Best TV sports packages in Ireland

If you’re a sports fan, a standard digital TV bundle may not cut it. Here’s how to choose a TV 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
  • Tennis
  • 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:

  • TNT Sports 1,2,3, (formerly BT Sport)
  • ESPN
  • F1
  • Tennis
  • 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

Broadcasts over 400 matches of:

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

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

Sky and Virgin Media also offer Sky Sports Mix, Sky Sports News and Eurosport 1 and 2 with their standard TV package.

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  
Tennis US Open, ATP, WTA Tour      
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, for a minimum of 12 months. You can also add Sky Sports via your NOW or Sky Stream subscriptions.
  • Virgin Media logo Virgin Media Offers Sport for free with their TV bundle, with the option to add just Sky Sports, or Sky Sports & Sky Sports Extra. You can also sign up for the Virgin Media TV app to gain access to Sport on the go.
  • Vodafone Sport TV Vodafone Euro Sport 1 & 2, as well as Sky racing, is included with their standard bundle. Opt for their TV Sport Bundle with a NOW TV membership for access to Sky Sports channels.

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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