How to watch Premier League football online and on TV

As Sky and BT Sport square up for another season, will armchair fans need to pay for the privilege of watching the top games?

Football fans
(Image credit: Getty)

The new football season will not only pit the biggest teams in the Premier League and across Europe against each other, it also sees rival broadcasters go head to head in a battle for ratings.

And while the football takes place within the confines of the pitch, the TV companies are now fighting on multiple fronts, as internet coverage increases in popularity.

With Sky, the traditional home of Premier League football, under increasing pressure from BT Sport the stakes have also increased, especially now that the Champions League will no longer be shown on terrestrial TV.

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"As the new season begins, armchair fans can enjoy more televised football than ever before, but they also pay more than ever for the privilege," says the Daily Mail.

So who is showing what and what is the best way to see the action on TV and online?

The competitions:

Premier League

Shown on Sky Sports, BT Sport and BBC Sport (highlights)

Sky Sports has 116 live games and BT Sport 38 live games until 2016. The BBC will show highlights on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2

The Football League

Sky Sports and Channel 5 (highlights)

Sky Sports will show 112 live matches per-season, plus the play-offs until 2019. Channel 5 has bought the highlights and will show them on Saturday night at 9pm.

FA Cup

BBC Sport, BT Sport and S4C

The BBC will show 16 live matches including one semi-final and the final. BT Sport will show 25 live matches including one semi-final and the final. One additional match per round involving Welsh clubs will be shown on S4C or BBC Wales

League Cup

Sky Sports and Channel 5 (highlights)

Sky Sports will show 15 live matches per-season, including semi-finals and final until 2019. Highlights will be on Channel 5 until 2018

Champions League

BT Sport and ITV Sport (highlights)

All matches live on BT Sport until 2018 with 12 matches per season, including the final, shown free-to-air on BT Sport Showcase. ITV will still show highlights.

Europa League

BT Sport and ITV Sport (highlights)

Also shown live on BT Sport until 2018 with 14 live matches, including the final, shown free-to-air on BT Sport Showcase; highlights on ITV

Euro 2016

All Euro 2016 matches live on BBC Sport and ITV. England's qualifiers will be shown on ITV and the other home nations' matches will be live on Sky.

The broadcasters:

Sky Sports

Sky remains the main player with 116 live Premier League matches this season, plus coverage of other domestic league and cup competitions, Euro 2016 qualifiers and live games from La Liga and the US.

Sky Sports is available through traditional satellite services, which also allows viewers to watch online using Sky Go.

Subscribers to BT, Virgin and Talktalk can also get Sky Sports channels.

Non-subscribers can watch games with day passes on Freeview and the Now TV service that allows viewers to watch free-to-view on demand content without a monthly subscription. The Sky Sports pass can be bought for £6.99 per day or £10.99 per week. Now TV for computers, tablets and mobile also supports Chromecast connectivity.

BT Sport

BT is now a serious competitor for Sky. It has 38 live Premier League games, plus matches from the FA Cup, and from this season has exclusive Champions League and Europa League rights. It also shows matches from European leagues including Serie A in Italy, Germany's Bundesliga and Ligue 1 in France.

BT Sport channels are available free for BT TV customers and for £5 a month for BT Broadband customers. Customers can also watch BT Sport on computers, smartphones or tablet using the BT Sport app and online player.

Sky and Virgin customers can also get a BT Sport pack.

Some games will be shown on BT Sport Showcase, which will be available on Freeview.

The best packages:

Picking the best package is no easy undertaking. But according to the Manchester Evening News, the BT package, which includes access to matches shown on Sky and BT Sport, "works out at just over £3 per game, the best national average".

However, the website MoneySavingExpert, which offers a breakdown of the various offers, suggests that fans decide what they want to watch and how they want to watch it before parting with their hard earned money

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