Virgin Media and BT Sport have agreed a deal for cable customers to receive the new sports service
Virgin Media have cut it a little fine, but BT Sport will be made available to 3.8 million cable TV subscribers in time for the kick off of the new season.
This a huge deal for both companies, with BT Sport needing the extra reach and Virgin Media keen to replace the sport content it lost when previous Premiership football provider, ESPN, lost its games to BT in the last round of rights bidding.
Subscribers on Virgin Media’s top end XL package will receive the new service – BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN – for free as part of their package. This apparently amounts to some 3m subscribers.
Other subscribers will either have to upgrade to the XL package, prices vary considerably depending on what other services you take from the company, or pay for BT Sport outright for £12 a month, £15 a month in HD. For most customers, an upgrade to XL will make more sense at these prices, especially if you want to watch in HD.
If you’re in the rare situation of getting your broadband from BT, but also have cable TV from Virgin Media, then it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to watch BT Sport for free through a Virgin Media set top box, as you can via a Sky box.
Those who get their Sky Sports through Virgin will now be able to complete their coverage of the new season thanks to this deal. With both parties having so much to gain from it, we felt it was inevitable, and the delay was largely due to hard negotiating.
The service will provide 38 live Premier League football games (with 18 top picks), live FA Cup football, 69 live Aviva Premiership rugby games, and Europa league, women’s tennis and other coverage.