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.
- 4 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 5 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...
£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...
Day In a Page
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business