There is a serious risk that Eurosport, along with twelve other channels owned by Discovery Networks, will disappear from Sky next week.
Both Sky and Discovery have warned viewers that the channels will disappear on Wednesday 1 February if a deal over carriage fees can’t be sorted out.
Coming up this year, Eurosport will have live multi-court coverage from the French Open, exclusive live coverage of the US Open, as well as seven ATP and five WTA events, including the British Grass court season leading up to Wimbledon.
So how can you make sure you don’t miss out on Eurosport and the other channels in the Discovery portfolio, which includes Animal Planet, TLC and Quest? Here I look at the options, as well as the option of leaving Sky.
If you want to keep Eurosport, and aren’t interested in the other Discovery channels on offer, Eurosport Player is probably the best option.
Not only does Eurosport Player give you Eurosport 1 and 2, but during the French and US Opens there are live streams from almost every court, with live rewind and on-demand videos, and you can use it across multiple devices.
Eurosport Player offers live content when there isn’t enough room on its two linear channels for all of the sport it shows. During the ATP Sydney and Brisbane tournaments this month, all of the centre-court action was available live, even when it wasn’t on TV.
The standard price for Eurosport Player is £59.99 for a year’s subscription, but until the end of January, they are offering the whole year for £19.99. I think this is more than worth the money, even if Eurosport 1 and 2 do end up staying on Sky.
You can watch Eurosport on your computer, connected TV app, and on mobile devices simultaneously, so you can double- and even triple-screen the action in your lounge, or take it with you when you go out.
Virgin Media carry all of the Discovery-owned channels that are on Sky with the exception of TLC +2.
You can also get Sky Sports and BT Sport via Virgin Media, so you can watch the ATP and WTA tournaments shown by those broadcasters, and this is the only other way to get all of those channels through one TV provider.
You have to live in a cabled area to get Virgin Media, so this isn’t available to everyone.
BT TV and Plusnet
Eurosport 1 and 2 are available through BT TV and Plusnet, as are some of the documentary channels from Discovery. BT TV and Plusnet are very similar TV services using a mixture of Freeview and Internet TV technology.
For other tennis action, BT Sport is available through both BT TV and Plusnet. Only Sky Sports 1 and 2 are available – only through BT TV – so you would miss the tennis it if it was shown on one of the other Sky Sports channels.
TV Player Plus
TV Player is an internet TV service, also available through mobile apps. There are 78 free channels available through TV Player, most of which are available of Freeview, including Quest.
Thirty more channels, including Eurosport 1 and 2, and five of Discovery’s other channels, are available on TV Player Plus for £5.99 a month, and they offer the first month free as a trial.
TV Player has apps for Android, Apple and some smart televisions.
Freeview and Freesat
Eurosport is not available free-to-air. The only channel that Discovery provides for free is Quest, available on Freeview. Some sports content has been shown on Quest in the past although no tennis so far.
Many viewers – mostly fans of documentaries, tennis, cycling and motorsports – have told Sky on Twitter that they will be leaving if these channels disappear next week.
Sky probably won’t let you leave without a penalty just because it’s not providing these channels, however it has recently announced price rises for later in the year for all customers, and will be sending out letters in February.
Once you have this letter you are legally entitled to end your contract with Sky without penalty; under Ofcom rules Sky must let you leave if they announce price rises that weren’t detailed when you signed up or last locked into a new contract.
Keeping Sky Sports
If you leave Sky, then Sky Sports is available through Now TV, for £33.99 per month. It’s also available through Virgin Media, and Sky Sports 1 and 2 are offered through BT TV.