ESPN Plus Review: Is It Worth $5 Per Month
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I love to watch and read about most sports. So much so that ESPN is a fixture in my life. Years ago, my wife bought me a subscription to ESPN Insider so I could read to my heart’s content about the NFL, college football, and the NBA. Over the past year, the broadcast giant added ESPN+ as a part of that membership.
In our ESPN+ review, I’ll share my experience with the platform and why you may want to consider adding it to your sports arsenal.
It’s easy to believe that ESPN+ is a streaming service or a replacement for ESPN. That is not the case. It won’t allow you to watch all the sports you currently watch and ditch your current provider.
While the service won’t allow you to completely watch sports without cable, it is a powerful tool you can use to enhance your sports content. I’ve used the service since it launched and enjoy it a lot.
This ESPN+ review is an honest take on the service and whether or not it’s worth the price tag.
What is ESPN+?
ESPN+ is a standalone premium sports streaming service. It is not a replacement to ESPN. The service airs events, exclusive sports content, and original programming.
Think of it as an expansion of the former WatchESPN app. The ESPN+ app lets you watch sports content you won’t find anywhere else.
An ESPN+ subscription costs a mere $4.99 per month. That’s not too bad for exclusive sports content. If you prefer to sign up on an annual basis, the ESPN+ price is $49.99 per year.
Regardless of your choice, there’s no contract, and you can cancel any time.
As you may know, Disney owns ESPN. Disney also owns Hulu and Disney Plus. They offer a special price of $12.99 per month for all three:
- Disney Plus
- ESPN Plus
- Hulu – with ads
The Hulu and Disney/ESPN bundle is a terrific way to get network shows, plus all your favorite Disney shows and ESPN+ programming for one low cost.
It saves you 25 percent versus buying each one separately.
What is on the Platform?
Since ESPN+ isn’t a replacement, you may ask yourself, “what is on ESPN+ then?”. That’s a fair question.
You can find pay-per-view content on the service, as well as exclusive live sporting events, and original programming. Our ESPN+ review covers everything you can watch on ESPN+.
I love to watch college sports. College football is my favorite, but I also like to watch college basketball and volleyball.
ESPN+ is a terrific choice to view that content. The platform focuses on smaller conferences. You can expect to see games from the following conferences:
- Big South
- Conference USA
- Ivy League
- Missouri Valley
- Ohio Valley
- Sun Belt
During the 2019 college football season, ESPN+ also aired five games from the following Power Five Conference teams:
- Kansas State
As a Kansas State alumnus, I love to watch games, and the platform was easy to use to view our game.
You can also use ESPN+ to watch college basketball games from 15 different conferences. It’s also possible to watch baseball, diving, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.
There’s no shortage of college sports content on the ESPN+ live stream.
Fantasy Football is huge in the U.S., and ESPN+ does not disappoint if you like to receive expert help with your team. Included in your ESPN+ cost is access to exclusive content from fantasy experts.
If you follow Eric Karabell, Al Zeidenfeld, or Matthew Berry, you’re in luck as they all have exclusive articles and shows offering analysis to help you manage your fantasy team.
Want more? You can watch The Fantasy Football Show live directly on the platform.
ESPN is one of the more popular fantasy platforms. If you manage your team on the platform, they provide additional value with the following:
- Auction Value Generator
- Free agency recommendations
- Lineup recommendations
If you play Fantasy Football, ESPN+ is a must-have resource.
MLB and NHL
I’m not a big fan of baseball or ice hockey, but ESPN+ offers ample chances to watch games from both professional leagues.
Fans of the NHL can watch close to 200 games per season. You also receive access to In the Crease – the platform’s exclusive daily hockey show with Barry Melrose and Linda Cohn.
Are you a fan of America’s national past time? MLB fans can stream one live game each day. You do have to be aware of blackout restrictions as local markets receive access to different games.
Whether you watch U.S.- based professional soccer, or international, most fans will find a robust offering on the ESPN+ app.
The MLS airs over 250 out-of-market games on the platform. Are you a fan of the Chicago Fire? You can watch their games in all markets.
Professional soccer is a bigger sport in other countries. If you follow a particular team, you can expect to watch matches from the following leagues:
- Australian A-League
- Chinese Super League
- Coppa Italia
- Danish Superliga
- Dutch Eredivisie
- Dutch Superliga
- English Carabao Cup
- English FA Cup
- English Football League
- Indian Super League
- International Champions Cup
- Italian Serie A
- Leagues Cup
- Swedish Allsvenskan
- United Soccer League
Do you like to watch the U.S. Open Cup? It airs exclusively on ESPN+.
Are you a Tennis nut? ESPN+ is the only platform that airs every minute of the Australian Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon.
I’m not a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but if you are, then ESPN+ is a near must to have.
The reason is simple. ESPN+ is the exclusive provider of all UFC pay-per-view fights. This means you receive access to all of the biggest fights.
Yes, PPV fights do carry an additional cost, but they’re only available on the ESPN+ platform.
In addition to PPV matches, you will find other UFC-related content on the app, from original programming to archives of the best UFC fights.
Other Sports Content to Watch on the App
If the above sports programming is not enough to scratch your sports itch, ESPN+ provides games and events from the following sports and leagues:
- Auto Racing
- Boxing – including over 30 Top Rank Boxing cards
- Canadian Football League (CFL)
The above is in addition to ESPN+ original programming, which is covered below.
One of my favorite parts of having an ESPN+ subscription is the original content and programming. This brings added value, especially if you don’t have access to ESPN.
Here are a few of the top ESPN+ shows you can expect to receive:
- Peyton’s Places
- NBA Rooks
- Why We Fight
- More Than an Athlete
The above is a sampling of the original programming you can watch on ESPN+. My favorite part of the content on the platform is access to the entire 30 for 30 library.
How to Watch ESPN+
Watching ESPN+ is simple. You subscribe to ESPN+ to receive access to content. Here are the steps you must take to watch ESPN+
- Download and open the ESPN+ on your phone or TV, after subscribing to the service.
- Select the “Settings” icon in the upper right corner of the app.
- Choose “Account Information” then “Log into ESPN Account.”
- Go to https://espn.com/activate on your selected device and provide the activation code they sent to your phone.
- Log in with your ESPN+ username and password.
- Start watching content.
Upon completing the above process, you will see an ESPN+ tab while in the ESPN platform.
Any streaming service worth its salt is available on a myriad of devices. That is the case with ESPN+. Here is the list of ESPN+ supported devices:
- Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire Tablet
- Android Phone, TV, and Tablet
- Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone
- Google Chromecast
- Oculus Go
- Playstation 4
- ·Roku devices
- Samsung Smart TV
- Xbox One
I prefer to watch games on our TV. We log in to ESPN+ on our computer and connect it via HDMI cord to our smart TV.
Games come through clear, and it’s just like watching games on any other streaming platform. The phone version works great as well.
What the App Will Not Do for You
If you’re looking at the ESPN+ app as an option to cut the cord, you will be disappointed. The app is not meant to replace the main network; it’s a supplement.
You will not replace the games from your favorite NFL or NBA team with the service. While that would be terrific, it’s not the purpose of the platform.
The purpose of ESPN+ is to provide exclusive content you can’t receive on any other service. Additionally, it offers in-depth and niche content that many crave.
When you add in out-of-market games or matches, and niche games, it’s a valuable service to have.
Finally, if you love Disney and want network shows, the Hulu and Disney/ESPN+ bundle is an excellent way to receive much of your content.
If you’re a fan of sports like I am, ESPN+ is a welcome addition to your arsenal. At only $4.99 per month or a discounted $49.99 per year, you receive access to all its original programming and games the service offers.
While it doesn’t replace ESPN, it’s an excellent supplement. For someone who only uses a streaming service, it’s a good way to scratch your sports itch year-round, at a reasonable cost.
The best part of the ESPN+ app is it doesn’t require a contract, and you can cancel at any time. If you love sports, it’s worth trying.
What are your favorite sports to watch? How often do you watch sports-related content each week?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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