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 network giant 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. As of April 2020, ESPN+ has 7.6 million subscribers. Media watchers estimate that number will grow to between eight and 12 million subscribers by 2024.

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

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.

Why ESPN+ may be the right streaming service for you

ESPN+ is meant to be used in addition to the normal ways you watch sports, like cable or satellite. If you already have a way to watch live sports but want ESPN-exclusive on-demand content without spending a fortune, ESPN+ is a great addition to your entertainment suite. At just $4.99/mo., ESPN+ is great for those who want a good selection of sports and ESPN content but aren’t fanatic about catching every live game.

Compare ESPN+ packages and pricing

ESPN+ costs just $4.99/mo., but when you sign up for an annual subscription, you can pay $49.99 up-front and save around $10/yr. ESPN+ is cheaper than other streaming services that offer live sports like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV (both $54.99/mo.), but the lower price does translate to fewer content options—ESPN+ only offers select live content, while the fuboTV base plan offers 100+ channels and Hulu + Live TV offers 65+. 

Pro tip: Interested in live sports streaming? Check out the Hulu + Live TV channel list and the fuboTV channel list to see more live sports options.

However, there is a way to get the ESPN-exclusive content available on ESPN+ and get a broader selection of content at the same time. Since the Walt Disney Company owns ESPN, you can bundle ESPN+ into a subscription with Hulu and Disney+ for just $12.99/mo.. There’s no contract or commitment, so you can cancel any time through your online account or by contacting support.

Here’s a breakdown of the ESPN+ packages:

ESPN+ ESPN+ bundled with Hulu and Disney+
Monthly price$4.99/mo.$12.99/mo.
Free trialNoNo
TitlesLive games and matches, on-demand replays, original series and 30 for 30 filmsExclusive Disney content, popular movies and shows, live sports coverage
Number of simultaneous streams55 (ESPN+), 4 (Disney+), 2 (Hulu Standard)
Offline viewingYesYes (ESPN+), Yes (Disney+), No (Hulu Standard)
Ad-free optionNoNo (ESPN+), Yes (Disney+), Yes, with plan upgrade (Hulu)

ESPN+ bundles, deals and free trials

Though ESPN+ doesn’t currently offer any special deals or free trials for new customers, they do offer two great bundles to help you get even more sports or branch out into entertainment at a lower price.

Save $5/mo. When you bundle ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu

Signing up for all three services together will cost you $12.99/mo., which is $5 cheaper than signing up for each service individually. Basically, you’re getting ESPN+ for free. 

Bundle ESPN+ with UFC pay-per-view events

If you’re a fan of UFC and a new subscriber to ESPN+, you can bundle the annual ESPN+ subscription plus a UFC pay-per-view (PPV) event for $84.98. Before you squawk at the price, just remember that the normal ESPN+ annual subscription alone costs $49.99/yr. And UFC Pay-Per-View events run anywhere from $49.99 to $89.95, depending on the profile of the event.

For more information about how to take advantage of this bundle if you’re already an ESPN+ subscriber, visit the ESPN+ UFC Fight Nights page.

Device compatibility

Don’t worry about the bulkiness of a cable set-up for ESPN+—all you need is an internet connection and a compatible streaming device to start watching.

Pro tip: To find the best streaming device for watching ESPN+, check out our list of best streaming devices of 2020.

Here’s a look at the devices ESPN+ is currently available on:

ESPN+ features

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 the cable networks you already subscribe to.

Tune into select live games and matches 

The service gives you access to select live college and professional sports games. Check the ESPN+ schedule for upcoming games and matches in sports like football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse.

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. 

Stream on five screens at once

Most other streaming services allow for two, three or maybe four streams at a time. ESPN+ allows for five. For the family members on your account (or roommates who mooch), this feature is a major bonus.

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+

Even though ESPN+ is not a full replacement for the cable-version of ESPN, you can still watch expert analysis, exclusive live events, sports documentaries and a limited version of SportsCenter through the app. The service also carries Canadian Football League, cricket, English Football League, UEFA Nations League and United Soccer League action as well as original shows, documentary programs and replays of the best NFL games in history. 

Live TV

With an ESPN+ subscription, you can stream live sports that aren’t available on ESPN networks and get access to game archives. But heads up, an ESPN+ subscription does not automatically give you access to the games that air on ESPN networks. If you want to stream ESPN network content from the app, you’ll need to sign in with your cable subscription login.

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, NHL, Series A, Top Rank Boxing and more. For soccer fans and those who follow niche sports like rugby and cricket in particular, ESPN+ offers great access to games for the $4.99/mo. price tag.

Do keep in mind that blackouts can apply to some games, particularly for local teams.

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

If you’re a UFC fan, you’re definitely going to want to sign up for ESPN+!

Original content

With ESPN+, you can access the full 30 for 30 documentary catalog and ESPN+ Originals, including original series and studio shows with elite athletes like Peyton Manning, Ariel Helwani, Zion Williamson and more. 

Some top picks to watch include Bad Boys, the docuseries about the tough Detroit Pistons of the late 80s and early 90s, The Two Escobars, the story of soccer player Andres Escobar and the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the film Hillsborough, which covers the tragic death of more than 90 fans during a Liverpool-Hottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final match.

Our hot take

Is ESPN+ worth it? ESPN+ may be a great streaming option if you’re trying to add-on exclusive sports content to your existing cable package. Select live broadcasts and analyses of your favorite leagues help you stay up to date on stats, trades and rankings. When you consider the service’s discounted access to UFC fights and on-demand original content the service definitely adds value.

But remember, an ESPN+ subscription does NOT give you access to channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNews. Instead, you get a limited selection of live sports and on-demand content to watch. So 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 options like Hulu + Live TV, where you can currently watch ESPN network games, or fuboTV which will begin to carry live ESPN channels this August.

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.

Margaret Manning