Revealed: The true cost of watching sport in 2021

Sports fans could find themselves paying out in excess of £150 per month on TV subscriptions alone during our great summer of sport.

The big events are now split across 16 different broadcast platforms in the UK for the first time, with 13 of those requiring separate regular payment packages, including the TV licence.

The arrival of Discovery+ and its new Netflix-style platform which will screen the Olympics and potentially next winter’s Ashes adds to the most diverse – and potentially most costly – choice for the armchair spectator.

For the football enthusiast this spring, viewers would need an iFollow account to watch the crescendo of the EFL season, Sky, BT and Amazon for the Premier League, BT for the Champions League and a separate Premier Sports account for La Liga.

And it gets even more complicated for our great sporting summer. While Wimbledon and Euro 2020 will be on free-to-air, Discovery+ is aiming to draw viewers away from the BBC by promising to show every minute of the Olympics.

Discovery has joined a three-way race for the UK rights to this winter's Ashes


Discovery has joined a three-way race for the UK rights to this winter’s Ashes


Credit: GETTY IMAGES

And then there’s the fight of the century between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. BT and Sky will both lay claim to the fight due to respective relationships with either boxers.

The fight will either be shown on both box office channels simultaneously or be split between the two over the two-fight deal.

After a year in which everyone has been forced to stay at home for their sport, here, in a worst-case scenario, is how the charges will add up this summer:

The major players:

  • Sky Sports

All 11 channels, £39 a month (18-month contract)

All 11 channels with BT Sport, £52 a month (18-month contract)

All channels, £25 a month (monthly pass, no upfront costs)

All channels plus BoxNation, £15 a month (24-month contract)

All channels plus BoxNation and all Sky Sports channels from the NOW TV Sky Sports Pass, £40 a month (24-month contract)

  • BBC TV licence – average of £13.12 a month
  • ITV, Channel 4 and 5 – free to air
  • Amazon Prime – £7.99 a month
  • ESPN – £4.15 a month
  • Premier Sports – £8.25 a month
  • Eurosport – £4.99 a month (minimum)  
  • Racing TV – £24.98 a month
  • Sky Sports Box Office – £24.95 (price for Joshua vs Pulev)
  • BT Sport Box Office – £24.95 (price for Wilder vs Fury 2)
  • DAZN – £1.99 (initial price)
  • Discovery+ – unconfirmed but average price elsewhere is in the region of £5 a month
  • EFL iFollow – (available during pandemic, with most Championship clubs charging £10 a match) average of £20 a month  

Long gone are the days where you could get your live sporting fix in one place by settling down to an afternoon of Grandstand. Instead, the explosion in popularity of streaming services and subscription-only brands have led to a whole new level of channel hopping.

Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown of where you can find sport on TV as it stands:

Football

  • BT Sport (Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, National League, WSL, FA Cup, FA Women’s Cup, Women’s Champions League, FA Trophy, FA Vase, FA Youth Cup, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, Coppa Italia, Ligue 1)
  • Sky Sports (Premier League, 2022 World Cup qualifiers, UEFA Nations League, international friendlies, EFL, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy, SPFL, MLS)
  • Amazon Prime (Premier League)
  • BBC (Euro 2020, WSL, FA Cup, FA Women’s Cup, FA Community Shield, SPFL, Scottish Cup, Scottish Women’s Premier League)
  • Premier Sports (Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup, Serie A, Eredivisie, Primeira Liga, La Liga)

Rugby Union

  • BT Sport (Gallagher Premiership, Champions Cup, Challenge Cup, Premiership Rugby Cup)
  • BBC (Six Nations, Women’s Six Nations, Autumn internationals)
  • ITV (Six Nations, 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup)
  • Channel 4 (Champions Cup, Autumn internationals) Channel 5 (Gallagher Premiership)
  • Premier Sports (Pro14)

Rugby League

  • BBC (2021 Rugby League World Cup)
  • Sky Sports (Super League)

Cricket

  • Disney (England’s tour of India) Discovery+ (interested in the Ashes)
  • Sky Sports (England Test cricket, ODIs and T20, England women’s cricket, overseas international cricket, T20 Blast, The Hundred, IPL)
  • BT Sport (overseas international cricket, Big Bash, Women’s Big Bash, Super Smash, Women’s Super Smash)
  • BBC (England T20, England women’s T20, The Hundred)

F1

  • Sky Sports F1 (All races)
  • Channel 4 (British Grand Prix)

Cycling

  • BBC (Various)
  • ITV (Tour de France, Tour of Britain, Women’s Tour of Britain)
  • Eurosport (Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Giro d’Italia)

Racing

  • ITV (Grand National, Epsom Derby, Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, British Champions Day)
  • Sky Sports Racing (Dubai World Cup)
  • Racing TV (Grand National, Epsom Derby, Cheltenham Festival, Glorious Goodwood, British Champions Day, Dubai World Cup)

Tennis

  • BBC (Wimbledon, Queen’s Club Championships, Eastbourne International)
  • ITV (French Open)
  • Amazon Prime (US Open, WTA Tour, ATP Tour, Queen’s Club Championships, Eastbourne International)
  • Eurosport (Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, Davis Cup)

Golf

  • Sky Sports (Open Championship, The Masters, US Open, US PGA Championship, US PGA Tour, European Tour, Ryder Cup)

Boxing

  • Sky Sports / Sky Sports Box Office (PPV) – including Joshua/Fury fight TBC
  • BT Sport / BT Sport Box Office (PPV)
  • BoxNation (PPV)
  • DAZN (PPV)

Athletics

  • BBC (Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Paralympics, London Marathon, Great North Run, Great Manchester Run, Great Scottish Run, Cardiff Half Marathon)
  • Eurosport/Discovery+ (Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Paralympics)
How much do you currently pay to watch sport? Is the price too high? Tell us in the comments section below
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