THE biggest battle of the climax to the Premier League will be fought not on the pitch but between TV channels vying for viewers’ cash.
BT Sport, Sky Sports and NOW TV are drawing up the battle lines as football fans prepare for the league to resume on June 17.
There is a manic six weeks of action, building up to the new finish date of July 25.
There are 92 games left to play, all to be televised, and you can watch 33 of them free — but not the rest.
Here’s how to keep on the ball and NOT spend a fortune, with some top tips from price-comparison site Uswitch’s TV expert Nick Baker . . .
FREE TRANSFERS? Yes, you can watch a third of the games without spending a penny.
Amazon Prime’s four matches are available to non-subscribers, and Sky Sports is screening 25 of its 64 clashes on its free Sky Pick channel.
Plus, the BBC has four games — the first time live Premier League action has been shown by the Beeb.
Nick says: “You don’t need to have an expensive sports subscription to watch 33 of the Premier League games.”
WHAT ABOUT THE BIG-MONEY DEALS? For fans who want to watch more of the games, there are plenty of deals.
BT’s Big Sport package — which gives you all the BT Sport and Sky Sports channels — is slashed from £40 a month to just £20.
Its cheaper Sport package, without Sky’s channels, is down from £15 to £7.50 a month.
Sky’s Premier League and Football package has been reduced from £22 to £18 a month.
To watch all sports, its fuller package is down from £48 to £39 a month.
One of the best deals is from NOW TV, which has cut the cost of its Sky Sports Month Pass from £33.99 to £20 a month when you buy it for three months, which will see you well past the scheduled end of the season.
This is not advertised on their website but current or previous customers should have had an email. It is also worth calling them up, even if you are new to them.
You get all the Sky Sports channels. But you do have to pay for all three months up front to get the discounted rate.
WHAT IS THE TOP SIGNING? Nick reckons NOW TV’s deal “looks like brilliant value for money”.
He says: “For just £60, you can get all 64 of the matches being screened on Sky Sports.”
Hurry though, the offer ends tomorrow.
The package will renew automatically at the end of the three months for £33.99 a month, so put a note in your calendar to remind yourself to cancel your subscription if you do not want it to continue.
SCOUT YOUR NEW SIGNING PROPERLY: BT Sport has halved the monthly cost of its Big Sport and Sport packages for three months.
But Nick says: “Be aware that you are signing up for a 24-month contract, and the prices revert to the normal level after the initial three-month offer period.
“If you just want to watch the end of the Premier League season, BT’s £25 monthly pass is a better option, since it can be cancelled at any time.
“There is no special offer on this — but it’s pretty good anyway and you have this flexibility.
Sky’s deals are on an 18-month contract and there is also a £20 set-up fee.
DO NOT JUST LOOK AT THE SIGNING-ON BONUS: Consider the whole cost of the package and do not look at only the lowest initial monthly cost.
BT Sport’s deals appear to be cheapest, but they tie you in to a long contract, whereas NOW TV and BT Sport’s monthly passes have the benefit of flexibility and allow you to cancel at any time you choose.
CAN I RENEGOTIATE MY CURRENT DEAL? Some existing subscribers to Sky Sports and BT Sport may feel hard done by after seeing the deals being offered to new customers.
Both were quick to pause subscriptions while the Premier League season was on hold, but customers’ monthly payments are set to resume.
BT Sport customers get a 50-per-cent discount on their June bill — which seems fair enough with only half a month’s worth of Premier League action.
Sky Sports is only resuming bills from June 19 for the same reason.
Nick says: “If you are not happy with how your provider is treating you, just contact them and ask them if they will offer you the deals that they are advertising to their new customers.
“If you are out of contract, you can consider leaving your deal and moving over to a no-strings-attached option such as NOW TV’s Sky Sports Month Pass.”
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