If you’re a big sports than you know that Sky Sports is the pinnacle of sports broadcasting in the UK. For years it has been hovering up the rights to top sporting competitions from Premier League football, to gold, cricket, Rugby, and even Formula 1.
But if you don’t have Sky TV, or can’t afford the expensive Sky Sports package, there is an alternative with Now TV, and the savings can be significant.
What is Now TV?
NOW TV is a subscription via internet television service operated by British satellite television provider Sky. The service launched in 2012 and is available in the UK and number of other European countries.
Think of it like iPlayer with a subscription. The crucial thing here though is NOW TV being owned by Sky, gives you access to all of the Sky TV channels via what it calls ‘passes’.
There’s a sports pass, an entertainment pass, a movie pass and so on. Unlike with Sky or Virgin, you are not tied into a contract. You can buy a pass for a day, a week or a month. Whatever suits you best.
NOW TV works across a range of devices from your iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, or tablet. Some Smart TVs even have a NOW TV app as does the Chromecast. However, if you don’t have a smart device, or aren’t tech savvy (and you don’t have to be), there are also stand alone NOW TV sticks available.
Sky vs NOW TV
Sky is the largest subscription TV service in the UK, but also licences its channels to other providers such as Virgin Media and BT. All of these services including Sky itself lock you in a lengthy contract, which can be up to 18 month. And they are expensive, with a multitude of different additional costs, not just for TV packages, but for extra set top boxes, and even higher quality (HD and 4k) channels.
Sports, and Movies tend to be the most expensive packages on these platforms, if that’s what you watch, it’s almost always cheaper to get those via NOW TV. Basically you pay less for the exact same channels.
NOW TV vs Sky Sports comparison
If you’re a football fan and have Sky Sports to follow your favourite Premier League team, you are probably paying over the odds. Fans of the top six Premier League teams are well covered by Sky Sports. Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, and Tottenham feature in roughly 19 to 20 Sky Sports matches a season.
If on the other hand you follow 2015/16 champions Leicester, you might only get to see your team in 10 games, and it could be less than 7 games for teams lower down the league. Taking an average Sky Sports package that works out at around £12 a month for the top teams, £24 a month for Leicester, and nearly £35 per month for smaller teams. That is on top of the standard Sky subscription of £25. Add another £6 those figure if you want your sports channels in HD.
Compare that with a Now TV Sports Day pass of £9.99 and even for the top teams there’s a saving, but these really add up when looking lower down the league. And this doesn’t include the savings for not having to pay the basic Sky subscription.
Be careful though. If you watch multiple sports as well as keep a Sky subscription for other channels, then the NOW TV Sports Pass can actually work out more expensive as its monthly pass is £33, vs £20 for Sky Sports. However this too can be beaten by combining NOW TV passes. This is crucial for sports that take place over multiple days such as Formula 1.
The best Now TV deals
NOW TV offers are changing all the time, but the best deals at the moment are:
Sky Sports day pass for £9.98 plus month Sky Sports mobile pass – This package will let you enjoy one day of Sky Sports (all channels) streaming to any device or TV, plus give you a month’s access to Sky Sports on your mobile device.
Sky Sports Month Pass for £25 plus one week trial of Boost – This usually costs £33.99 for the month long pass, and £3 for boost. It’s a rolling subscription though, so make sure you cancel at the end of the month.
How to get extra savings on Now TV passes
I’m a big fan of cashback sites. If I’m buying something already it makes sense to get cashback on it where possible. The two most popular cashback sites in the UK are TopCashback and Quidco. Both offer money back across a range of popular retailers. Crucially though, they also offer cashback on NOW TV passes too.
NOW TV cashback via Quidco
Quidco is currently offering £4 cashback to NOW TV users buying a month long Sports pass for the first time. You will also get an additional £5 cashback if signing up via the links in this article.
NOW TV cashback via TopCashback
To new NOW TV members TopCashback is offering £3.40 cashback on a Sky Sports month pass. Unfortunately there’s not currently any signing up bonus for TopCashback, but this changes all the time.
Cashback from your bank
A number of bank accounts and credit cards offer cashback on purchases. American Express offers 5% cashback on the first £2000 worth of purchases for its Platinum Everyday card. Unfortunately other providers have pulled their best deals, but new offers are expected to return by spring.
More NOW TV offers
CD Keys often has NOW TV offers. They can range from £4.99 to just £1 off. These change constantly, and come in and out of stock all the time, so it’s to keep an eye out on the CD Keys website itself.
Sky Sports covers a wide range of competitions, but the advent of new services has means that is doesn't necessarily have everything. For example, sticking with Football, BT Sport has exclusive rights to broadcast the Champions League in the UK. It's also the only place to watch live MotoGP, and UFC.
BT Sports has its own streaming service available through its app. At £25 a month it's not cheap and unfortunately there are precious few discounts around.