Now could be the time to scrap pricey sports TV packages

You could cut the cost of a TV sports package in half

Updated: 
Wales v Belgium - UEFA Euro 2016 - Quarter Final - Stade Pierre Mauroy

A quarter of people who pay for sports channels admit that they watch less than an hour of sport every week. Research by Freesat calculated that this works out at almost £11 an hour for sports coverage - which is an eye-watering sum even for the biggest sorts fans. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

Football fans who need to see every game will need the Sky Sports package and BT Sport. If you are a Sky customer, the sports package will cost another £25.50 a month on top of any Sky TV bundle. Sky customers can also sign up for BT Sport for another £22 a month. That's a total of £47.50 a month for your sports fix.

It's important to bear in mind that this isn't the entirety of your monthly cost - it's the portion of it devoted to sport.

If you were to do this through Virgin Media, you can get Sky Sports added in for an extra £31.75 a month, and add BT sports for £18 a month. That's £49.75 a month - just for the sport part of the package.

This sort of cost is not something many people could take on the chin, so it's essential to consider carefully whether any of the alternatives would offer enough to meet your needs.

Free TV
You don't need to buy a package if you are an occasional sports fan: there is an awful lot of coverage on free TV - including the British Grand Prix, Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. There's even plenty of football - as long as you're not tied to watching the Premiership. So, for example, BBC and ITV have all England internationals and some FA Cup matches.

Freesat spokesperson Jennifer Elworthy says: "Millions of fans will be tuning into watch this summer's sporting events and it's important people realise just how many of them are available to watch subscription-free. She adds: "With more pay TV price rises in sight, now is a good time to think about cutting costs for good."

However, there will be plenty of fans who are glued to the cricket or the football, who can only get access to their sporting obsessions by paying for it.

Cheaper deals for new customers
One option is to hunt for a cheaper deal. If you are prepared to switch provider, they regularly offer special deals for new users - so you could get dramatically discounted subscription rates.

It's also worth looking for deals on cashback sites like Topcashback.co.uk or Quidco, who often offer cash back on new subscriptions.

It's important to check, however, whether you qualify as a new customer.

Haggle
If you don't have the freedom to switch, or you don't qualify as a new customer, it's always worth phoning and haggling over the price. If you ask to be put through to the cancellations team, they will have the power to offer you a cheaper deal in order to get you to stay.

BT deal
If you have completed the minimum period of your broadband, and are prepared to switch provider, you can get BT sport 'lite' for free (which shows the Premier League), or a BT Sports package for £6 a month (which shows the Premier League as well as the Champions League and FA Cup), by switching to BT broadband.

If you want both Sky TV and BT Sport, then instead of having Sky TV and paying £22 extra for BT Sport, you can switch to BT Broadband, and get your BT Sport that way for £6 a month. That will bring down the combined price of the sports to £31.50 a month - although you have to factor in whether you'll pay any more for your broadband.

Drop sports for the summer
Regardless of whether or not you are in contract, you can drop Sky Sports from the package for a period, and save money. If you only tend to watch the football, or just the cricket, then you can drop the channel on the off-season and save a small fortune.

Contract-free deals
If there are special events that you are keen to see, then an alternative is a short-term pass from Now TV. You can sign up to Sky Sports for a day for £6.99, a week for £10.99, or a month for £33.99. It means that if you only want to see the sport for a few months a year, you could make substantial savings.

Overall, therefore, the cheapest approach would seem to be joining BT broadband, and getting BT Sport for £6 a month. Then you can sign up for a Now TV pass for specific events only covered by Sky Sports - so you'll have to pick the ones that matter enough to you.

That way, you could get BT Sport all year round, and Now TV monthly passes for half the year, for an average of £23 a month (on top of your BT broadband charges). That's roughly half the price.

But what do you think? Is sport worth paying almost £50 a month for, or would you rather watch whatever comes for free.

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