A guide to TV sports packages

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.

You can also watch some live sport with an Amazon Prime Video subscription, including the Autumn Nations Cup.

What is the best sports TV package?

The main digital TV sports packages in Ireland are:

  • Sky Sports: which includes 9 dedicated Sky Sports channels, so you can enjoy live Premier League football, GAA Championship, cricket, Golf Majors, EFL, rugby and more. If you sign up to Sky Sports with a Sky TV package, you’ll also get the exclusive Sky Sports F1 channel.
  • Sports Extra: which features 6 sports channels, including BT Sport 1,2,3, ESPN and Premier Sport 1 and 2 plus La Liga TV. They broadcast live UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games, Premier League games, Scottish FA Cup, Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Rugby.
  • Virgin Media Sport: which has Wednesday night UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches, as well as live Euro 2020 qualifiers and Six Nations rugby.

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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.

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.

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 2020 qualifiers 105 Premier League games Champions & Europa League and Euro 2020 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  

So, which provider is best?

This depends on what sports channels you want.

Many providers include their own sports packages with their TV bundles, but will then make you pay extra to add competitor channels. Here’s what each of the three providers offer:


Sky offers new TV customers the option to add Sky Sports for €20 per month for the first six months (then €40) or Sports Extra for €17 a month for the first six months (then €34).


Virgin offers Virgin Media Sport for free to all their TV bundle customers with the option to add Sky Sports for €40 a month.

You can also sign up to the Virgin Media TV app for €20 a month to gain access to Virgin Media Sport.


Vodafone broadband and TV customers can add Sky Sports, BT/Premier Sport Pack, or both to their package for an additional charge.

Sky Sports is currently €20 per month for the first six months, and then goes up to €40 a month.

If you want all of the available sports channels, the cheapest option is Virgin Media.

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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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