Skip to main content

ESPN+, the stand-alone streaming sports app we’ve been waiting for, is here

In November, Disney finally announced its new ESPN+ streaming service after teasing it in August, but didn’t confirm what it would cost or when it would arrive. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed in February during an interview on CNBC’s Closing Bell that the service would cost $5 per month. Now the service is available as part of the updated ESPN app.

At launch, the updated app is available for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast devices, with others assumed to follow. You can also watch via the ESPN.com website. A seven-day free trial of the service is available, and if you sign up before April 18, the trial is extended to 30 days.

The plus sign in the name is telling, in that there isn’t currently much content at all that you would find on ESPN on TV that is also available on ESPN+. For the vast majority of content on ESPN, ESPN 2, and the network’s other channels, you’ll still need a pay TV subscription.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

So what is available via ESPN+ then? When it comes to live sports, you’ll find MLB, NHL, MLS Games, Top Rank Boxing, PGA Tour Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, thousands of college sports events, and more. As for the on-demand library, ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series is available, with some available exclusively through the service like The Last Days of Knight, which premiers tomorrow.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Other original content includes Detail, a basketball analysis series hosted by Kobe Bryant. For NFL fans, Draft Academy is another piece of original programming that offers “a behind-the-scenes look at top prospects leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.” Other planned content includes NHL highlight show In The Crease and daily soccer news show ESPN FC.

One extra bonus for baseball fans is that they can buy the entire MLB.tv out-of-market package via ESPN+ for an extra $25 per month. Starting with the 2018-2019 season, this will extend to hockey fans as well, who will be able to purchase the NHL.tv out-of-market package the same way.

Of course, this is just the start of Disney’s streaming strategy. In November, the company announced it would pull Disney and Marvel content from Netflix as it was launching its own streaming service in 2019. ESPN+ is likely at least partly intended to help the company work out the kinks of launching a streaming service before the Disney service launches.

While ESPN+ won’t let you watch Sportscenter without a pay TV subscription, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with cable. If you’re looking for a switch, make sure to check our guide to the best live-TV streaming services.

Editors' Recommendations

Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
Disney already knows if you’re sharing your streaming account
The Disney World castle as seen in the Disney+ streaming app.

Along with a number of price increases, the other big news to come out of Disney's (fiscal) third-quarter earnings report was that the company is taking a serious look at account sharing — password sharing, if you will — and will begin to crack down on it in 2024.

In other words, it's going to do what Netflix has done, and it's time to pay up. But we don't yet know exactly what that will look like.

Read more
Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ get new pricing schemes this fall
Disney Plus on Roku.

Disney+ — and along with it, fellow Disney-owned streaming services Hulu and ESPN+ — have never had the simplest of pricing schemes. And this fall they're going to get a little more complex -- and more expensive. And more countries are getting more options.

First up: Canada and some European nations will get the ad-supported option for Disney+ starting November 1, 2023. It'll run $8 in the former, and 5 pounds or 6 euros in the latter. Current subscribers will stay in the ad-free plan unless they actively decide to switch.

Read more
The Digital Trends guide to FAST streaming services
Amazon Freevee.

When you talk about the best streaming services, you typically talk about video-on-demand (VOD) services like Netflix. Or Disney+. Or Amazon Prime Video. Or Hulu. And for good reason — they have a ton of paying subscribers. Netflix alone is closing in on a quarter-billion. Disney+ is about halfway there.

And while the numbers drop off a good bit from there, another flavor of streaming should constitute a good bit of the discussion. FAST services — that's the industry acronym for free advertising-based streaming television — continue to grow both in numbers and in popularity. Think of FAST like the streaming version of broadcast TV, or your cable box. Shows are on at the same time for everyone, and everyone is watching the same thing, with ads. Only unlike YouTube TV or Hulu With Live TV, you don't have to pay anything upfront. It's all supported by advertising — you just don't get the "good" channels like you will on the paid services.

Read more