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ESPN+: Live sports and more you can’t get anywhere else

ESPN is synonymous with sports on TV. It stands to reason, then, that ESPN+ gets you more sports. And it does, in that newfangled way that transcends sports on TV. ESPN+ is the future of ESPN in a streaming world. Probably. Eventually. Sort of.

It’s a little complicated. It’s perhaps better at the moment to consider ESPN+ the streaming service complementary to ESPN the cable network. You can get some of what’s on ESPN on ESPN+. But at the same time, ESPN Plus has a lot that you can’t get on the cable network.

Eventually that might change, especially with parent company Disney not being shy about wanting to offer ESPN proper as a standalone streaming product. Maybe that’ll eventually come with ESPN+ in tow. Or maybe it won’t. We’ll just have to see.

But right now? ESPN+ may well be something you want, especially if you’re looking for an easy place to watch certain sports that will never otherwise make it onto your TV.

Let’s get into the animal that is ESPN Plus.

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What does ESPN Plus cost?

There are a few ways to get ESPN+. On its own, it costs $10.99 a month, or $109.99 a year, with a slight discount when you go the annual route. Note that there is no ad-free version of ESPN+.

But Disney is going to push real hard to get you onto the Disney Bundle, which gets you ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu for a minimum of just $4 more a month.

There are a few options for the Disney Bundle, too. The least expensive tier is $14.99 a month and includes advertising on the Disney+ and Hulu side of the equation. That’s what’s known as the Disney Bundle Trio Basic. It’s a mouthful.

Or you can opt for the Disney Bundle Trio Premium at $24.99 a month and get rid of most ads on Disney+ and Hulu. (ESPN+ will still have ads.)

ESPN also offers occasional deals that bundle yearly ESPN Plus subscriptions with UFC pay-per-views, so if you’re a fan of both, keep an eye out and you may be able to save a few bucks .

Watching live ESPN channels still will require a paid TV subscription, whether from cable, satellite, or a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu With Live TV. The app acts as a gatekeeper by requiring users to sign in with their TV provider account to enable live viewing. If you need help finding a streaming TV provider, take a look at our live TV streaming services guide.

If you decide the service isn’t meeting your needs, you can cancel your subscription at any time, with no strings attached.

What do you get with ESPN+?

Perhaps most important, ESPN+ gives you access to ESPN Insider content on ESPN has put significant amounts of content behind the ESPN+ paywall. This includes basically any non-beat news coverage or analysis from leading writers such as Bill Barnwell and Zach Lowe as well as fantasy sports coverage from Matt Berry, Field Yates, and other experts.

Because this is still ESPN we’re talking about, you’ll find all sorts of sports on ESPN+. All the sports, really, in some form or another. The majors will still mostly stick to their major deals — think MLB, NFL, and NBA, for starters. But you will find the occasional event on ESPN+, too. You’ll just need to check the schedules.

ESPN+ has, however, lost the rights to MLS matches. For that, you’ll have to hit up MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Content from ESPN+ on the screen of a smartphone.

The app gives you access to scores, news, sports radio, podcasts, an on-demand library, and certain games and programming not available on ESPN’s cable channels. Plus, there’s a condensed, digital version of the network’s popular SportsCenter roundup each day. ESPN+ is also the only place to find the new, digital version of ESPN’s NFL Prime Time.

It also enhances your existing sports subscriptions. If you happen to subscribe to another premium sports streaming service, like or, you’ll be able to access out-of-market games through the ESPN app.

Furthermore, ESPN owns exclusive rights to UFC pay-per-views, making ESPN+ the only place where you can stream the promotion’s biggest matches. Those events don’t all come free with an ESPN+ subscription, however. UFC Fight Night events are included, but each PPV will cost an extra $70 on top of your existing subscription fees.

ESPN is also the exclusive home of Wimbledon and Monday Night Football, and will give ESPN Plus subscribers exclusive access to several NHL games in the 2022 season.

In addition to live sports, ESPN+ also includes a wide variety of classic and original ESPN content. ESPN+ is home to the entire 30 for 30 documentary catalog, including hit series like The Last Dance, Long Gone Summer, and O.J Simpson: Made in America. Original programming includes the new seven-part Derek Jeter series The Captain, the Tom Brady retrospective Man in the Arena, NBA Rooks, which follows NBA rookies in their first season; The Boardroom with KD, Kevin Durant’s show about the business side of sports; Peyton’s Places, Peyton Manning’s show discussing NFL history, current events, interviews, and more; Detail, a show that features elite athletes like Kobe Bryant, Daniel Cormier, Manning, and more breaking down game film as they would in the pros; and much more.

What about the viewing?

Critically for sports content, video can be streamed at up to 60 frames per second, though this will increase your data charges if you’re watching on a mobile device. Unfortunately, one area where ESPN+ is a lot like its cable channel sibling is advertising. Despite the subscription model, you’ll still encounter a limited number of ads while watching live programming.

On the bright side, if you happen to miss the first part of a game, you can watch live content from the beginning, even if you start watching late.

What do I need?

The ESPN streaming app is available on almost every streaming device and platform we can think of, including Android smartphones, Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Smart TVs, Fire/Kindle tablets, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Roku, Oculus Go, Xbox (One, Series X/S), PlayStation 4/ 5, Samsung Smart TVs, and Xfinity devices. A pretty comprehensive list, as you can probably tell.

Ideally, platforms like LG’s WebOS and Vizio’s SmartCast will jump on the list soon. For the time being, however, Vizio owners can use their TV’s built-in Chromecast function to access ESPN+. This is a pretty limitless option, excluding the fact that you must be in the U.S. to watch. At this time, there are no international plans — which could be a sticking point for some viewers. While this could very well change soon, we aren’t sure when it will, so we’ll share updates as they come to us. Barring production issues, though, there’s not much to complain about with ESPN+.

Of course, ongoing updates and new developments mean ESPN+ is likely to evolve even more. For now, you can learn more about the service on the ESPN Media Zone website. Smartphone viewers also can download the dedicated ESPN mobile app via the App Store or Google Play.

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Nick Perry
Nick Perry is a freelance writer who bounced from Hollywood to Silicon Beach to pajama pants. His work has been featured on…
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