Virgin Media and Setanta Sports today announced plans to give new and existing customers who take Virgin Media's XL basic TV package six Setanta Sports Channels for free.

The deal means that, from the 26th July, pay TV customers and sports enthusiasts will for the first time get a round-the-clock diet of "top flight" sporting action without having to buy a separate sports package.

Customers will get live coverage from over 250 showcase events a year, among them some of the biggest occasions in the sporting calendar.

These will include 46 live games from the Barclays Premier League, 60 matches from the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League and the US PGA Tour golf, as well as European League football, rugby and horse racing from around the country.

From 2008, customers will also get 25 of the 40 televised fixtures from the English FA Cup, a selection of England football Internationals and the Community Shield.

According to Virgin, over the course of a year, diehard football fans who want all the live televised matches from the Barclay's Premier League will pay over £110 less with Virgin Media than they would with Sky.