Cheapest ways to watch football on TV 2020
Love football but hate the huge subscription costs to watch games on TV? Us too. So we're revealing our tactics for the cheapest or free ways to watch each major competition this season!
UPDATE: If you're looking for info on how to watch the Premier League for free after the coronavirus break, click here.
There are two types of people in this world: those who love how much football is on TV and those who don't. We're guessing you're in the former group, and if so, you've come to the right place.
But no matter how much you enjoy watching football, the cost of subscribing to every channel showing the Premier League, Champions League, SPL, Football League etc. can be eyewatering.
Read on to discover which channels have the TV rights to each competition and league this season, plus the cheapest (and even free!) ways to watch live football on Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video. All legal of course! 🙂
What’s on this page?
Which channels have football TV rights for 2019/20?
In 2019/20, the rights for showing live English, Scottish and European football on TV are shared between four broadcasters:
- Amazon Prime Video
- BT Sport
- Sky Sports
Unfortunately, no single broadcaster has the rights to show every competition, and even the rights to individual competitions are sometimes split between channels too.
So, if you're wondering where to watch the Premier League, Champions League, Carabao Cup or any other major competition this season, this table breaks down which channels have which matches.
How many football matches does each broadcaster have?
|Broadcaster||Premier League||Champions and Europa League||FA Cup||Carabao Cup||EFL||SPL|
|-||-||Up to 16*||-||-||-|
|52||351**||Up to 24*||-||-||30|
* Final figure may be less depending on the number of replays in earlier rounds
** BT Sport broadcast every single UEFA Champions League and Europa League fixture (125 in UCL, 226 in UEL)
*** Includes all 15 playoff semi-finals and finals.
Cheap Sky Sports deals and offers
Although it doesn't quite have the monopoly on TV rights it once did, Sky Sports is still arguably the biggest sports broadcaster in the UK.
Sky Sports has more than double the number of English Premier League (EPL) games than any other broadcaster, including all first-pick matches (basically meaning they can show the best game every weekend) and the Monday and Friday night football slots.
The Carabao Cup and English Football League are also exclusively available to watch live on Sky Sports, and the channel has an equal share (alongside BT Sport) of the Scottish Premier League rights.
Cheap NOW TV Sky Sports Passes
If you're a slightly more casual football fan, or you only fancy paying to watch your own team play, you might be better off buying NOW TV passes as and when you want to watch Sky Sports.
NOW TV offers four types of Sky Sports Passes:
- Day Pass – £9.99
- Month Pass – £33.99
While these prices may seem a little steep, there are loads of ways to get discounts on NOW TV passes.
One of our favourite tips is to buy passes through third-party sites offering a discount, like CDKeys – at the time of writing, you could pick up a Sky Sports Month Pass for £23.99 (29% off) and Day Passes for £3.99 (40% off).
Watch Sky Sports for free on Sky One
Every now and again, Sky will decide to double up and show a game on Sky One as well as Sky Sports. This only tends to happen on special occasions (like the first game of the season, or during the festive period), but Sky One will usually get at least a couple of games each season.
In fact, Sky decided to broadcast the first game of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Liverpool vs Norwich, live on Sky One.
If you're ever lucky enough to have one of your team's games selected for Sky One coverage, or you just fancy watching whichever they go for, you could make a significant saving by buying a different type of NOW TV pass.
Sky One is included in a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, and although these are only available in monthly form, the RRP is a pretty reasonable £8.99 a month – cheaper than a Sky Sports Day Pass, with 29 extra days thrown in too.
Of course, as before, you can also use sites like CDKeys to get heavily discounted NOW TV Entertainment Passes – and that's not to mention the seven-day free trial you can get as a new member, which could let you watch the Premier League for free.
There are loads of ways to get cheap NOW TV passes, so to save us repeating ourselves, check out our guide to streaming films and TV for less.
Cheap BT Sports deals and offers
BT Sport is the only place to watch the Champions League and Europa League in the UK, and once again it'll be showing every single game from both competitions.
And as if that wasn't enough, BT Sport will also be showing over 50 English Premier League games, 30 Scottish Premier League matches and additional live clashes from round one of the FA Cup all the way through to the final.
Watch BT Sport for free on your phone
The BT Sport app is usually reserved for those who are already subscribed to the channels through their broadband or TV provider. But for EE customers, there's another way.
During this free trial you can cast the app to your tele (more on how to do that here), and best of all, any data you use to stream content on the app won't count against your monthly allowance.
All you need to do is text 'SPORT' to 150, but bear in mind that if you don't want to start paying for the app at the end of the three-month trial, you'll need to cancel by texting 'STOP SPORT' to 150. Otherwise, you'll probably have to pay £10 a month to continue using the app, plus extra if you want to watch the football on your TV.
We say "probably", as EE customers with a Max plan can get the BT Sport app included at no extra cost, and if you're on a Smart Plan, you can select the BT Sport app as one of your Swappable Benefits (again, at no extra cost).
Finally, whether you're an existing EE customer or looking to join the network, it's always worth seeing if you can get the BT Sport app added to your plan either for free or at a discounted price. We've heard stories of it working, so check out our tips on haggling and try it for yourself!
How to watch football on Amazon Prime for free
There's a new broadcaster on the scene for the 2019/20 Premier League season: Amazon Prime Video.
The streaming service had the exclusive rights to 20 matches this year: all 10 from the first round of midweek fixtures in December, plus every game on Boxing Day. Of course, with December now behind us, there's not much point in signing up to Amazon Prime Video to watch football this season.
However, Amazon will be showing another 20 games per season in 2020/21 and 2021/22 – so take note of the following hack to watch some football for free next time around!
Six months of Amazon Prime for free
It's one of our favourite deals, so forgive us if you're already in the loop – but as a student, you're entitled to a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime Student.
Amazon Prime Student has pretty much all of the same major perks as the standard Prime offering, including access to Prime Video. Amazon's Premier League games are available to watch on Prime Video at no extra cost, meaning if you're a Prime member, you'll be able to watch the football too.
This also means that, as long as you signed up for your free trial at the right time (in the 2019/20 season, this was six months or less before the December fixtures), you can watch all of Amazon's games for free. We repeat: you can watch 20 Premier League football games on TV for free.
Again, though, you'll need to remember to cancel your free trial before the six months are up, otherwise you'll automatically be charged either £39 or £3.99 (depending on whether it becomes a monthly or annual subscription).
You can only sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime once, so if you've already used yours, we'd recommend signing up for one month of Prime at the beginning of whatever month they choose to broadcast their games (assuming that, as in the 2019/20 season, Amazon select 20 fixtures within the same month).
That way you'll be able to watch all of Amazon's Premier League games, and get free next-day delivery for your online shopping hauls, for the bargain price of £3.99.
How to watch BBC without a TV Licence
Aside from showing the weekend's Premier League highlights on Match of the Day every Saturday and Sunday night, the BBC only has the rights to one competition this season. Fortunately, it's a cracker: the FA Cup.
In total, the Beeb could end up showing up to 16 live FA Cup games, depending on how many replays there end up being in rounds one to five. At the business end of the season, the BBC and BT Sport will have one semi-final apiece, with both channels showing the final live.
While it's easy to think of the BBC as being free (it's available on Freeview, after all), you will need a TV Licence to watch it... except when you don't.
Despite TV Licensing making a big deal about the fact that you even need a licence to watch iPlayer, we've uncovered a totally legal loophole (as confirmed by TV Licensing themselves) which could let you watch live tele without paying for a TV Licence.
Check out our guide to the TV Licence loophole for more info!
How to watch live football on TV for free
If you'd rather not pay to watch live football on TV, and for whatever reason you're unable to use the above tips on watching matches for free, there is one more way to do it: go to a pub or bar that's showing the game!
There's a decent chance your Students' Union will screen games on Sky Sports and BT Sport, and if so, this is almost certainly the cheapest way to watch live football on TV (bearing in mind that the cost of a pint is usually less than at a normal pub!).
If your SU hasn't forked out for Sky or BT, then beyond complaining that your tuition fees should be going to worthy causes such as this, your next best bet is to head to the pub.
Although they can be relied upon for pretty much anything else, Wetherspoon pubs almost never have Sky Sports or BT Sports (this is partly how they manage to make everything else so cheap). Instead, you'll need to find another fine public house to watch the game – and that's where MatchPint comes in.
MatchPint is an awesome little app that shows you pubs and bars in your area that are screening whichever sporting event you're interested in. What's more, MatchPint will also sort you out with a free pint when you get there!
The only downside is that in order to be featured on the app, pubs and bars have to supply MatchPint with the information they need. So, while it's fair to assume that the ones listed on the app are showing the game, there's no guarantee that places not listed on the app aren't showing it too.
Is the Premier League going to be free to watch?
Despite the coronavirus pandemic suspending the beautiful game for almost three months, the Premier League will be returning on Wednesday 17th June. And, as if that news wasn't enough, a massive 33 of the games will be available to watch for free.
Ordinarily, games played at 3pm on a Saturday cannot be broadcast on live TV. However, with fans unable to attend games in person, every single match for the remainder of the 2019/20 season will be televised.
Here's how the remaining 92 games of the Premier League season will be broadcast:
- Amazon Prime – Four games completely free, with no need to sign up to Amazon Prime.
- BBC – Four games for free (assuming you use the TV Licence loophole outlined above – otherwise you'll need to pay for a TV Licence).
- BT Sport – 20 games, only available to BT Sport subscribers.
- Sky Sports – 25 games broadcast for free on Sky's Pick channel (available for free on Freeview), plus 39 games only available to Sky Sports subscribers.
As of 11th June, the Premier League have so far announced the dates, times and channels for all games up to 2nd July. While most of the glamour ties are still on paid-for channels, there are still some corkers on free-to-air tele, with the Merseyside derby showing on Pick on 21st June.
And, crucially, for the games that are still behind the paywalls of Sky Sports and BT Sport, you can still use the tips we revealed above to either watch them at a reduced price or completely free.
Cover the cost of watching football with our risk-free matched betting loophole!