Losing live sporting events keeps many people from cutting the cord on cable. Fortunately, sports fans can rest assured that they don’t need to stay with cable or satellite to watch their favorite team.
Streaming services like ESPN+ make it possible to watch a variety of live games. This ESPN+ review shares what we learned during our extensive testing of the app and reveals if it’s a suitable choice to stream live sports.
Table of Contents
What is ESPN+?
ESPN+ is a standalone streaming service for live sports. The service airs events, exclusive sports content, and original programming.
Think of it as an expansion of the former WatchESPN app. The ESPN Plus app lets you watch sports content you won’t find anywhere else.
If you want to stream ESPN without cable, the service doesn’t replace the live channel. However, there is plenty of action on the app that you won’t find on any other platform.
How Much Does ESPN+ Cost?
A monthly subscription to ESPN+ is $10.99 per month. You can sign up for an annual subscription for $99.99, which earns you two months for free.
Regardless of which subscription you choose, there’s no contract. Plus, you can cancel at any time.
While there is no free trial, it’s worth trying to see if you like it since it has a low monthly cost.
The app has had several price increases over the years, but there is still considerable value for streamers.
Additionally, you can select the Disney bundle if you want to pair the sports streaming service with Hulu and Disney+.
Pricing varies, but it goes up to $19.99 per month if you want the no-ads version of Hulu and Disney+.
This is a terrific way to get network shows, plus all your favorite Disney shows and sports programming, for one low cost. The bundle could save you significant money if you don’t need live TV streaming services.
*Related: Read our guide on how to watch ABC without cable to learn the best options to get your favorite network shows.
If you choose Hulu Live for a live service, you also receive access to the Disney bundle.
Read our Disney+ review to learn more about that platform.
What Can You Watch on ESPN+?
While the app isn’t a way to stream the ESPN channel, there’s a lot of exclusive sports content on the platform. From pay-per-view (PPV) action to live games, there’s plenty of content.
Here is what you can watch on ESPN+.
Major League Baseball
If you’re a fan of MLB, ESPN+ is a legitimate option to catch your favorite team. The app began streaming games for the 2022 season, with one game per day.
It carried every team at least ten times during the season, but blackout restrictions apply.
Unfortunately, the MLB playoffs did not stream on the service. Nevertheless, it’s a good choice for casual baseball fans who want to occasionally watch their favorite team.
Additionally, you can catch replays of games after they are complete. The app also gives access to classic MLB games from the past and much of the Little League World Series.
If you’re a baseball fan, there’s a lot to like about the video streaming service.
National Hockey League
ESPN+ can be an excellent platform to use if you’re a fan of the NHL. The app has access to over 1,000 out-of-market NHL games from every team in the league.
Blackouts apply, but it can be an excellent way to follow your favorite team.
Furthermore, ESPN+ has programs that show highlights and analyses of each game. That, in addition to other original NHL content, makes ESPN+ a winner for hockey fans.
If you love college sports, ESPN+ is a must-have streaming app. The service has live events from over 25 conferences nationwide.
Some are smaller conferences, but you can watch live game coverage from Power Five conferences. Other conferences include:
- Big South
- Conference USA
- Ivy League
- Missouri Valley
- Ohio Valley
- Sun Belt
If you want to stream college football without a contract, ESPN+ is worth considering.
*Related: Do you want to kill your cable bill but don’t know which streaming platform to choose? Try our free quiz to see which service best fits your needs.*
You can also use the service to watch college basketball games from various conferences. It’s even possible to watch the following sports on the app:
- Baseball, diving, field hockey
- Fencing, gymnastics, hockey
- Lacrosse, soccer, swimming
- Tennis, track and field, volleyball, wrestling
There’s no shortage of college sports content on the ESPN+ live stream.
Whether you watch U.S.- based professional soccer or international soccer, most fans will find a robust offering on the ESPN+ app.
The service airs over 350 major league soccer (MLS) games through its MLS Live hub.
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
In the event your favorite team is in the Bundesliga or LaLiga leagues, you receive access to virtually every match.
Do you like Ultimate Fighting Championship? If so, ESPN+ is worth trying. You can stream UFC fight nights on the platform. Additionally, the app is the exclusive provider of all UFC PPV events.
PPV fights carry an additional cost, but those fight nights are only available on the ESPN+ platform.
Beyond PPV matches, you will find other UFC-related content on the app, from original programming to archives of the best UFC fights.
Fantasy Football is huge in the U.S., and the app does not disappoint if you want 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. 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.
*Related: Are you an avid NFL fan? Read our guide on the best ways to get NFL Network without a cable provider to get all of the in-studio shows and original content.
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
The platform is a massive resource if you play Fantasy Football.
ESPN+ is a good resource to use if you want to watch golf. The app streams over 4,000 hours of live coverage from 35 PGA Tour events.
This includes live coverage of The Masters and The PGA Championship. Plus, like other sports, ESPN+ also carries original content tied to golf.
Original programming is a consideration for many cord-cutters when choosing a streaming service.
ESPN+ does not disappoint when it comes to original content. The app has exclusive studio shows only found on the service.
Original shows you can watch include:
- Peyton’s Places
- NBA Rooks
- Why We Fight
- More Than an Athlete
- Stephen A’s World
If you’re a fan of the 30 for 30 documentaries, ESPN+ houses them in their on-demand library.
Other Sports You Can Watch on ESPN+
If the above programming is not enough to fulfill your sports needs, the app 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 platform doesn’t currently stream any live NBA games. Until the 2022 season, the app didn’t stream live NFL games.
That changed for the 2022 season, as it carried one exclusive game. Time will tell if they stream other games.
Is ESPN+ Good For Live Sports?
Depending on what you watch, ESPN+ can be a good choice for live sports. It’s an inexpensive service and does stream live events from the NHL, MLB, and college sports, to name a few.
However, you will be disappointed if you want live NBA games or NFL action. If the NFL is essential, consider NFL+ instead. Read our analysis of NFL+ to learn more about that service.
Lastly, you can watch most events on-demand after they stream live.
If you’re on the fence, it’s best to try the service for a month to see if it meets your needs.
Can I Watch Local Sports on ESPN+?
Getting access to local sports is essential for many fans. While ESPN+ is a terrific platform for a variety of live events, you will be disappointed by local coverage.
Local games are often blacked out, especially if they are airing on a regional sports network (RSN). A service like Bally Sports+ is better if you need these games.
If you don’t want a subscription service, an over-the-air antenna is your best choice to watch sports in your area. We use the Mohu Leaf, and it works great for our needs.
You can use the code FRUGALRULES10 to receive ten percent off your purchase.
If you want a broad range of live events, pairing an antenna with a subscription to ESPN+ is a good solution.
Why Is ESPN+ Asking for a TV Provider?
There is a lot of good content on ESPN+. However, to watch live ESPN channels, you still need a subscription to a cable or live TV streaming service.
If you select a show or event that’s currently airing on the sports network, the platform will ask you for a TV provider. Sign in with that information if you have one.
Otherwise, if you don’t, you won’t be able to watch the selected program or game.
Look and Feel
This service’s web and mobile interface have an intuitive look and feel. The platform has remained robust without being overwhelming as it has added more sports and features over the years.
When you launch the app, you will see seven tabs across the top that are justified to the left. These include:
- Schedule & Replays
- Support & FAQs
On the top far right, you will see four tabs, including:
To watch sporting events, click the Watch button. That will bring up a tile guide with available games or matches that are streaming live. However, these are not separated by sport.
By scrolling further down, you can choose content and events to watch by available leagues and sports.
Finally, you can scroll down to select featured episodes from original series.
At the bottom of the section, you can choose events by specific sport to watch.
Overall, the platform is intuitive. You can go to the account button in the top right corner to select your favorite teams and sports.
The streaming space has significant competition. Features are where apps attract more customers.
Here are a few features that set the ESPN app apart from other platforms.
Video quality is important for many streamers. The ESPN+ platform streams content at up to 1080p.
This does not mean that all live events will be at 1080p, as some will air in 720p. It would be nice if ESPN+ added 4K capabilities, but most streaming services offer it sparingly or charge more for it.
Additionally, the app doesn’t support Dolby Digital 5.1. The platform does support closed captions.
What Devices Are Compatible With ESPN+?
Compatible devices are an important feature for any streaming platform. Here are the supported devices for the ESPN+ app:
- Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire Tablet
- Android Phone, TV, and Tablet
- Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone
- Google Chromecast
- Oculus Go
- Portal TV
- Roku devices
- Samsung Smart TV
- Xfinity Flex and X1 TV Box
Essentially, if the device has a screen, you can likely watch content on the service.
If your family is like most families, they may not want to watch the same sporting event simultaneously. ESPN+ allows users to stream on three concurrent devices.
This makes them competitive with other services, including live ones like YouTube TV, which offer three simultaneous streams.
The app supports offline downloads if you want to watch content later or on the go. They allow you to download the same title on up to ten supported devices.
This is a nice feature not available on all streaming services.
A high-speed internet connection is necessary to watch anything on a streaming service. Not having one will greatly impact your viewing experience.
Here is what ESPN+ recommends for internet speed.
If you have multiple people streaming simultaneously, expect to need additional speed.
Read our guide on recommended internet speeds for streaming to see how the service compares to others.
Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a streaming service. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at ESPN+.
- Lots of live sporting events, including college athletics
- Growing library of original content
- Affordable way to watch sports without cable
- Ability to bundle with Hulu and Disney+
- Reliable streaming performance
- Supports offline downloads
- Sole option for UFC PPV events
- Not a replacement for ESPN
- No live NBA games
- Limited live NFL game coverage
- No free trial
Overall, ESPN+ is a good choice for streaming live sports. It won’t replace the parent channel, but it has a broad array of sporting events, including streaming rights exclusive to the service.
Ease of Use
Major Tier Sports Content
The platform is a good way to watch niche sports, watch loads of NHL content, and original programming at an affordable price.
✔️ Affordable way to watch exclusive sports programming
✔️ Live game coverage for most sports
✔️ Exclusive provider of UFC PPV events
✔️ Can stream on numerous devices
✔️ Can bundle with Hulu and Disney+
❌ Does not replace ESPN
❌ No live NBA games
❌ Limited live NFL action
❌ No free trial
Is ESPN+ Worth It?
The fear of losing access to live sports keeps many people from ditching cable. Thanks to apps like ESPN+, that should no longer be the case.
This app has loads of live games and original content, making it worth the low cost. While it doesn’t replace the live network, there’s a lot to like about ESPN+ that helps it stand on its own.
If you want to cut the cord on cable, what’s one thing that keeps you from doing so?
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.