pay to watch. Sky is a near-monopoly, or probably will be in the not too distant future, and because of that built-in power has a big say in what happens to sport, while the viewers actually have very little power. Some corners are cut which would benefit viewers; for example, you can never trust the schedules, and sometimes it is impossible to find out what is really being broadcast. They don’t take the time or trouble to update. I find that I actually resent aspects of the current system which they have imposed – these stupid Americanised team names for the County Cricket, e.g. – and wonder at what else they might choose to do. So, yes, a fee rise like that does leave me frustrated but not quite angry enough to deny myself cricket.

As far as Sky making some positive contribution to sport is concerned, it strikes me that it has merely made the super heroe footballers even more rich than they were already. Who would ever have thought that they would ever join the ranks of the super rich! Lamborghini must have been pleased though

Alf says:
26 April 2015

My main beef is why is there only one Competition and Markets Authority?

As for Sky ,they have been taking the mick for years with that American wrestl../ play-acting crap !!
I can only imagine it is staple viewing for the Jeremy Kyle set !!
Surely no-one with a brain watches !!

Mikal Lyndoe says:
26 April 2015

I don’t fully understand why your angle is on Sky, BT and no apparent reference to TalkTalk/AOL
Their prices have rocketed ever since they entered the TV domain and those of us who want, quite rightly, to be prudent with expenditure are being charged a lot more for broadband and telephone charges albeit if one chooses to fire a shot across the bow of the good ship TT., and get involved in a lot of argy then, surprise, they couch any reductions that they will give me in terms of discounts on the normal prices they want; and they seem to always want to increase their prices after they have you hooked on a further `12/18 months “contract”.
To say “yes” to anything that is stated opens the floodgates as one is then on a contract and it is a devil’s own job to leave TT and avoid savage contractual obligations just because “yes” was said and, of course, they have for the purposes of “staff training” they tae every last word said to them.
It would be great to see a consumer organisation investigate telecom utilities other than BT and Sky – which two companies’ prices increases are always an excuse for TT to hike their prices, citing cost increases and justifying increases because the competition is no longer a cheap alternative.

lets all just cancel and see what happens

anna – Consumer boycotts would be a very very effective way of clipping Sky’s wings.

I think that in the era of multi-nationals we are being taken for granted and any temporary blip in one market can be covered by profits in another.

The companies play a follow the leader in pricing inflation with customers suffering. There is also the aspect of most of the profit is leaving the UK anyway when you look at the likes of Virginmedia and Sky.

Deflating prices by organised boycotts or even deals should be the way to go. We laud attacks on the energy companies and new sellers into the marketplace how about Which? organises bulk deals with SKY etc using the same method as it used once on power companies.

Surely 100,000 existing Sky subscribers could be banded together to request a 20% reduction or else! : )

Businessmen are paid on the profits made and until hard commercial reality bites there will be no change in behaviour.

pay through the nose as well as pay a tv licence fee- I read the cost per month of sky and laughed out loud- this is almost the cost of gas and electricity prices which are horrendous enough for a pensioner. How on earth can any tv service be worth it? The programmes on our sets are not greatly entertaining and it is time sky realised that for a lot of people this is a rip off.
Quality of TV programmes in our homes has gone down and down over the years. I resent the fact that a company can rip us off for yet more bad entertainment products. I am afraid that the BBC licence is getting out of hand as it is. I do not want to be forced to get sky for anything.

Clive Cottam says:
28 April 2015

Sky spreads the ridiculously high cost of Premiership football to all Sky Sports customers whether or not they watch football. It’s not as if Sky gets the complete package either so die-hard fans have to consider subscribing to BT as well. Higher costs for less product. It was similar story with Sky Movies – at first five new movies were offered each week, now you’re lucky to get three. And if you’re hooked on Sky Atlantic programming or F1 where else can you go? Perhaps a referral to the Monopolies Commission is in order.