Where can I get BT Sport?
THE BT Sports and ESPN channels are available from most pay TV providers: Sky, Virgin Media and BT themselves.
Since launch, BT have been adding steadily to the number of events and fixtures to which they hold the rights.
In August 2015 they added BT Sport Europe and BT Sport Ultra HD to their channel line up. The former is the exclusive home of live UEFA League games, while the latter is the first ultra HD channel in the UK and offers blisteringly sharp coverage of certain events.
In this guide, we look at the best deals both for those already in a contract and for those happy to move provider.
What have you got?
- Virgin Media
- Sky (inc. subscription-free Sky box/dish owners)
- Happy to switch? New customer deals
Or, to find out what all the fuss is about, keep reading.
What's on BT Sport?
Here's a flavour of what the channels currently show:
- Football: Fixtures from the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, Scottish Premier and Championship League (the latter for Rangers matches), UEFA Champions and Europa League, Bundesliga, Major League Soccer, Serie A and other world leagues.
- Rugby: the Aviva Premiership, European Rugby Champions Cup, European Rugby Challenge Cup.
- Other: Women's Tennis Association (WTA), MotoGP, World Rally Championships, NASCAR, UFC, US sport including NBA basketball and Major League baseball.
Alongside big name presenters like Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey, their team of ex-sports star commentators includes Rio Ferdinand, David James, and Ray Stubbs, and they also call on the services of Matt Dawson, Martin Bayfield, Martina Navratilova and Michael Owen.
They're the only place to see live Aviva Premiership rugby, and UEFA Champions and Europa League football; in the 2015-16 season they snagged exclusive rights for 38 Barclays Premier League matches, and next season they'll be able to show 42.
BT and ESPN
BT bought ESPN's UK channels in February 2013. Since BT Sport launched in August 2014, they've primarily used BT Sport ESPN - to give it its proper title - to show American sports including basketball, baseball, and college games.
It's impossible to get ESPN without BT Sport, and impossible to get BT Sport without ESPN.
BT Sports vs Sky Sports
Unsurprisingly, since they have six channels - seven if we count Sky Sports News - Sky still hold far more exclusive rights than BT and can show a greater range of sports.
Crucially they've sole access to many of the big name events: the Ashes; the Rugby Super League; and the Ryder Cup.
At present, Sky can show 116 live Premier League games per season while BT only have the rights to 38. BT's access is generally to matches shown on Saturdays; Sky take the Wednesday and Sunday matches.
This is unlikely to change next season, when as mentioned above, BT will get the rights to another four games , taking their tally to 42 - but Sky have also gained extra rights, giving them a total of 126 live matches over the course of the season.
Find out more about Sky Sports in our full guide here.
BT Sport 2: 410 SD / 432 HD
ESPN: 411 SD / 433 HD
BT Sport Europe: 409 SD / 431 HD
BT Sport Ultra HD: 434
BT Sport plus ESPN used to be free for all BT broadband and BT TV customers.
But early in 2015, BT announced plans to charge broadband-only customers for online and app access; the only way to get the channels free now is by signing up to a BT TV contract.
Outside contract, even BT TV customers have to pay, at a cost of £6 per month.
At least it's now available to all TV customers, rather than just those with Infinity - although the HD versions are still limited to Infinity-only customers willing to pay an extra £5 a month, and BT Sport Ultra HD is limited to those with the Total Entertainment TV package and set top box.
For more on BT TV see our full review here.
BT's broadband-only customers can still subscribe free of charge to BT Sport Lite - BT Sport 1 and one of the interactive "Extra" channels - but those wanting the full set of channels must pay for the online player and mobile app, at £5 a month.
Here are some of BT's latest offers for those thinking of taking the plunge with them:
BT Sport 2: 532 SD / 528 HD
ESPN: 534 SD / 530 HD
BT Sport Europe: 533 SD / 529 HD
BT signed a wholesale deal with Virgin Media in August 2013, giving subscribers all the BT Sport channels free of charge with Full House TV (and for older customers, the TV XL deal), or as an add on with other TV packages.
Subscribers to the old Big Kahuna bundle get the old TV XL package, so they get BT Sport included as standard; as the name suggests, the new Full House Bundle comes with Full House TV - and therefore with BT Sport.
Shortly before BT Sport Europe launched, Virgin announced they were increasing the price of the BT Sport channel pack by £3 a month to cover the cost of the new channel.
Customers who took the add-on could at least drop it, but those with XL or the Big Kahuna Bundle had to swallow the £3 increase to their monthly bill.
But while the prices of Virgin's refreshed TV deals have risen, the BT Sport add-on has stayed the same price for now.
Here are the prices for the cheapest standalone Virgin Media TV package, Mix TV, with BT Sport added, and for Full House TV on its own.
|BT Sports packages||Total monthly|
|Mix TV (£24.50)
BT Sport (£18)
|Full House TV
including BT Sport free
These prices are for TV only, with Virgin's standard 500GB Tivo box. It's possible to bring the cost down £5 a month by opting for the basic V HD box instead.
There's no need to take a phone line, but bundling services together often works out cheaper. Find out more in our review of Virgin Media TV.
Depending on what channels and services customers are after, it may work out better value to upgrade to Full House TV - with almost 100 extra channels, on demand content and the HD versions of BT Sport included - than paying the £18 add-on.
Anyone tempted to go the Virgin TV route should also be aware of the offers they run for new customers, some of which are listed here:
BT Sport 2: 410 SD / 432 HD
ESPN: 411 SD / 433 HD
BT Sport Europe: 409 SD / 431 HD
Plusnet TV customers have two ways of getting BT Sport.
From August 2015, BT Sport 1 and the interactive channel BT Sport Extra 1 - which together make up BT Sport Lite - have been included in the list of "premium" channels included as standard with Plusnet's Youview TV service.
For £5 a month, viewers can add the rest of the bundle - and customers taking Plusnet's HD pack, which costs £3 a month, will find that gives them access to whichever of the BT Sport channels they can already receive in HD as well.
Plusnet TV is only available to existing fibre broadband customers - anyone thinking of joining should consider one of their introductory offers, listed here:
Otherwise, those who take their TV from Sky can also watch BT Sport via the Sky Digital Satellite Platform, from £9.99 a month in SD, and £12.49 a month in HD.
New Sky customers waiting for their viewing card can call to set up the service, but those who already have their card should follow the procedure outlined below to provide Plusnet with the code.
BT Sport 2: 417
BT Sport Europe: 414
HD subscribers will see these channels in HD; otherwise they will broadcast in SD
It used to be the case that only people with BT Broadband could get BT Sport on Sky - but that's changed recently.
Those who do have BT Broadband and are within contract only have to pay £6 a month to get the channels on their Sky boxes - and access to the online player and app.
People whose minimum BT Broadband contract term is up and don't want to renew should expect to pay £12.75 a month. Even BT Sport Lite can end up costing Sky TV customers; once their BT Broadband contract is up, Lite will cost £6.75 a month.
For those who don't have BT Broadband at all, the channel pack is an expensive addition to their line up. To get them in SD on one box costs £21.99 a month; in HD they cost £26.99.
To watch on a second box costs an extra £6 a month - and whichever option or combination Sky viewers go for, there are activation fees to pay as well.
Viewers going for the HD option can choose whether to sign up for a month at a time - with an activation fee of £30 - or take the plunge with a 12 month contract; those who only want SD must commit for a year. Anyone committing for the year will pay a smaller activation fee of £15.
To get it, customers should contact BT via the BT Sport section of their website, with the number on their Sky viewing card - don't remove it; instead bring up the TV Guide, then select "settings".
In addition it's worth considering some of the offers Sky run for new and existing customers, which could help cover the cost of adding BT Sport:
BT Sport 2: 410 SD
ESPN: 411 SD
BT Sport Europe: 409 SD
After what seems like a very long time, in June 2016 BT Sport finally became available on TalkTalk TV, although it's rather expensive at £21.99 a month for the channels in SD.
There's also an activation fee to take into account, and how much that costs depends on whether we sign up for 12 months, or to a one month rolling contract.
Those committing for the year will need to pay £15 - but anyone wanting to simply try out the channels will face an activation charge of £30.
TalkTalk don't offer any HD channels other than those it's possible to get on Freeview, so there's no option for adding the BT Sport pack in high definition.
To get the channels, customers need to call BT on 0800 169 4487 - and if they also want to be able to watch online or via the app, they'll need to create a BT ID.
TalkTalk are well known for their introductory offers, which could help ease the cost of getting BT Sport with them:
Happy to switch?
Those happy to switch can take their pick of the best home media bundles that include the BT Sport channels.
The service is:
|£18 a month with Virgin Media
or free with Full House TV
|£5 a month with Plusnet
or £9.99 a month with Plusnet, via Sky
|From £21.99 a month with Sky
or £6 a month with Sky, via BT
or £5.99 a month with Sky, via Plusnet
|£21.99 a month with TalkTalk|
Those who aren't sure which pay TV provider is best for them can find the deals and channels available to them using our TV postcode search here.
But as we mentioned above, it may be better value to bundle more services - landline, broadband and pay TV - then pay the add-on for BT Sport where necessary.
Again, do check area availability and compare the range of deals here - and remember the offers listed above as well.
If it comes down to a choice between the big three, there's more on the differences between BT, Sky and Virgin in our full guide here.
BT Sport isn't available from...
Freesat customers can only get BT Sport if they have Freesat from Sky - that is a box that can receive Sky TV and dish, with the special Freesat from Sky viewing card.
Although BT TV runs on Youview, the service isn't available to those with a Youview box bought from the High Street: only Youview boxes from a pay TV / broadband provider can access BT Sport.