It’s the return of the Premier League this weekend, and fans are readying their fantasy football teams and rushing to renew their sports TV subscriptions.
But for fans of the Premier League’s newly promoted teams the season’s return comes at a particularly high cost – with supporters paying an average of three times more per game to watch their teams play on live TV.
Fans of the top four teams are likely to be getting the most bang for their buck when it comes to their sports TV subscriptions, as their teams are predicted to get the most screen time this season.
Top of the league: Last year’s winners Manchester City are expected to get the most televised fixtures along with Liverpool and Arsenal, with fans paying the equivalent of £10.44 per game
The latest research by comparison site Uswitch shows a quarter of Britons with a sports package feel it’s the most important part of their TV deal.
However, subscribing to all of the live sports channels can be expensive, and one in seven are thinking about cancelling to save money this season.
The research found the average cost of following a Premier League side through the season using Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video works out at £21.93 per televised game.
Yet fans of Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest – the three newly-promoted sides – will be paying £35.67 per game to watch their favourite club, based on how often each team’s games are televised.
Historically, clubs who have just come up from the Championship get fewer televised fixtures than established Premier League teams, which means their supporters pay more per match to see them in action.
Fans of Arsenal, Liverpool and last year’s champions Manchester City will be paying the least, coming to an average of £10.44 per game.
Newly-promoted penalty: Fans of Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest will be paying £35.67 per game to watch their favourite club from home
Their clubs get the most televised matches in the Premier League, with 11 more games shown on average as the teams battle it out in the Champions or Europa League.
Arsenal, who had 29 games televised in last year’s Premier League, are expected to get the most TV appearances this season, with a guaranteed six additional live fixtures from the Europa League, and double that if they make it to the final.
Around 6.5million Brits have a sports package, making up 45 per cent of total pay-TV subscribers – and a whopping 1.6 million football-loving households are reportedly signing up for both Sky Sports and BT Sport ahead of the season.
BT Sport has the exclusive rights to show the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League this season, and 52 out of the 380 Premier League matches.
Amazon Prime Video will stream 20 matches split between October and December, while Sky Sports will host a whopping 128 Premier League games.
The cheapest subscription package to watch all Sky and BT games is £41 a month, while Amazon Prime Video’s streaming-only service is £8.99 a month.
This means that fans wanting access to every televised game during the season will pay a staggering £427.98 between now and May 2023.
How to cut the cost of watching TV sports
Supporters focused solely on their team’s TV fixtures could save considerably without being tied into a lengthy subscription service, by taking advantage of short-term offers from Now TV and BT.
Watching six live Sky Sports games through a daily £11.99 Now TV pass and four through BT Sport’s £25 monthly pass, will cost fans a maximum of £171.94 over the season, less than half the price of the cheapest BT and Sky package.
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Catherine Hiley, TV and streaming expert at Uswitch.com, says that supporters should switch their subscriptions regularly in order to get the cheapest prices.
She said: ‘As a lifelong Southampton fan, I know how frustrating it is to feel like your team’s games never make the cut for TV – so we wanted to show people what it really costs to be a supporter, and how to find the best value ways to watch.
‘Following the Premier League at home can feel like navigating a minefield of pay-TV packages and fixture lists. But you can save money by selecting the matches you’re most interested in and taking advantage of special offers.
‘The Premier League releases updated monthly TV fixtures in batches throughout the year so keep an eye on them to stay ahead of the game.
‘This season, Amazon Prime Video is showing a week of Premier League fixtures in October and December, so you are guaranteed to see your team in action twice by subscribing then.
Score a bargain: The Premier League releases TV fixtures in batches throughout the year, and fans can cancel and subscribe to different channels when needed
Newcomers to the streaming service can also halve their costs by taking out a free trial in October. Just remember to cancel before November, when the league takes a winter break for the World Cup in Qatar.
‘If you’re a Champions League fan, you’ll need a BT Sport subscription. But if you only follow the Premier League, Sky shows the most live games and also offers free match highlights for all the fixtures online, on YouTube, and through its app.
‘However, with new pay-TV deals for Sky and BT requiring an 18 or 24-month contract, you should consider whether you want to be tied into a deal that will force you to pay for sports channels long after the season has finished.
‘If your team is near the bottom of our Football Subs Index, using NOW TV and the BT passes instead could give you the flexibility to swoop in on cut-price deals mid-season.
‘It also means you can cancel as soon as the final whistle blows in May, in case your club’s stay in the Premier League is a brief one.’