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Best TV sports packages in Ireland

If you’re a sports fan, a standard digital TV package may not cut it. Here’s how to choose a sports package that lets you watch all the action, for less.

Who offers sports channels?

There are three digital TV providers that offer sports packages in Ireland:

All three let you add sports channels to their digital TV packages, but only Sky offer standalone TV deals.

Virgin Media or Vodafone don’t offer TV only sports packages so you’ll need to sign up to a broadband and TV bundle to get their sports plans.

What is the best sports TV package?

The main digital TV sports packages in Ireland are:

Sky Sports

Includes 9 dedicated Sky Sports channels including:

  • Premier League football
  • GAA Championship
  • Cricket
  • Golf Majors
  • Rugby

And more. If you sign up with a Sky TV package, you’ll also get the exclusive Sky Sports F1 channel.

Sports Extra

Features 6 sports channels, including:

  • BT Sport 1,2,3,
  • ESPN
  • Premier Sport 1 and 2 plus La Liga TV
  • Live broadcast of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games
  • Premier League games

Plus Scottish FA Cup, Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Rugby.

Virgin Media Sport

Broadcasts over 400 matches of:

  • All UEFA Champions League
  • UEFA Europa League
  • UEFA Nations League games

You can also add Sky Sports, BT Sport and Premier Sports to your existing TV channels for a monthly fee.

Sky and Virgin Media also offer Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports News for free with their TV packages, while some of their premium TV packages also include Eurosport 1 and 2.

Free to air channels like RTÉ, Virgin Media One and BBC also offer decent sports coverage.

What sports can you watch with each package?

Most sports channels offer a variety of live sports, but each has the rights to broadcast different events.

If you’re a fan of a specific sport, always check what’s on offer, below is a brief overview:

Sport Sky Sports Sports Extra Virgin Media Sport  
Rugby European Rugby Union, Rugby League Champions Cup, Challenge Cup Six Nations  
Soccer 126 Premier League games, EFL, Carabao Cup, SPFL, La Liga, & Euro qualifiers 105 Premier League games UEFA Champions & Europa League and Euro qualifiers  
Golf The Majors, European, PGA Tours & Solheim Cup - The Masters  
Motorsports Every Formula 1® practice, qualifying and race live NASCAR, Moto GP -  
Others Tennis, boxing, NFL, GAA and darts Cricket & Boxing French Open tennis  

How to choose a sports TV package

This often comes down to the channels you want, but also consider the TV package as a whole. When you’re comparing TV deals, think about the:

  • Channels: that are most important to you.
  • Price: both before and after any initial discount.
  • Features on offer: like the ability to pause, rewind and record.
  • Add-ons you need: like multi-room, or movie channels.
  • Extra services you need: for example if you want your TV as part of a bundle with your broadband and/or phone.

Compare all TV packages

So, which provider is best?

This depends on what sports channels you want and what you’re prepared to pay.

Many providers include their own sports packages with their TV bundles, but will then make you pay extra to add competitor channels. The good news is you can often find introductory discounts or reduced prices if you bundle your entertainment.

Here’s what each of the three providers offer:

  • sky sports tv package Sky Offers new TV customers the option to add Sky Sports or Sports Extra for a monthly fee. You can also add Sky Sports via your NOW TV package.
  • virgin media sport package Virgin Media Offers Virgin Media Sport for free to all their TV bundle customers with the option to add Sky Sports. You can also sign up for the Virgin Media TV app to gain access to Virgin Media Sport on the go.
  • Vodafone Sport TV Vodafone Add Sky Sports, BT/Premier Sport Pack, or both to their package for an additional charge. New Sky Sports viewers can often benefit from an introductory discount for up to 12 months.

Compare all Broadband & TV packages

What about pay per view events?

Occasionally major sporting events come up that are not included in standard sports packages, common pay per view events include:

  • Boxing title fights
  • MMA events
  • WWE wrestling main events

If you wish to view these pay-per-view events through your TV box, you will normally need to contact your TV provider to do so and will have to pay a once-off fee.

You don’t usually have to be a sports customer to order pay-per-view events, but you will need to have an active TV subscription.

Can you stream any sports for free?

Streaming content that you would normally have to pay for, including live sport is usually illegal and best avoided.

However, some providers do offer online players like the RTÉ Player and Virgin Media Player which are free and completely legal.

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