With the transfer window for summer 2018 now closed and the new season kicking off tonight, football fans in the UK are asking one question: how do I watch the Premier League online legally, with or without Sky or BT TV?
Sky and BT have long fought over the rights to the UK’s top flight football matches, with 168 matches per season broadcast live out of the 380 matches played throughout the 2018/2019 season. Sky has 126 of those, with the remaining 42 snapped up by BT. (The BBC, meanwhile, airs highlights every weekend on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2. Amazon Prime Video will also be entering the fray from the 2019 season.)
But with exclusive rights come bidding wars, and with bidding wars come high costs that are ultimately passed on to audiences. As cord-cutting becomes increasingly popular, and household budgets become tighter, more and more footie fans are looking to be able to watch football and other premium TV without the hassle or high prices of a lengthy pay-TV contract.
As the season begins with Manchester United against Leicester City at 9pm on Friday 10th August, we round up your options for viewing the Premier League:
Note: Pricing may change after the date of publication.
On the opening weekend of the season, Sky Sports is showing Man Utd vs Leicester (Friday 10 August, 8pm), Newcastle vs Tottenham (Saturday 11 August, 12:30pm), Liverpool vs West Ham (Sunday 12 August, 1:30pm) and Arsenal vs Man City (Sunday 12 August, 4pm).
Sky Sports, at the time of writing, costs £18 a month for just Sky Sports HD and Sky Sports Football HD. After a rebranding of its Sky Sports package last year, you can now get Sky Sports without a minimum contract, which means you can pick and choose channels and sign up on a month by month basis.
All Sky Sports channels are also available for £22 a month, on an 18-month contract basis, or for £28 a month without a minimum contract. While Sky Sports is available contract-free, though, the catch is that they all require a Sky TV contract, which varies in costs, depending on whether you have Sky TV and/or Sky Broadband. Similarly, Sky Sports is available as an add-on to other pay-TV contracted services. (Visit the official websites for Virgin, TalkTalk TV or BT TV to find out more.)
For more information on Sky Sports, click here.
All Sky Sports channels are available to stream live without a contract through NOW TV for £7.99 (24 hour’s access) or £12.99 (one week’s access). A monthly pass is also available for £33.99 a month.
Thinking long-term? There’s also a Sky Sports Season Ticket, which allows you to stream Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Football live (without any of the other Sky Sports channels). The pass lasts the length of the football season – 10 months – and is worth over £300. For those who sign up before 23.59pm on 20th August, though, the pass costs £179. That discount is available to new and existing NOW TV customers.
You can also choose a Sky Sports Mobile Month Pass, which offers access to Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports News, but only on iOS and Android smartphones (content can’t be streamed onto bigger screens). It costs £5.99 a month and is available to all new and existing UK customers (and in EU member countries) and supports up to four registered devices, with one active stream permitted at any time.
For more information on any of the passes, the full terms and conditions, or to start streaming passes, click here.
In the opening weeks of the 2018 season, BT Sport is screening Wolves v Everton (Saturday 11th August, 5pm), Chelsea v Arsenal (Saturday 18th August, 5pm) and Liverpool v Brighton (Saturday 25th August, 5pm).
Here are your options for getting access to BT Sport.
BT TV customers can watch BT Sport on BT TV, with the pack of BT Sport’s four channels available at the time of writing for free for 18 months with selected TV packages.
BT TV requires a BT Infinity or BT Broadband service, with prices varying depending on your chosen contract, but they usually start around £35.99 a month. BT Sport HD is an additional £6.50 a month.
As long as you’ve got broadband from BT, you can watch BT Sport on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet using the BT Sport app or online player – you just enter your BT ID to start streaming.
If you’ve got the right equipment at home, you can connect your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet to your TV and stream BT Sport on the big screen.
The BT Sport app and online player is currently included for free if you order BT Sport on BT TV, Sky TV or TalkTalk TV. If you just have BT Broadband, it costs £7 a month.
For customers with BT Mobile, you can stream BT Sport online through your smartphone using the BT Sport app. The BT Sport pack is currently free for all Entertainment Max customers.
For more information on any of these, click here.
BT Sport without BT (using EE)
There is one way to watch BT Sport without being a BT customer, and that’s by being an EE customer instead.
EE users can download the BT Sport app contract-free, by texting SPORT to 150. Set up a BT ID and login, and you can then use the BT Sport app with casting to your TV free using Apple TV or Google Chromecast for three months.
After the three-month trial, it’s £5 a month for the app, with no contract, plus £10 a month for casting to your telly. If there’s a particular month you want to watch BT Sport on TV, therefore, you can just pay for that as a one-off see, then cancel.
The app is included in all 4G Max plans and a trial or subscription can be stopped by texting STOP SPORT to 150.
As a bonus, the BT Sport app can be used in Europe – when using the service in the EU, all EE data will come out of your plan allowance. For more information, click here.