If you’re an avid sports fan, odds are you’re more than familiar with ESPN programming. The multinational sports network is found in millions of homes around the world, and now the company is jumping feet first into the digital age with the streaming service ESPN Plus.
However, the streaming service is far from a replacement for existing ESPN channels on your cable subscription. It’s more of a supplement to what those channels already offer, with a host of exclusive content and features for sports fanatics.
So what is ESPN Plus and is it worth your subscription? Keep reading for everything you need to know, or hit the button below to take advantage of the incredible value of the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus subscription at $12.99/mo.
What is ESPN Plus?
ESPN Plus (branded as ESPN+) is a streaming service from the sports network ESPN. Launched in 2018, it was initially a home for ancillary content that didn’t fit on the main networks, but has since carved out its own niche in the sports world with unique offerings.
It differs slightly from other streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video because it offers both recorded and live content. All of this can be streamed from a variety of devices using the ESPN app or website.
As mentioned above, ESPN Plus is not a replacement for other ESPN channels or subscriptions, but instead intends to complement them with access to VODs, stats, highlights, analysis, and more.
Although not all sports are featured heavily on the service, it’s a particularly great place for fans of soccer and UFC.
How does ESPN Plus work?
Just like other streaming services, all you need to do is boot up the ESPN app on any supported device (or open the ESPN website) and choose the content you want to watch. If you’re tuning into live broadcast content you have the option to start your stream at the beginning of the broadcast, as well.
Both the ESPN website and app interfaces make it easy to find something to watch. The first row has all current live matches, and subsequent rows have top picks and other content. You can also use the menu to further break things down or access stats and analytics.
Data requirements and usage
ESPN lists a minimum connection requirement of 2 Mbps on its website, but you will likely want a faster connection for consistently good streaming quality. At these speeds you may be subject to stuttering and buffering pauses that take you out of the experience. Most content is streamed at 60fps, which puts an even higher strain on your internet connection.
Other streaming services like Netflix require more than twice as fast a connection for HD streaming. There are no official numbers on data consumption either, but you can expect to use around 3GB of data per hour streamed.
Is ESPN Plus worth it?
Whether or not ESPN Plus is worth it for you depends on just how much of a sports fan you are. At just $5.99 a month (or less with a yearly subscription or bundle), it’s significantly less expensive than most other streaming services, although it offers less content.
You won’t find any NFL games on the platform, and not every MLB or NBA game can be streamed either. However, the service is one of the best places to watch other sports like boxing and soccer, with leagues from around the globe signing deals to stream games on the service.
Perhaps the biggest pickup is UFC, which has an exclusive streaming partnership with ESPN Plus. It’s the only place to watch official UFC pay-per-view events. You will have to pay an extra fee to stream them, but you won’t be able to find them anywhere else.
It’s also a great choice for people with other subscriptions like MLB.tv or NHL.tv, which tie directly into the service with out-of-market games and stats. There are also many original analysis shows and documentary series on the platform, including the prestigious 30-for-30 series.
Where is ESPN Plus available?
At the time of writing, ESPN Plus is available exclusively in the United States. Internationally, some ESPN games can shows can be streamed via an ESPN Player subscription.
You may also be able to access the service with a VPN service, although this isn’t officially supported.
How much is ESPN Plus?
There are several ways to subscribe to ESPN Plus, but the base plan was recently increased to $5.99 a month (formerly $4.99 a month). The annual price of $49.99 remains unchanged, however, and now offers even bigger savings over the monthly plan.
For fans of UFC, you can also save money by getting a yearly subscription bundled with UFC’s Pay-Per-View programming. It costs $84.95 per year, which represents a savings of roughly 25%.
If you’re looking for value, the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle is the best deal. For just $12.99 a month you gain access to all three services: Disney Plus, Hulu (with ads), and ESPN Plus. If you want to save some money during the off season, all monthly plans can be canceled at any time with no extra fees.
Can I get ESPN Plus for free?
ESPN Plus currently offers a seven-day free trial for all new members. You can also share your account with other users, as it supports up to three simultaneous streams.
Does it have ads?
ESPN Plus does feature ads on live content, just like you would see if you were watching it on TV. The service has also recently started airing pre-roll ads before certain content starts, which has frustrated some paying subscribers.
How do I get ESPN Plus?
What devices does ESPN Plus support?
ESPN Plus supports a wide variety of devices, so you should be able to stream on just about any screen in your house. Both iOS devices (iOS 11.0 or higher) and Android devices (Android 5.0 or higher) can access the service with ease via the ESPN app, with the ability to cast streams onto a Chromecast.
The streaming service also supports nearly all browsers on the market, including Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS. Many smart TVs, set top boxes, and game consoles are supported as well.
Read also: The best media streaming devices you can buy
Here is the full list of ESPN Plus supported devices:
- Android (5.0 or higher)
- iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (iOS 11.0 or higher)
- Web browsers
- Apple TV (3rd gen or newer)
- Amazon Fire TV
- Roku (most models)
- Xbox One (all models)
- PlayStation 4 (all models)
- Samsung Tizen TVs
- Android TV devices (Sharp, Sony, etc.)
What do you get with ESPN Plus?
ESPN Plus is home to all kinds of great content for sports fans, and some of it is exclusive to the platform. As mentioned above, it does not replace standard programming from other ESPN channels, so you won’t find any NFL games or most MLB or NBA games.
However, you will find major tennis events such as the Grand Slam, US Open, and Australian Open, as well as many golf, rugby, cricket, and boxing events. Many college sports like football and basketball can also be streamed on ESPN Plus.
ESPN Plus is the best place for fans of soccer and UFC.
By far the most well-represented sport on the platform is soccer. ESPN Plus is home to the Major League Soccer, United States Soccer League, English Football League, the Bundesliga, the FA Cup, and more. There truly is no better option for fans of soccer in the United States.
ESPN Plus is also the best platform for UFC fans. It has an exclusive streaming rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, which are some of the biggest matches around. You will have to pay extra for them, however. You can buy each event individually or buy an annual pass for $84.95.
To sweeten the pot even further, you can also watch tons of great original programming, from talk shows to documentaries like the entire 30 for 30 series, Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, and many, many others. It’s the perfect way to get your sports fill when there aren’t any live games in the off season.
ESPN Plus alternatives
For those in the United States looking to watch sports content, ESPN Plus doesn’t have many true competitors. While there are some other options for streaming live sports games, these are more of an alternative to regular ESPN programming, rather than the online streaming service.
If that’s what you’re looking for, we’ve listed a few of your best options below.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is one of the best streaming services out there, allowing access to both an extensive streaming library and live TV channels. Those channels include several ESPN stations, so you can get your sports fill without a cable subscription.
The service runs $54.99 with ads on streaming content, or $60.99 without ads on streaming content. Unfortunately, Hulu + Live TV is not offered as part of the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle, which only includes the streaming content with ads.
Another potential alternative to standard cable subscriptions is YouTube TV. It has an even better selection of sports channels, and the best DVR support of any streaming service anywhere. You get unlimited storage that lasts for up to nine months before it’s deleted.
YouTube TV runs $64.99 a month, with the option to get add-ons like the NBA League Pass or FOX Soccer Plus so you never miss a game.
For the soccer fans out there, the best alternative to the great soccer streaming content on ESPN Plus is FuboTV. It includes a variety of national sports channels, but its real strength is international soccer. You can catch European and South American leagues as they’re played, with the option of watching in Spanish for an even more authentic experience.
That said, FuboTV does not include ESPN channels, so you will miss out on some major national sports. The cheapest plan costs $54.99, and there are more expensive plans with additional channels that cost up to $84.99 per month.
Q: Is ESPN Plus available outside of the United States?
A: No, it is not currently offered outside of the United States.
Q: How many simultaneous streams does ESPN Plus support?
A: You can stream on three devices simultaneously with ESPN Plus.
Q: Does ESPN Plus work with VPNs?
A: Yes, although it’s not officially supported. Check out our VPN recommendations here.
Q: How do I cancel ESPN Plus?
A: It’s very easy to cancel your subscription. Here are the instructions.
Q: Can I watch NFL games on ESPN Plus?
A: No, it does not include live NFL games, but there is an exclusive digital version of NFL Prime Time available to stream on the platform.
Q: Can you watch the Super Bowl on ESPN Plus?
A: The Super Bowl is not included with an ESPN Plus subscription, but you can watch it from within the ESPN app if you enter your cable subscription details.
Q: Can you watch Monday Night Football on ESPN Plus?
A: Monday Night Football is not included with an ESPN Plus subscription, but you can watch it from within the ESPN app if you enter your cable subscription details.
Q: Can I watch live games on ESPN Plus?
A: Yes, you can watch select live games on the service, including soccer, cricket, NHL, and more. You have the option to pick up right from the live broadcast or start from the beginning so you don’t miss a single play.
Q: Is ESPN Plus included with Disney Plus?
A: No, it is not included with the standard Disney Plus plan, but it is included in the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN plus bundle for $12.99 per month.
Q: Can I watch NHL games on ESPN Plus?
A: Yes! It’s actually one of the best places to stream the NHL, with more than 180 games offered in the 2018-2019 season.
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