Broadband, Phone & TV

This is where you can catch this season's best sporting action (golf, tennis, athletics)

Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head of Communications

The good news is that there’s never been more sport on TV. The bad news is that it’s never cost more to view it all. So who’s showing what and how can you access it? And more importantly, how much of a dent will it leave in your pockets?

The sports TV market has definitely become far more fragmented recently and there's no longer one single sports channel which will keep everyone happy. Increasingly sports fans will have to double up, or even triple up, on their sports subscriptions if they want access to all the year's main sporting events.

So we’ve decided to search through all the different sports packages to find out what’s on and where.

In this post we’ll focus on where to watch the main golf, tennis, and athletics events over the coming year or so. See our other blog post on where to catch this season’s rugby, soccer and GAA action.   

What are the main sports channels in Ireland?

The market is divided into free-to-air channels (RTE, TG4 and TV3/Virgin Media) and paid channels, which are evolving rapidly. The UK free-to-air channels are also usually included with most basic TV packages.     

The main established players in the paid sports market are Sky Sports, Eir Sport, BT Sport, and Eurosport. Recent newer entrants include Eleven Sports, Premier Sports, streaming service Amazon Prime, and TV3/Virgin Media, who are launching a new sports channel on 18 September called Virgin Media Sport.

While major sporting events such as the summer and winter Olympics, soccer World Cup, 6 Nations, and Wimbledon remain free-to-air on either Irish or UK TV, each year more and more sports content is moving onto paid platforms.  

Where can I watch golf on TV in Ireland?

Sky, which has golf as one of its dedicated sports channels, is still the best place to catch all the bigger golf tournaments with extensive rights to the European and US PGA Tour events.

Sky also has rights to broadcast three of the four majors as well as the upcoming Ryder Cup at the end of September in France. However it lost the rights to show the US PGA championship to new channel Eleven Sport last August, although it remains to be seen who’ll show the 2019 event (which moves to May next year).

There’s slim pickings on free-to-air TV. RTE will cover the Irish Open while the BBC will have daily highlights of the British Open as well as the Ryder Cup.

Where can I watch tennis on TV in Ireland?

Tennis fans hoping to watch Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on a regular basis through the season will have to pick up an Amazon Prime subscription, after the US digital giant nabbed the rights to the men's ATP World Tour from 2019 until 2023. Amazon further shook up the market by getting the UK and Ireland rights to show the US Open for the next five years, starting this year. The final Grand Slam of the year had been with Sky for 25 years.

The deal will make streaming service Amazon, the main rival to Netflix, the new home for practically all the top men’s tennis action from next year. It will cover 37 ATP Tour events, including all nine Masters tournaments, as well as the season-ending tour finals in the O2 in London, and the aforementioned US Open.

The Australian Open and Roland Garros (French Open) will be shown on Eurosport who usually provide high-quality extensive coverage, while the BBC will probably cover the finals of the Australian Open and French Open as they have in previous years.

As for the past several decades, the BBC will continue with its extensive coverage of Wimbledon and warm-up tournament Queen's. It will also continue to show the end-of-year final in London.  

Eir Sport will also cover Roland Garros and Wimbledon and some of the lower-tier men's ATP 250 events, though its Grand Slam coverage won’t be quite as extensive as Eurosport (who go hell for leather with almost endless hours of coverage!)  

If it’s women’s tennis you’re after, BT Sport, which is available as standard as part of the Eir Sport pack, has extensive live coverage of all the top-tier WTA tournaments.  

Where can I watch athletics on TV in Ireland?

Eurosport remains a great choice for athletics coverage with high-quality extensive coverage of the top-tier Diamond League race meetings as well as coverage of the upcoming World Cross Country Championships next March and the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha next September.   

RTE and the BBC will also show the World Athletics Championships free-to-air, but their coverage tends to be more limited than Eurosport’s (who like with tennis go all out!) and consists mainly of highlights or select live events. The BBC is also where you can catch coverage of the two UK-based Diamond League events, the London Marathon and the Great North Run.

Golf

Tennis

Athletics

RTE

Irish Open

2019 World Athletics Championships (mainly highlights, select live coverage)

BBC

British Open (highlights)

Wimbledon

Queen's Club Championships

ATP Finals London 

Australian and French Open finals  

2019 World Athletics Championships

London marathon

2 UK Diamond League meetings

Great North Run

 

Eir Sport

Roland Garros

Wimbledon

Select ATP 250 events

BT Sport

52 premier WTA tennis tournaments

Sky Sports

US Masters

US Open

British Open

Ryder Cup

European Tour

US PGA Tour

ATP World Tour (partnership ends 2018)

ATP Finals London (partnership ends 2018)

Select ATP 250 events

Amazon Prime

US Open (starting 2018)

37 ATP Tour events, including all nine Masters tournaments (from 2019)

ATP Finals London (from 2019)

Eleven Sports

US PGA (2019 TBC)

Eurosport

Australian Open

Roland Garros

Wimbledon highlights and live finals

Select ATP 250 events

Hopman Cup

Diamond League race meetings

2019 World Athletics Championships (Extensive coverage)

2019 World cross country championships

Paris and Amsterdam marathons

 

How can I access sports channels in Ireland and what will it cost?

Eir Sport and BT Sport

The Eir Sport pack comes with seven channels: Eir Sport 1, Eir Sport 2, and exclusive access to BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3, BT Sport ESPN, and BoxNation. It’s free to all Eir TV customers.

Eir broadband and mobile bill pay customers, and Sky customers who have Eir broadband, can also access the Eir Sport pack for free through the Eir Sport app.

Broadband packages start from €39.99 a month while broadband and TV packages start from €54.99 a month, both on a 12-month contract. If you’re a Sky TV or Vodafone TV customer who doesn't have Eir broadband or mobile, you can sign up to Eir Sport for €245 a year or €27.50 a month. Virgin customers don’t currently have any way of accessing Eir Sport.

Sky Sports

Sky Sports costs €40 a month on top of your basic TV package, though there are regularly half-price offers and discounts for new customers. If you’re a Sky, Eir or Virgin TV customer it can easily be added to your subscription. It comes with several dedicated sport channels and has long been viewed as THE sports channel for premier sporting action. However over the past few seasons several high profile sporting events such as the US Open tennis and US PGA golf have been lost to rivals.

Sky Sports can also be bought as an add-on to streaming service NOW TV (which itself costs €15 a month), with the option of purchasing a daily, weekly or monthy pass, meaning fans can sign up just to view specific tournaments if they want.   

Amazon Prime

The main rival to Netflix. Users have the opportunity to avail of a free 7-day trial. Irish customers can then pay €2.99 a month for the first six months and €5.99 a month thereafter.

Eurosport 1 and 2  

Available with Sky, Eir and Virgin TV packages (though not the basic TV package). Can also be accessed online through the Eurosport Player for €3.99 a month for 12 months or an upfront cost of €39.99 for the year year. Viewers can also sign up for one month only for €6.99 - handy if it's just one specific tournament you want to watch. 

Eleven Sports

Can be accessed through streaming. Users have the opportunity to avail of a free 7-day trial. Irish customers can then pay €6.99 a month or €59.99 for the year. Eleven Sports will live stream at least one match from both La Liga and Serie A on Facebook every week.   

Ready to sign up to a sports package?

At bonkers.ie we usually encourage people to switch as often as possible as we know that switching saves.

When it comes to picking a sports package, you really need to do your research though as there’s no point switching to a cheaper deal if the one you choose isn’t showing any of the sports you actually like.

You'll need to carefully decide what sports and events you want to see the most and then factor this, and the price, into the package that you choose. And if you're only interested in watching a few specific tournaments a year, you should consider the option of daily, weekly or monthly one-off subscriptions instead.  

Then, once you know what you want, you can easily compare all TV packages and providers and switch on bonkers.ie.

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