For only the third time since its launch in 2018, the price of the ESPN+ streaming service is going up. Disney has announced that as of August 13, the monthly price of ESPN+ will go from $6 a month to $7. Additionally, ESPN+ annual subscribers will now pay $70 a year, up from $60.
However, there is some good news for subscribers who get ESPN+ through the Disney Bundle alongside Hulu and Disney+. The Disney Bundle price will remain at $14 per month. Disney has also confirmed that the exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship PPVs on ESPN+ will also be spared from a price increase.
CNBC shed some light on why Disney is raising the price of ESPN+. According to the report, the $7 price point is still below the $9 per month that ESPN gets from traditional cable subscribers. That means that Disney is actually losing money on fans who cancel their cable accounts in favor of subscribing to ESPN+. The loss of TV commercial revenue also makes ESPN+ less lucrative than the cable channel that originally spawned it.
ESPN+ does have added value for its most passionate sports fans, thanks to the Insider articles available exclusively on ESPN.com. Regardless, Disney and ESPN are also giving viewers even bigger incentives to subscribe to the streaming service. When the NFL renewed its deal with ESPN for the next 11 years of Monday Night Football, ESPN retained the rights to stream every one of those games on ESPN+. CNBC also notes that ESPN’s recent deal with the NHL will give ESPN+ subscribers the chance to stream 75 games that are exclusive to the platform. And for tennis fans, ESPN and ESPN+ will continue airing the famed Wimbledon tournament for an additional 12 years.
While ESPN+ currently has somewhere around 13.8 million subscribers, the primary value to its parent company may still be the Disney Bundle. Disney+ is clearly the company’s flagship streaming service with over 100 million subscribers, while Hulu is in a distant second at just over 40 million subscribers. If ESPN+ can continue to entice sports fans to subscribe to the bundle, then it will also push the numbers up for both of its corporate siblings. In the end, that may be Disney’s preferred outcome.
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