Sport on UK TV – Who Offers What?

Sky Digital Logo BT Vision Logo Virgin Media Logo TalkTalk TV

On this page, we look at which Sport channels are available Sky, Virgin, BT Vision and TalkTalk TV, and explain how to get the various sports channels.

Sky's Sporting EPG

The Sky Digital TV Programme Guide – Showing the Sport EPG

Offer AlertRecommended Sports Options:

  • For the widest choice of sporting channels, and sport in HD, Sky is the answer: Free Sky+HD box currently available. Sport on Sky
  • Lower prices for Premier League? BT Vision is now able to offer Sky Sports: Prices from £12.30 a month. Free ESPN is available. Sport on BT Vision


Sports channels compared

Sky Digital Sky LogoIt’s hard to dispute that for sports TV in the UK, Sky Digital is the master. Here’s a rundown of the sports channels available on Sky Digital:

Pay per view events: These include boxing matches and Premier League football.

High-definition: Sky Sports has three High-definition (HD) sports channels, offering live Barclays Premier League Football, Football League, Cricket and Rugby. Eurosport and ESPN are also available in HD. More on Sky HD.

PC / Mobile phone: The Sky Anytime Mobile Phone service offers breaking sports headlines, interviews and results with live Sky Sports News.

To get Sky’s Sporting packages, you need to sign up, then have one of Sky’s engineers to install a satellite dish to your house and to connect a ‘digibox’ – a set-top box that into your TV.

For full details of Sky’s sporting package, go to


Order NowCost: You can get Sky Digital, with one of Sky’s ‘mix’ packages, plus the Sky Sports Mix package, for £39.75 a month.

This gives you over 200 channels of telly, the widest selection of sports channels, plus a free digibox when ordered online.

Price alert: Looking for a cheaper option? Consider BT Vision (now offering Sky Sports and ESPN)

More information on Sport at Sky:, or see our Sky Digital page

BT Vision BT Vision LogoBT Vision is now able to undercut Sky on prices for Sky Sport!

BT Vision combines Freeview and on-demand TV, films and sport on your telly over a BT Broadband connection.

Sporting services offered include:

  • Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2
  • ESPN – Barclays and Clydesdale Premier League matches.

Order BT VisionCost: BT Vision customers can get Sky Sports 1 from £12.30 a month. ESPN is FREE to Vision Unlimited subscribers.

Pay Per View sporting content is also available (from 99p per event).

BT Vision Sport Screenshot

Pay-to-view matches on-demand

You need home broadband from BT Broadband to get BT Vision.

More on our BT Vision page, or at Also, consider joining our BT Vision mailing list for news on BT Vision.


Virgin Media Cable Cable TV operator Virgin Media (formerly Telewest and NTL) offers a number of sports channels. Not as many as Sky, but still worth considering. Channels are:

Virgin Media Sport

  • Sky Sports 1 , Sky Sports 2 , Sky Sports 3
  • Sky Sports Xtra – Live and recorded events
  • At The Races – Horse racing from UK, Ireland, North America and Germany
  • British Eurosport UK
  • British Eurosport 2 UK
  • ESPN – Barclays and Clydesdale Premier League matches. Also in HD
  • Extreme Sports
  • Manchester United TV (Separate subscription required)
  • Motors TV
  • Arsenal TV
  • Liverpool FC TV
  • Racing UK
  • You need to be in a Virgin Media cable TV area. You’ll need a set-top box to receive services, and you’ll need a visit from an engineer to connect you.

There’s more about Virgin Media on our Virgin Media TV page. To see if cable TV is available in your area, go to


Top Up TV Top Up TV+ BoxTop Up TV Anytime is essentially a Freeview set-top box with a hard-disk recorder. The service offers a small amount of extra TV content that’s delivered to your set-top box overnight for watching over the next seven days. With Top Up TV, here are the live sports channels available:

  • Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2
  • ESPN – Barclays and Clydesdale Premier League matches (for an extra £10.99 a month).

To get Top Up TV, you need to be in a Freeview coverage area. You need a Freeview set-top box or a digital TV set with a compatible Top Up TV Subscription card slot, such as the Top Up TV Anytime box.

Cost: A Top Up TV Anytime box costs from £30.

More detail at, or on our Top Up TV Anytime page.


TalkTalk TV TalkTalk LogoTalkTalk was formerly known as Tiscali TV, and offers TV over a phone line in the London area, as well as a number of other major towns in the UK. Here are the channels available:

  • Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3., Sky Sports 4
  • Sky Sports News
  • ESPN
  • ESPN America
  • British EuroSport
  • Chelsea TV

To get Talktalk TV, you need to be in their coverage area. TalkTalk TV will supply a set-top box for connection to your telly and a phone line.

Cost: The TalkTalk TV service costs £19.99 a month for Broadband plus their basic TV service. Sport channels cost extra.

More on our TalkTalk TV Page, or at


Freeview Freeview offers around 70 channels of digital TV and radio. It’s thin on the ground for Sports channels:

Cost: To get Freeview, you need to check that you’re in a Freeview coverage area, then buy a Freeview set-top box. Make sure it has a card slot suitable for a subscription card if you’re planning to get Sky Sports or ESPN.

More detail at




Sky Sports 1 and 2 LogosHow to get Sky Sports:

There are four Sky Sports channels available, but they’re not available on all services:

  • Sky Sports package (satellite) – All 4 channels – Channel 401, 402, 403 and 404 (Also in HD)
  • BT Vision – Sky Sports 1 and 2 only (from £12.30 a month!)
  • Top Up TV – Sky Sports 1 and 2 only (No contract!)
  • Virgin Media (cable) – All 4 channels – Channel 512, 513, 514 and 516
  • TalkTalk TV (via a phone line) – All 4 channels

Sky Sports – the Options Compared


ESPN LogoHow to get ESPN:

After Setanta went into administration, ESPN stepped in to acquire rights to the Barclays Premier and Clydesdale Bank Premier matches due to be shown on Setanta. A new channel was set up in August 2009 to cover Premier League football, as well as other British sports, and some US sport.

ESPN is available on the following services:


Eurosport logoHow to get Eurosport

British Eurosport is available in the UK on the following services:

British Eurosport is not available on Freeview, BT Vision or Freesat at this time.


Racing UKHow to get Racing UK

Racing UK offers horseracing coverage, and is available in the UK on the following services:



Your Sports TV Questions

Q. Eurosport in Ireland. “I have a question regarding Eurosport on Sky Digital… I live in Ireland and get British Eurosport, but is there a setting in the set up where i can get purely English speaking Eurosport? This may seem a small difference between the 2 offerings, but the main European English speaking Eurosport channel offers much more European cycling, where as British Eurosport doesn’t…. (David Williams. Apr 2007)

A. Not sure we know the answer to this one. I assume that the channels you get with your Sky subscription are the ones that you get. There’s no magic setting to change to a different version of Eurosport. Mail us if you can help David out with this one?



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