With millions of people across the country preparing to spend weeks at home, many will be relying on television to provide them with information and entertainment during the coronavirus crisis.
However, sports fans will have a limited choice of viewing as most of the world’s major sports leagues have announced that they will suspend their competitions to help limit the spread of the virus.
In football, the Premier League, Champions League, Football League and National League have all been placed on a hiatus until at least April. Other sports such as Formula 1, rugby union and rugby league have also halted their seasons.
But with sports fans paying hundreds of pounds a year for subscriptions to Sky Sports and rival BT Sport, many are asking whether it is possible to cancel a subscription as no live action is being shown.
At present, those who are currently locked into a contract with Sky Sports or BT Sport are unable to cancel their subscription without paying a hefty exit penalty.
Only those who are out of contract after their initial term has ended will be able to cancel, usually by giving one month’s notice. Refunds are not available to those who have missed out on sporting action since the virus outbreak started.
While customers cannot cancel, Sky has said it will allow customers to pause their sports subscription until live sport is resumed. Customers should call 0800 151 2747 to do so, but are warned that there could be significant waiting times.
BT has so far resisted calls to allow customers to temporarily halt their payments.
Both Sky and BT said they hoped to show any cancelled events when they are rearranged for later in the year.
BT Sport said it expected to broadcast the remainder of the season over the coming months. Some events, such as WWE wrestling, are still taking place behind closed doors.
A spokesman for BT Sport said: “We apologise to customers about the changes to the BT Sport schedule this month due to the impact of Covid-19. The situation is evolving rapidly and we are working with the leagues to continue to broadcast live sport wherever possible and broadcast games when they are rescheduled over the coming months.
“We will continue to broadcast a wide range of BT Sport content including films and documentaries and we will update our customers as we have a clearer view of the remainder of the season.”