Friday 28 October 2016

What is the best TV sports package for football fans?

Published 07/09/2015 | 12:03

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, centre, holds the trophy after the Champions League final
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, centre, holds the trophy after the Champions League final

Autumn goes hand in hand with sports. For fans of all games there's plenty on offer, with the main focus on the Rugby World Cup and the Premier League.

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TV stations vie with each other for the rights to show matches and the providers try their best to grab customers with tempting sports packages. This week I'm looking at what's on offer and where you can yell at the ref for the least amount of money.

I asked's Eoin Clarke where the best value was.

"The good news is there are savings to be made right now. Shopping around for the cheapest sports package could save you €240," he said.

"The bad news is that it is often more confusing to choose the right package for your needs.

"Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League and Football League games are now spread across a range of channels, as is action from the more glamorous European leagues of Serie A and La Liga.

"Weigh up your options about which TV provider will give you the best coverage. For those planning on following the footy from their sofas, it's a question of Sky, Setanta and BT Sport.

"Sky has managed to hold on to the lion's share of matches."

Sky also has a special offer until October 1 for new and existing customers of €20 per month for all sports channels (on a 12-month contract), down from €36 a month.

For new customers, a full regular channel bundle with Sky Sports is €49 a month (usually €65) and an extra €5 gets all seven sports channels.

I also use Sky Go - which is free of charge to customers, allowing you watch from your laptop, tablet or mobile.

Eircom and UPC also offer Sky Sports and Setanta sports as add ons for an extra fee (see table above).

Eircom's e-Vision means you must take their broadband bundle to get it; get online to see if it's available in your area (

From mid-October it's offering tablet/laptop live TV also for no extra cost.

UPC (currently re-branding to Virgin Media) said: "One of the big changes for football this year is that the rights to the Champions League and the Europa league have been acquired by BT Sport, although in Ireland, RTE and TV3 have prime games each week."

UPC has an offer for the Setanta Sports pack for €21 a month (which includes all of the BT Sports channels and games), with the first two months free.

It also has Premier League rights for BT & Sky included in its regular subscription.

Remember - all providers have broadband and phone offers also, so it's worth taking these into account for overall value, rather than for sports TV alone.

Let's not forget terrestrial channels.

RTE has all Euro 2016 qualifier matches on RTE 2, along with Champions League soccer on Wednesday nights throughout the season.

TV3 will show three Uefa Champions League matches from September 15 and has bagged the rights for the Rugby World Cup.All cable operators have the channel included in their listings.

All in all, there's no 'best' answer for sports bundles, but talk to your provider first - they may do a special deal to keep you.



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