Commenting on Sky Sports and BT Sport line ups announced today, Marie-Louise Abretti, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Today came the news that footy fans have been waiting for – especially those weighing up their options about which TV provider will give them the best coverage of their favourite team. For those planning on following the footy from their sofas, it’s now a question of Team Sky or Team BT.
“Sky have managed to hold on to the lion’s share of matches, and will be the only place to see every Premier League team. Cardiff City, Southampton, Sunderland, Swansea City, West Ham and West Brom supporters will only be able to catch a glimpse of their teams on Sky.
“Sky will also hope to win over customers by giving them a free taste of its offering by showing the first day of the season on Sky 2 and Pick TV – meaning all consumers with at least Freeview can get a piece of the action. But BT won’t go down without a fight, and will show the often feisty Merseyside Derby as well as Tottenham vs Chelsea. It will also no doubt hope that the promise of ‘free’ sport will win over some fans.
“However, footy fans must make sure they consider how they will watch their sport. The latest Ofcom figures show that 22% are watching TV over the internet, while 6% are streaming live TV from their mobiles. Broadband speeds, and availability, could hinder sports fans planning to stream matches live, especially those wanting to enjoy them in high definition.
“According to uSwitch.com consumer speed test data, almost seven in ten consumers (69%) have broadband speeds of less than 15Mbps, which is the minimum speed required to stream Sky Sports HD on your laptop or tablet.
“Plus, there’s the added problem that BT customers who do not have fibre-based Infinity or fast enough copper broadband connections face losing Sky Sports 1 and 2 when BT launches its sports channels.
“It’s welcome news that BT has developed new technology enabling Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 to be streamed over fast enough copper broadband connections as, for those BT customers able to get Infinity – which is available to 15 million homes – the cost may simply be too high. Our research revealed that, although two thirds of Britons can now get super-fast broadband, 48% say it’s too expensive for them.”