ESPN+ review

ESPN is a popular network dedicated to news and analysis for all things sports. Back in 2018, ESPN launched its video on demand streaming service, ESPN+, to complement its 24-hour sports broadcasting network. It provides users with access to live games and matches as well as additional sports commentary and documentaries. As of April 2019, ESPN+ had more than 2 million subscribers. Media watchers estimate that number will grow to between 8 and 12 million subscribers by 2024. 

Compare ESPN+ plans

Since the Walt Disney Company owns ESPN, you can bundle ESPN+ into a subscription with Hulu and Disney+ for just $12.99/mo. ESPN+ alone costs $4.99/mo. The service doesn’t currently offer a free trial period.

ESPN+ESPN+
Monthly price$4.99/mo.$12.99/mo.
Annual price$50/yr.$155/yr.
ContentLive games and matches, on-demand replays, original series and 30 for 30 filmsExclusive Disney content, popular movies and shows, live sports coverage
Ad-freeNoNo
Upgrade/downgradeNoAd-free Hulu upgrade for $18.99/mo.
Device compatibilityAndroid/iOS, desktop, smart TVs, smartphones and tabletsAndroid/iOS, desktop, smart TVs, smartphones and tablets
Free trialNoNo

What is ESPN+

ESPN’s video subscription service is a lite version of the actual cable channel with its own shows and live programming. It’s not an exact replica of the ESPN channel so it doesn’t provide the same shows you can find on cable. However, if you already pay for cable or a premium streaming service that offers live games and matches, ESPN+ will complement your experience.

User experience

The ESPN+ subscription service is housed within the ESPN app. To access the ESPN streaming service, open your ESPN application and click on the + to get to your subscription. You can also access the ESPN+ tab directly on ESPN’s website via the drop-down menu on the top left of your screen. 

The ESPN+ app displays a clean mobile interface that’s pretty easy to traverse. Thumbnails for games, shows and episodes line a black screen. The app provides several ways to find content, including a video library. New and featured options populate at the top of the app, making it simple to stay on top of the latest ESPN+ programming.

Device compatibility

ESPN+ is currently available on:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Kindle Tablets
  • Android devices
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS devices
  • Oculus Go
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Xbox One

What does ESPN+ include?

Even though you can’t rely only on ESPN+ for all your sports needs, it provides a decent list of features that make it stand out as a complementary source for an existing cable subscription. 

Tune into select live games and matches 

The service gives you access to a wide variety of live college and professional sports. Check the ESPN+ schedule for upcoming games and matches. 

Control your broadcasting

Start, pause and replay at any time during live performances. Thanks to this feature, you can head to the kitchen to grab a snack without missing a second of the action. 

Picture-in-picture tool

This feature allows you to shrink the live stream to a corner of your screen, freeing you to check other scores and news on the app. 

Exclusive ESPN articles

The ESPN+ app includes a news feed with articles only accessible behind its paywall. These articles are premium content full of insider information and expert perspectives.

Download to view offline later 

If you’re traveling, away from Wi-Fi or just want to save data, you can download content to watch when you’re not online. 

Cancel at any time

You can cancel your ESPN+ subscription at any time. If you decide to give the service a try and end up not liking it, you can walk away without a hassle.

What to watch on ESPN+

ESPN+ is not a replacement for ESPN and actually works best when combined with other sports subscriptions like UFC or MLB.TV. While you can watch some expert analysis, live events, sports documentaries and a limited version of SportsCenter through the app, for the full ESPN, experience you’ll still need a paid TV subscription. You’ll have to sign in through your cable account to access live broadcasts that air on ESPN or ESPN 2.  You won’t be able to stream Monday Night Football, NBA or NHL games on your ESPN Plus channels, but the streaming service will still provide select live coverage of college sports, Grand Slam Tennis, MLB, MLS, NBA, NHL, PGA golf and Top Rank Boxing. The service also carries Canadian Football League, cricket, English Football League, UEFA Nations League and United Soccer League action. You can also access the full 30 for 30 documentary catalog, NFL history with Peyton Manning and film commentary from elite athletes like Daniel Cormier, Kobe Bryant and Manning.

How to get ESPN+

Want to sign up for an ESPN+ subscription? Here’s what the process looks like.

  1. Navigate to the ESPN+ landing page.
  2. Select your option: ESPN+ or the bundle with Hulu and Disney+.
  3. Fill out your name, email address and create a password.
  4. Click Sign Up.
  5. Enter your billing information.
  6. Select Buy ESPN+.

The takeaway

Is ESPN+ worth it? ESPN+ may be a great streaming option if you’re trying to augment your existing cable package. With its live broadcasts and analysis of your favorite leagues, you’ll always be up to date on stats, trades and rankings. But if you’re a die-hard NBA, NFL or NHL fan who is in search of a streaming service that covers all your games, you’ll probably want to consider other options.

Zack Kulm

Zack Kulm is a writer and contributor of soda.com. He covers a variety of topics from entertainment and gaming technologies to pop culture commentary. Kulm received a degree in English from Penn State University and Film Studies from Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute. He also produces award-winning documentaries.