Premier League 2016/17 TV and Live Streaming Guide: We breakdown the best deals and cheapest packages across Sky Sports, BT Sports and Virgin Media to help you watch every match live on your TV, iPhone, iPad, Android device or PC.
Navigating the complex world of TV bundles is as difficult as being Paul Pogba’s barber or selecting your fantasy football team. Is it better to go all in with one provider, or should you pick and mix? What 4K and streaming options are available? Is it worth switching broadband providers just to make sure you can catch every minute of Mourinho vs Wenger?
In the era of smartphones and live streaming apps, viewers are no longer forced to sit on the couch if they want to watch Theo Walcott finally trying to figure out if he is a striker, winger or goalkeeper.
It's complicated, but fear not, we've put together a comprehensive guide to help you find the best and cheapest ways of watching all 168 Premier League games live.
Premier League TV rights explained
First of all, let’s look at who has the rights to show the matches
Back in February 2015, Sky and BT paid a combined £5.1 billion for the rights to show 168 games for three seasons beginning with the 2016–17 campaign - that’s over £10 million per game in case you were wondering.
Sky has the majority of the games and will show 126 matches this season, predominantly on Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, and Monday evenings.
BT has secured the rights to 42 games, most of which will be shown at the new 5pm kick-off time on Saturdays. It will also show six mid-week matches and has rights to Champions League, Serie A and FA Cup games.
Watching the Premier League in 4K
Sky is joining BT this year in broadcasting almost all of its games in 4K resolution. It will show 124 games on its Ultra HD service, which is only available through its new Sky Q service.
BT will show some of its allotted games in 4K, but to take advantage of this you will need a BT Ultra HD Entertainment Pack. This supposedly costs just £15 per month, but by the time your roll in the required BT Infinity broadband and line rental, you're actually looking at more than £40 per month.
Related: Best 4K Ultra HD TVs 2016
Sky and Sky Sports breakdown
The most straightforward way to see the majority of the Premier League games is to sign up for Sky Sports. You will get 126 games and the ability to watch them on your big screen TV without fiddling around with cables and apps. The cost, however, depends on whether you are new to Sky or not.
New to Sky – If you are not a Sky customer already and are looking to switch, then the broadcaster is offering some juicy deals including Sky Sports to entice you to sign up for a two year contract.
First up, all new customers qualify for a free 32-inch LG TV as part of the deal, including those signing up for the £47.50 Sky Sports Bundle, which also includes 'free forever' Sky fibre broadband.
You'll still need to pay line rental of £17.40 a month, so in total – getting the basic Sky TV bundle plus Sky Sports, Sky Fibre broadband and a free LG 32-inch TV – you're looking at £64.90 per month.
If you want to move up to the very latest the company offers, then Sky Q with Sky Sports (again including 'free forever' fibre broadband and the accompanying line rental fee) will set you back £88.50 in all, plus a one-off £10 installation fee. If you want Sky Q Silver, then that monthly fee rises further to £100.90.
Sky Q also requires a minimum contract of 18 months, meaning if you do sign up ahead of the Premier League season, you will need to renew your subscription half way through the 2017–18 season.
Existing Sky customers – Sky is offering its existing customers the chance to add Sky Sports to their package for £27.50 per month. That old chestnut 'free forever' fibre broadband makes an appearance again, so add on the £17.40 per month line rental fee and it'll set you back £44.90 on top of your existing subscription. With basic packages starting at £20 a month, you'll be coughing up at least £64.90pm.
Adding BT Sports – Whether you are a regular Sky customer or a Sky Q subscriber, to add BT Sport 1 and 2, as well as ESPN to your Sky package will cost you £21.99 per month. There's no 4K option as far as we're aware, but going HD will set you back an additional £5 per month.
Sky Go – All Sky TV customers get access to the Sky Go app on smartphone, tablet and laptop allowing subscribers to watch live TV on up to two extra devices at once (or up to four if you sign up for Sky Go Extra).
Now TV Combo
Sky’s pay-as-you-go product Now TV has recently been revamped. The new Now TV Combo offering gives you the ability to bundle TV packages with broadband on a month-by-month basis, so you don’t have to sign up for a long term contract.
Now TV has the benefit of being accessible not just through the set-top box, but on a huge range of apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, YouView, Roku, EE TV, Apple TV, LG Smart TV, Google Chromecast, Kindle Fire HD and Blu-ray players – you can watch the Premier League via Now TV pretty much wherever you are.
However, it’s not necessarily that cheap, despite the company's "from £9.99 a month" strap line.
A monthly Sky Sports bundle with the lowest available broadband service (speeds of up to 17MB) and line rental at £17.99 brings you up to £54.98 a month, or roughly £20 more than buying a monthly Sky Sports Pass on its own for £33.99. There's also a £40 or £50 Now TV Combo set-up fee, depending on whether or not you opt for fibre broadband.
Related: Now TV Combo – All you need to know
Sky Sports Mobile TV
If you don’t want to sign up for a Sky TV subscription, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch the coverage on Sky Sports. The Sky Sports Mobile TV app is available on iOS and Android and costs from £4.99 a month for Sky Sports 1 and 2. Considering almost all Premier League games are shown on these channels, you probably don’t need to pay £9.99 a month for the full array of channels.
If you are a Vodafone mobile customer and in the market for a new phone, then you can get access to the Sky Sports Mobile TV app for free for the length of your contract. The bonus is available to those looking for a new phone or those simply looking to sign up for a new SIM-only contract, from as little as £19-a-month.
Sky's cheapest Premier League deal
The cheapest price to watch all live Premier League games on your TV through Sky is £71.99 per month -– Sky Original Bundle (£22.50) Sky Sports (£27.50) BT Sport (£21.99) on a minimum 12 month contract.
Sure, you can do it for a bit cheaper with a Now TV Combo, but there's not really any point – you'll have to pay extra for any entertainment or movie channels, plus there's no option to add-on BT Sport.
The exception is if you're only interested in catching the odd match. In that case, getting a Combo bundle with an Entertainment pass, and then tacking on a daily or weekly Sky Sports pass (£6.99 and £9.99, respectively) as it takes your fancy could be superb value.
Related: Sky Q vs Now TV Combo
BT offers similar bundles to Sky. By signing up for the Starter TV pack (which gives you the same channels as you would get on Freeview, but no option to record programmes), with unlimited broadband (which costs £23.99 including line rental) you get free access to BT Sport 1 and 2 as well as ESPN.
If you want to watch the footy in HD and Ultra HD, you'll need an Entertainment Plus or Total Entertainment package. The 4K-ready Total Entertainment bundle comes with a YouView Ultra HD set-top box and costs £38.99 a month for the most basic set-up – a 25GB allowance of Infinity 1 broadband (speeds of up to 52MB), including line rental of £18.99 a month.
There's also a one-off upfront cost of £76.95 to tack on – this includes your broadband activation fee – while existing BT TV customers can add BT Sport to their package from £5 a month,
All packages include on-the-go viewing via the BT Sport App, which is available on iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices.
Related: 6 best cheap TV deals right now
Adding Sky Sports – To add Sky Sports, you will first need to be able to access the company’s Infinity fibre broadband service (you can see if you are in an area covered by the service on BT’s website). Only Sky Sports 1 and 2 are available on BT TV as a bundle and these will cost an extra £5 a month on top of your broadband and line rental.
BT Sport App – As we said, all BT TV customers can access the BT Sport App for free, but if you're not a BT subscriber, you can sign up to access the app for £5 per month. However, EE customers (only pay monthly customers for now), you can see the Premier League games on your smartphone or tablet through the BT Sport app for free for six months.
After that you'll have to pay £5 per month to keep watching. Unfortunately, you won’t have access to the channels on a big screen and you won’t be able to share them using devices like Google’s Chromecast.
BT's cheapest Premier League deal
The cheapest price to watch all the live Premier League games on your TV through BT is £50.99 per month – BT Starter (£0) BT Infinity (£10) Line Rental (£18.99) Sky Sports (£22) on a minimum 12 month contract.
That's more than £20 less per month than the cheapest Sky bundle, or a savings of over £140 a year.
Virgin Media offers customers the option of adding both Sky Sports and BT Sports to their subscription, and has a wide array of offers and price points available.
On a very basic level, adding Sky Sports to the basic TV More bundle (£20 per month) will cost £31, but unlike BT TV, for that price you get all five Sky Sports channels, plus Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News HQ – though adding HD is an extra £7 per month. Adding BT Sport costs £18 and again this gets you all the channels including HD.
Virgin does, however, offer more options.
It gives customers signing up for its TV XL package (£39.50 per month) access to BT Sport as part of the deal. For those looking for a broadband deal, signing up for the Big Kahuna Sports Bundle will give them access to 200Mbps broadband, Sky Sports and BT Sports.
This will set you back £78.99 for the first 12 months and £102.99 for the final six months of the contract including line rental.
Virgin Media's cheapest Premier League deal
The best price to watch all live Premier League games on your TV through Virgin Media is £69.75 per month – More TV (£20) Sky Sports (£31.75) BT Sport (£18).
The much cheaper options
For a lot of people, the options above will be the easiest ways of getting your Premier League fix, but for those unwilling to sign up for a long-term contract there are still ways to mix and match the offers to get the most for your money.
Remember that the Premier League is operating for 10 months of the year, so signing up for a 12-month contract today might be a waste of money for some sports fans.
If you are willing to watch the Premier League on your smartphone or tablet, then the Sky Sports Mobile TV app will get you through the entire season and give you access to a healthy amount of matches for just £50, or £5 a month (for Sky Sports 1 and 2). Unfortunately, you can't pay for mobile access to BT Sport if you're not a subscriber.
In the market for a new smartphone or broadband contract? Even better. Vodafone will give you access to the Sky Sport Mobile TV app for free if you sign up to at least a 12-month contract, and if you are looking for a broadband deal, then signing up with BT will give you access to the BT Sport app for free for three months, charging you £5 per month for the remaining nine months of the contract.
EE is going one better and giving all customers six months access to the BT Sport App for free, meaning you will only have to pay £20 to get the games for the rest of the season.
However, the problem with going the mobile only route is obviously the fact you are limited to watching the games on a relatively small screen.
The good and bad news...
This can be remedied by using a device like Google’s Chromecast, though it’s not as straightforward as streaming the mobile apps directly from your smartphone to your TV.
BT, for example, only allows you to do this on the BT Sport app if you also have a TV or broadband subscription with them, which is the same situation for the Sky Sports Mobile TV app and Sky Go.
The Now TV app, however, does offer the ability to stream via a Chromecast – even if you only buy a PAYG Sports pass – and you can use a games console, Apple TV and numerous other ways to get your fix on your TV.
Which more or less brings up full circle: what's the best cheap way to watch all the football on your TV and online?
In terms of TV, the answer's simple: the £50.99 a month BT Sky Sports deal we outlined earlier is easily the best value and gets you sofa-based access to all of the Premier League matches shown in the UK – plus BT currently owns exclusive rights to the Champions League, making up for what it lacks in domestic football.
However, if you want to do a lot of your Premier League viewing on-the-go, the picture changes slightly. Neither the Sky Sports or BT Sport apps will let you stream rival content on your mobile device, even if you pay for it as part of your subscription, so for many of you, there's not actually a way to get access to every single match on a phone or tablet with a single sunbscription.
With a dominant 126 matches on offer vs BT Sport's 42 televised fixtures, Sky Sports offers the better mobile selection – but as on-the-go coverage is available for an affordable £5 outside of a Sky contract, it's sort of a moot point.
Casual viewers shouldn't discount the Now TV Combo deals, which (at their absolute cheapest) combine TV, broadband and phone calls for under £30 a month and let you add-on a Sky Sports pass as and when you want.
For most serious fans, though, that won't be a viable option, so it's really BT or bust.
The £5 a month Sky Sports add-on is entirely affordable – in fact, it's cheaper than many-a-London pint – but if you can't or don't want to stretch to it, you can still always cough up for a last minute Now TV pass when you want the full experience, and use the pay-monthly flexibility of the Sky Sports Mobile app to your advantage when you know you're going to be on the move.
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Know of any other great Premier League deals? Is there a better mobile streaming solution? Let us know in the comments below.