ESPN+ review

ESPN+ highlights

  • Starting at $4.99/mo.
  • Includes access to live games and additional sports commentary and documentaries
  • Sign up now

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. 

Sign up for ESPN+
Get access to live sports content.

Access live sports and additional content with ESPN+. Bundle with Hulu and Disney+ for more great content.

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+ bundled with Hulu and Disney+
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.

ESPN+ cost

ESPN+ costs just $4.99 per month.

You can also get a slightly discounted package for $49.99 for 12 months, saving you about $10 per year.

There’s no contract or commitment, so you can cancel any time. You can easily cancel ESPN+ through your online account or by contacting support.

While ESPN+ is meant mostly as a supplementary program to other sources of live sports, the service doesn’t actually require any other subscription. You don’t have to be a cable or streaming service subscriber in order to use ESPN+. All you need is an internet connection and your ESPN+ subscription. With that said, if you’re a sports fan you’ll probably want another way to watch sports online, as ESPN+ alone doesn’t provide enough coverage to satisfy most sports fans.

ESPN+ for cord-cutters

ESPN Plus is meant to be used in addition to normal means to watch sports, like cable or satellite. But how does ESPN+ measure up for cord-cutters?

If you’re expecting ESPN+ to be a complete way to watch sports online, think again. Coverage is definitely limited, and you won’t find many of the most popular sporting events on this service.

Then again, if you just want access to a good selection of many different sports, and don’t want to spend a fortune, ESPN+ is great. For $5 a month, the value of this service really can’t be beat. It’s absolutely worth the cost.

If you’ve cut the cord and just want some sports coverage, ESPN+ is a great option – but far from a complete one. If you sign up for ESPN+ and find yourself craving more, you might consider checking out a streaming service like fuboTV or Hulu with Live TV, which will provide a LOT more mainstream live sporting events.

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:

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

Since ESPN+ is no contract or commitment, 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.

ESPN+ live sports coverage

Here are the sports you can watch on ESPN+. Keep in mind that blackouts can apply to some games, particularly for local teams.

Soccer – Select matches from MLS, Serie A, UEFA Nations League, and EFL.

  • Of all the sports, soccer gets the most coverage. ESPN+ absorbed the old MLS Live service, and also offers other world soccer leagues. It’s a great deal for soccer fans.
  • All MLS out-of-market games are covered (subject to blackouts)
  • International coverage of select Serie A, UEFA and EFL games

College Sports – Select games of college level football, basketball, lacrosse and more

  • College sports coverage is decent on ESPN+, as long as you don’t follow Power Five conference teams
  • Mostly lower-tier conferences are covered, including America East, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, etc.

UFC – All UFC PPV fights are now exclusively on ESPN+ – and you’ll also get many fight nights

  • UFC coverage on ESPN+ is excellent. In fact, we rank it as the best way to watch UFC online
  • ESPN+ is now the ONLY place to get UFC pay-per-views – you can’t even get them through cable providers any more
  • In addition to PPVs, ESPN+ also covers tons of UFC Fight Nights, original UFC-based shows, and more

Baseball – Select games from MLB (1 random game per day during baseball season)

Basketball – Select games from FIBA basketball

Football – Select games from CFL Football and select college football teams

Tennis – Select matches from Wimbledon, Australian Open, and US Open

Hockey – Select games from the NHL (1 game per day during hockey season)

Rugby – Select matches from Sevens Series Rugby, European Champions Rugby and more

Boxing – Select matches from Top Rank Boxing and more

Golf – Select coverage of the PGA tour and more

Overall, the coverage of live sports on ESPN+ is somewhat limited, but constantly expanding. This is to be expected for a $5 service, but still – don’t expect it to replace the need for more costly subscriptions.

The sports covered on ESPN+ are mostly ones that are less popular among most American customers. That means NFL and NBA are completely off the table, and MLB is limited to one random game per day.

The big exception is UFC. ESPN+ is a fantastic way to watch UFC online – in fact, it’s the only way when it comes to title fights.

There are also some other areas where ESPN+ shines. Soccer fans will enjoy a wide range of coverage of both domestic and international games. College sports fans who follow less-popular teams will also find a lot of value on ESPN+. And anyone who enjoys lesser-followed sports like rugby and cricket may find the $5/mo price tag well worth it.

Sign up for ESPN+
Get access to live sports content.

Access live sports and additional content with ESPN+. Bundle with Hulu and Disney+ for more great content.

UFC on ESPN+

If you’re a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Challenge, better known as UFC, then ESPN+ is pretty much essential.

Why?

ESPN+ is the exclusive home to all UFC pay-per-view fights, which includes all the biggest fights of the year. Exclusive, as in you can’t get these fights ANYWHERE else, not even via cable providers. Keep in mind that these PPVs will cost extra, on top of your ESPN+ subscription.

But beyond that, ESPN+ also shines for UFC fans by offering:

  • Tons of UFC Fight Nights (included in the ESPN+ cost of $4.99/mo)
  • Exclusive UFC Original shows
  • Archives with “best of the UFC” highlights
  • Exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more
  • The only place to buy UFC PPVs for the big fights

If you’re a UFC fan, you’re definitely going to want to sign up for 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.

ESPN+ FAQs

How do I watch ESPN+?

Wondering how to watch ESPN+ once you’ve subscribed? It’s easy! Subscribers just log on to the ESPN+ app like they would choose any other app or channel. Once it’s open you can watch any available live or on-demand programming.

Can you watch ESPN+ on DIRECTV, Xfinity, Dish or other providers?

ESPN+ is a standalone service. This means that it’s sold on its own, without cable/satellite providers playing as a middle man. This also means that you cannot watch ESPN+ on Dish, Xfinity or any other cable provider. You can only get ESPN+ from ESPN+ itself – click here to sign up on their website. Once you’re signed up, you can watch ESPN+ on most streaming devices, computers, etc.

What channel is ESPN+ on?

Trick question! ESPN+ is not a channel, but actually its own service. You need to subscribe to ESPN+ separately in order to watch it. If you see a sports schedule and ESPN+ is listed as the “channel” where the event will air, that means you’ll need to be an ESPN+ subscriber in order to watch it.

How do I cancel ESPN+?

Wondering how to cancel ESPN+? It’s quite easy, and can be done online. Simply log into your account here, sign in, and click the “manage subscription” link. From there, you will see a “cancel membership” option. You will be asked to confirm the cancellation – and that’s it! You will not be billed any longer. Alternatively, you can email support@espnplus.com or call Customer Support at 1(800) 727-1800.

Can I watch on multiple devices at once?

Yes, you are allowed to access up to 3 simultaneous streams at the same time. This could allow you to share with household members easily.

Is ESPN+ available outside the United States?

Not currently, no. At this time, ESPN+ is exclusive to the US. We do expect that the service will eventually expand, however.

Is ESPN+ available through the ESPN app?

Yes, it is. If you are a ESPN+ subscriber, you will see ESPN+ content in the normal ESPN app. The ESPN+ content will be marked with a gold ESPN+ badge.

Sign up for ESPN+
Get access to live sports content.

Access live sports and additional content with ESPN+. Bundle with Hulu and Disney+ for more great content.

Is ESPN+ the same as having ESPN?

No, not at all. ESPN the cable channel covers many of the most important sporting events, and constantly airs coverage of sports. Other ESPN-owned channels, like ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, etc. provide additional coverage. Having an ESPN+ subscription does NOT give you access to any of these channels. Instead, you get a limited selection of live sports and on-demand content to watch.

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.