As Bloomberg and others have reported for several months, sports programming costs are completely out of control in the United States. If you are a cable subscriber, you are almost guaranteed to be paying more per month to help fund the cost of sports programming whether you like/watch sports or not. Cable providers around the country are hitting customers with more and more sports surcharges. This is on top of the other non-sports surcharges that customers must pay (i.e. Broadcast TV fee, etc…) every month.
When Time Warner Cable paid tens of billions to purchase TV channels for the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers, cable subscribers around the country paid for it through rate hikes. DirecTV, Comcast and others are not any better.
In England, sports programming rights have also sky-rocketed and are now getting even more expensive. Today, as Engadget reports, BT (a British Telecom) has announced that customers wanting to watch soccer (football for non-Americans) in 4K will need to purchase a new TV package called “Entertainment Ultra HD” for at least an additional £15 ($23) per month. Then there is the £44 ($68) installation charge and the need for speeds up to 44 Mbps to ensure a good 4K experience.
Earlier this year, Sky (another British Telecom) announced that TV and broadband subscription fees were being hiked. This announcement came weeks after Sky spent a record breaking £5.1bn ($7.9 billion) for Premier League rights. Nevermind that weeks before Sky was going to bid on the EPL rights, Sky publicly said that customers wouldn’t pay for any rights that they purchased. Oh well.
Those in England who do not want to purchase a cable subscription can still watch Premier League soccer as Sky Sports has introduced a broadband-only package called Now TV and costs £31.99 ($50) per month. This package will give you Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News HQ.