Will court case mean cheaper live football?
Karen Murphy, a pub landlady, celebrated a major court victory this week after the European Court of Justice supported her right to show live games at her Portsmouth boozer bought through a cheap Greek satellite company. But hopes that homes and pubs could get access to cheap live games as a result of the ruling currently looks unlikely.
"Our view is that despite this landlady's court victory, any change in the way sports rights are controlled and shown in the UK is likely to be a long time away," according to Charlie Ponsonby, the boss of the TV, broadband and home phone comparison service, Simplifydigital.com.
Fed up with the high subscription costs for live Premier League games, Karen paid £800 a year for the Greek service which, she said, was 10 times cheaper than buying Sky Sports' pub licence. The Premier League took her to court under the Copyright Act and won: she was ordered to pay almost £8,000 for using the Greek decoder. But the ECJ sitting in Luxembourg this week overturned the decision.
The ruling effectively allows anyone to buy a decoder from elsewhere in Europe to watch games but, in practice, for homes it won't work out much cheaper. And the Premier League, keen to protect its lucrative broadcast licences, claims that pubs and clubs still need its authorisation to show games.
We won't get a final ruling on this for another three months, but in the meantime, which are the most cost-effective ways to watch live sport?
"The market is as complex as ever with Sky, Virgin Media and BT all offering competing Sky Sports deals," Charlie Ponsonby points out. "As a result you need a PhD in armchair sports to wade through the myriad of offers and counter-offers."
Simplifydigital says there are four rules to follow to find out the best deal for you. First, for those who want a complete Sky Sports package on its own with home phone or broadband, Virgin Media is the cheapest option.
Virgin charges £35 per month for the Sky Sports Collection – with its TV size (M+) package. The price excludes a £49.95 set-up charge. Sky charges £40 per month for the Sky+ Entertainment Pack and the Sky Sports Collection, which has an additional £79 set-up charge.
However, Sky is the cheapest if you want to get Sky Sports bundled with broadband and home phone services, although BT is cheaper if you're happy with just Sky Sport 1 and 2. See panel bottom for details.
If you want ESPN as well as Sky without having to sign up for a contract then TopUpTV – at £40.99 per month – is the cheapest, although it does not include Sky Sports 3, 4 or Sky Sports News.
If you want Sky Sports HD then Sky and Virgin Media are the only two choices, with Virgin cheaper at £42 per month with a £49.95 set-up.
How to save on live football matches
Bundling your TV subscription with your home phone and broadband is a cost-effective way to access live football. Sky is the cheapest place to get the full Sky Sports Collection in a bundle while BT offers the lowest price for the channels showing live Premier League, according to SimplifyDigital.com.
Sky's basic TV, broadband and phone bundle deal costs £40 per month plus a £79 set-up charge and line rental at £12.25 per month. It includes Sky Sports, Sky Broadband Lite (up to 20 Mbps broadband with a small 2 Gig usage cap) and free evening and weekend calls. The package includes Sky Sports 1,2,3,4 and Sky Sports News. You also get a Sky+ HD box, with access to BBC and ITV in HD.
If you only want Sky Sports 1 and 2, where live Premier League matches are shown, plus ESPN thrown in, BT offers the cheapest bundled option. BT TV Essentials + Broadband and Evening & Weekend Calls is £21.40 for the first four months, climbing to £34.40, excluding line rental and a £30 set up fee. It offers up to 20 Mbps with a 10 Gig usage cap, evening and weekend calls plan, but comes with a longish 18-month contract.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar