If you’re an avid sports enthusiast, then you believe that keeping yourself abreast with the latest events in your favorite sports is essential. We all know that ESPN provides sporting events and news coverage from around the world. It is a widely distributed international sports channel that can be accessed via cable television subscription. Now, the multinational sports company aims to level up its offerings as it introduces a new streaming service. Yet, what is ESPN+? What’s the difference between the old cable service and ESPN+? Read on to find out everything about this new offering.
What Is ESPN+?
ESPN Plus, also advertised as ESPN+, is a streaming service from the famous sports network. Established in 2018, the service started featuring bonus content that did not precisely coincide with their main offerings on the main cable channel. Nonetheless, ESPN+ is now gaining its own set of followers online as more and more people turn to online solutions for various needs, including sports news.
Like streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, the ESPN+ digital platform provides fans with exclusive content that cannot be fully accessed via other sources. However, it differs from the two mentioned streaming platforms since it offers both live and recorded content. Followers can watch the streams by using both the ESPN main website and its corresponding app.
The company expresses that ESPN+ is not developed to replace the existing cable channels or sites. Rather, ESPN+ is meant to complement the company’s other offerings as the new service provides analyses, highlights, VODs, and statistics relating to the main channel’s featured stories. At the moment, however, the service is focusing more on additional stories about UFC and soccer—a perfect bonus for the fans of both sports.
To see a similar service, check out our review of the UFC Fight Pass.
Where Is ESPN+ Available?
While this new subscription service is, indeed, an excellent bonus for avid sports fans out there, it is only available to subscribers within the US. If you plan to be out of the country for some time, you can still access the ESPN website and app. Nonetheless, Plus subscriptions will have to wait until you get back to the US mainland.
What Are the ESPN+ Features?
For fans of sports, what is ESPN+ offering that makes it more exciting? The service features a variety of sports-related video content, including the following:
Subscribers get to watch live games from MLB, MLS, and NHL during active seasons. You can also watch live streaming from UFC, PGA Golf, tennis, college football, and international soccer games. Although the service doesn’t feature games from the NFL and NBA, fans can watch baseball as well.
In addition to the multitude of live games regularly shown via ESPN+, fans get to watch on-demand and original content, including point-by-point game recaps hosted by popular hosts Daniel Cormier and Peyton Manning. Although there are no live game shows for the NFL, fans can still receive updates while watching the “NFL Primetime” concise version.
If you are avidly following sports documentaries, you also get access to several programs such as “30 for 30.” You receive complete replays of newsworthy NFL games, as well.
UFC Fight Night and PPV
ESPN Plus also provides fans with UFC Fight Night events and PPV (pay-per-view) exclusives. UFC PPV exclusives cost additional fees, however, and fans are required to pay $64.99 to watch such content. UFC Fight Night events come with the regular subscription, though. Fans get regular, unrestricted access to popular UFC Fight Night events, including the four episodes of UFC’s Fight Island that occurred in Abu Dhabi.
Boxing PPV Events
Boxing fans may receive access to exclusive boxing PPV events. ESPN+ regularly announces upcoming UFC and boxing events, prompting fans to subscribe to the extra services.
ESPN+ Library Review
To provide you with a better view of the different shows offered by the subscription, below are some of those that you can exclusively access via regular subscription to the service:
- The Masters’ Films
- 30 on 30 Documentary Series
- The Last Dance
- The Boardroom
- Peyton’s Places
- NFL’s Greatest Games
- Wimbleton and US Open events replays
- Live Games including those from:
- PGA Golf
- Tennis (Grand Slam, US Open, Australian Open)
- College Football
- International Soccer
Additionally, UFC and boxing PPV events are typically announced. So, fans get exclusive access to these PPV events when they opt to pay for such extra service.
How to Sign Up for ESPN+?
Of course, avid sports fans may only access these programs when they choose to sign up for ESPN+. Below are vital guidelines to sign up for the streaming service.
Here are the things you need to have ready to receive access to the ESPN+ streaming service:
- You should already have an existing ESPN account. If you still do not have an account, create a new one, and log into the website.
- Download the app from the App Store or Play Store or enter the ESPN website.
- You must have any of the following devices:
- Android Smartphone and Tablet (5.0 or higher)
- iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch (11.0 or higher)
- PC or Laptop
- Roku Player (most models)
- Fire TV Device
- Apple TV (3rd generation or newer)
- Android TV
- PlayStation 4 (all models)
- Xbox One (all models)
- Samsung Smart TV
- It would be best to have at least a 2 Mbps data connection, although faster internet data will provide you with better streaming quality.
There are, of course, many ways to subscribe to the streaming service. The base monthly fee is $5.99. However, you can save more money if you pay for the annual subscription of $49.99. If you are a UFC fan, you can opt to bundle your basic annual subscription with UFC PPV access for a total of $84.95, which eventually helps you save more money instead of paying for individual PPV access each time.
- Monthly Basic Subscription – $5.99
- Annual Basic Subscription – $49.99
- Annual Basic Subscription W/ UFC PPVs – $54.95
Bundle Plans With Disney and Hulu
If you want to save more money, you can also opt to subscribe to the ESPN+ bundled with Disney and Hulu. By doing so, you get exclusive, uninterrupted access to all three channels. Families who have kids will surely love having Disney Plus and Hulu streaming services. The bundled subscription will cost you a monthly fee of $12.95. You don’t have to worry, though, as you can cancel the bundle subscription at any time.
ESPN+ does not offer any free trial at the moment. It used to provide would-be subscribers a free trial period. Now, you need to subscribe to its streaming service to access the different programs it exclusively offers.
How to Watch Sports Games On ESPN+?
To watch sports games on the platform, you should have all the requirements as mentioned above. It would help if you also had an active subscription to the said streaming service. Whether you opt for the basic monthly/annual subscription or the bundled plan, you get to access streaming on a maximum of three smart devices. Bear in mind, however, that you must only use one user profile to access the service.
Note that ESPN+ programs do not include those that are already covered by the regular ESPN channel unless explicitly announced through the service. You merely get exclusive, on-demand programs that aren’t shown through the main ESPN site.
Top Picks and Other ESPN+ Shows
You get a series of thumbnails that tell you which programs are categorized as trending plus all other shows accessible via the service. Top picks are usually shown on top, followed by all the other suggested programs below.
Live, Upcoming, and Replays
You will also see the Live, Upcoming, and Replay categories. Clicking on these categories brings you to the different live games, upcoming events, and replays that you might want to check out. All programs, especially upcoming ones, are indicated, including their corresponding scheduled launching.
ESPN+ Parental Controls
Currently, the service does not have a parental control option. However, you can easily block mature content by modifying the parental controls on your devices. This feature is available on devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.
You should know that all ESPN+ programs contain ads like your regular cable channels. Some shows have pre-roll ads, as well.
Although ESPN+ access is restricted for subscribers who travel abroad, you may still use the service by subscribing to third-party VPN services. While ESPN does not explicitly prohibit the use of such third-party services, the streaming service is supposedly available only to subscribers within the US.
If you like to subscribe to a VPN service, you should check out either ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Note that subscription to any third-party app requires you to pay extra, which is, of course, separate from your regular ESPN Plus subscription.
Also read our guide on how to set up a VPN.
Pros and Cons of ESPN+Subscription
Before you subscribe to the streaming service, you should be aware of the service’s different pros and cons.
- Has a robust selection of live games and on-demand sports-focused shows
- Offers rarely televised sports like lacrosse and rugby
- Can be bundled with Hulu and Disney Plus subscriptions
- Provides exclusive PPV events for avid fans of UFC and boxing
- Does not cover regular NFL and NBA games
- Does not provide coverage for local team events
- Contains ads
- Cannot be accessed officially outside of the US
ESPN+ vs. Other Sports Streaming Services
There are other sports streaming services available. As an avid sports fan, it will do you well to know the different benefits you can get from choosing these services over ESPN+.
Sling TV provides its subscribers with live coverage, as well. Subscription does not require cable or top-box subscription. Subscribing to a couple of its plans allows you to watch sports-based channels, including ESPN, Stadium, and NBC Sports.
Nonetheless, the service does not offer content for tennis and other less-covered sports, unlike ESPN+. Also, Sling TV does not provide more original content, although it can be a better alternative to a regular cable subscription if you aim to have a more sports-focused viewing capacity.
Sling TV subscriptions are named Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Both of these subscription plans are priced at $30 per month.
Hulu provides subscribers with a broader range of programs. While Hulu offers original content, it also provides viewers with other program replays from different TV networks. It gives various series and movies, as well. Hulu provides an ad-free subscription and can be an excellent choice, especially when you have kids who want to watch classic Disney movies.
However, ESPN+ and Hulu are both owned by Disney. So, you can opt to subscribe to a bundle for only $12.95 per month to get complete access to all their programs.
ESPN+ provides full access to the different sports events happening all around the world except those already covered by its mother site. YouTube TV, however, allows access to a broader range of niches. It covers more than 70 channels, including Disney Channel, CNN, HGTV, and Food Network. YouTube TV also permits you to watch various sports channels, including ESPN, ACCN (Atlantic Coast Conference Network), Golf Channel, NBC Sports, Big Ten Network, and Fox Sports.
Nevertheless, some YouTube TV channels are not available in all locations. You can, however, visit its website to check out the ones available in your area using your zip code. Although Youtube TV provides its subscribers with much more content variety, the monthly subscription can be a huge drawback for many. YouTube TV requires subscribers to pay a hefty monthly fee of $49.99 each month.
If you are a soccer fan, you can also opt for the best alternative available, which is FuboTV. Although its main selling point is its subscribers’ access to international soccer events, the service includes various national sports channels. Soccer fans receive live streaming of South American and European soccer games. If you want a more authentic watching experience, you can also switch to each event’s Spanish commentators.
However, FuboTV does not cover ESPN channels. So, you might miss out on various national sports events that get regularly covered by ESPN. FuboTV’s most affordable plan is still kind of expensive since subscription costs $54.99 per month. Additional channels require you to pay a more expensive price of $84.99 each month.
Enjoy Sports With ESPN+
ESPN+ is an exclusive derivative of the main website and cable channel. The streaming service aims to provide subscribers with exclusive, original content apart from the usual programs available via the main ESPN site. Although a monthly subscription is offered, you can save more money when you pay annually or even avail of a bundle with Hulu and Disney Plus, so keep that in mind.
ESPN+is recommended for sports enthusiasts who may want exclusive access to live games and other on-demand shows and sports-themed movies. If you’re a fan of rarely-covered sports like lacrosse and rugby, you’re in for a treat too. On the other hand, avid followers of NBA and NFL may need to weigh the available options and read up on other sports streaming sites.