How to watch the Premier League 2018/19 season live on TV: Sky Sports and BT Sport fixtures, costs and more
From which matches Sky and BT will show live to the 3pm TV blackout rule, here's everything you need to know about watching the new Premier League season on TV
The Premier League 2018/19 season is under way, with live TV fixtures every weekend through to May 2019.
Sky Sports and BT Sport once again share live Premier League TV coverage in the UK. Both broadcasters offer dozens of ways for fans to watch and stream football live online, but it can be confusing which of the many TV sports rights packages are available to viewers.
For details about how to watch Premier League football live on TV in the UK, including full Sky Sports and BT Sport costs, fixtures and more, read on.
Who has the TV rights to Premier League football in the UK?
Sky Sports and BT Sport share the rights to broadcast live Premier League matches on TV in the UK. The BBC meanwhile has full Premier League TV highlights every weekend on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2.
Which Premier League fixtures are live on TV?
Throughout the season Sky Sports and BT Sport work with the Premier League to pick which matches can be shown live on TV, changing match dates and kick-off times where necessary.
The Premier League TV fixtures have now been confirmed through to Monday 1st October, with further updates to follow.
Why are matches kicking off at 3pm on Saturday never shown on TV?
The 3pm TV 'blackout' rule has been in place since the 1960s, with clubs and league organisers concerned that live TV coverage could harm match attendances.
This rule only applies to the UK, with foreign broadcasters able to televise games kicking off between 3pm and 5pm.
The Premier League states that the broadcast ban still applies "primarily to protect match attendances and atmosphere at all levels of the game including lower league and non-league matches."
However, with more and more matches picked for live TV coverage, some fans have voiced their frustration at having their club's games rescheduled to accommodate the broadcasters. From 2019, the new Premier League TV rights deal means games could be played on Friday nights, Saturday lunchtimes and evenings, Sundays and Monday evenings, as well as a number of midweek games. All this means that while the 3pm Saturday blackout remains, more and more top flight fixtures will kick off at different times.
How many Premier League matches are live on TV?
The Premier League's current broadcast deal for 2018/19 allows for 168 matches per season to be screened live on TV, out of a total of 380 games.
Sky Sports currently shows 126 Premier League matches live on TV.
BT Sport currently shows 42 Premier League matches live on TV.
How much does Sky Sports cost?
There are a number of packages that existing Sky customers can pick from when looking to upgrade to Sky Sports.
If you just want to watch Premier League football, Sky offers a dedicated Premier League HD package for £18 per month on top of your regular Sky bill, which you can cancel at any time.
However, if you're not worried about the flexibility of cancelling, Sky is currently offers all its Sky Sports channels in HD for £22 per month for 18 months.
Remember, all these costs are on top of your existing Sky TV and/or broadband package, but it does come with Sky's top-of-the-range set top box and full online streaming capabilities.
If you don't have Sky TV of course, you can still buy Sky Sports as an add-on to your existing broadband or TV service, whether that be Virgin, TalkTalk, BT or another provider. Check their websites for full details.
Sky Sports also offers a special Mobile TV package, allowing anyone to watch Sky Sports live on Apple and selected Android phones from £5.99 per month. Another option is NOW TV, more of which below.
How much does BT Sport cost?
Just like Sky, there are a number of ways to watch BT Sport whether you're an existing BT customer or not.
Ahead of the new season, the broadcaster is offering free BT Sport for 18 months for all BT SuperFast Fibre customers and on selected TV packages. Check if you qualify here.
If you are an existing BT broadband customer, BT Sport is typically available to watch online only from £4 per month on top of your regular broadband contract – although check prices as costs may vary throughout the season.
If you want to watch on television however, it currently costs from £6 per month on top of a BT TV and broadband package, although there are a number of offers and bundles available. HD is currently free for three months, and £6.50 extra per month afterwards.
Remember, though, that all of these prices above are on top of your existing BT contract. If you don't have BT or aren't planning on switching, you can add BT Sport as an add-on to your existing broadband or TV service, whether Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky or another provider. Check their websites for full details.
Is there a way to watch Premier League football without paying for Sky or BT?
Sky Sports is now available via NOW TV, a useful option if you don't want to commit to a full contract. NOW TV is an online streaming service that allows you to access Sky shows and live sport without locking into a full year contract.
Instead, you can pay for a NOW TV Sky Sports 'Pass' for either a day, week or month's viewing, meaning you can pick and choose which events or matches you want to see live. You can either stream via your devices or games console or watch via a NOW TV box.
NOW TV is also offering a special deal ahead of the new football season, giving customers the chance to watch the whole season – including Premier League and live football league matches – for £179. Normally it would cost over £300 to watch the whole season on NOW TV.
Before you commit to paying, you can see how it works by signing up to a 14-day free trial for Entertainment, Movies and Kids shows.
The current costs for NOW TV are as follows:
- Sky Sports Day Pass: £7.99
- Sky Sports Week Pass: £12.99
- Sky Sports Month Pass: £33.99
- Watch every live Sky Sports match this season for £179
BT does not currently offer live Premier League football to non-subscribers, although its other major events such as the Champions League final have been streamed online for free in the past.
There are, of course, also highlights on Match of the Day. Or the pub.
Amazon Prime will show live Premier League football online via its video service – but not this season. That deal kicks in during the 2019/20 season. Find out more details here.
How can I watch the Premier League live online?
Is there a way to watch Premier League football for free?
It's pretty clear from the above deals that both Sky and BT guard their prized Premier League TV rights closely, and in recent years both broadcasters and the Premier League have launched a number of campaigns to cut down on illegal streaming.
Free-to-air highlights remain on the BBC, along with extensive radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT.
When does the Premier League 2018/19 season end?
The final day of the season is Sunday 12th May 2019, which will see every side play at the same time.