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 exclusive content about the NFL, college football, and the NBA. Several years ago, the broadcast giant added ESPN+ as a part of that membership.
In this ESPN+ review, I’ll share my experience with the platform and why you may want to consider it if you’re a sports fan.
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.
The app will let you watch some sports without cable, but it’s not a complete replacement.
How Much Does it Cost?
An ESPN+ subscription costs a mere $9.99 per month. That’s not too bad for exclusive sports content. If you prefer to sign up on an annual basis, the price is $99.99 per year.
Regardless of your choice, there’s no contract, and you can cancel at any time.
There is no free trial, but given its affordable price, it’s worth trying to see if you like it.
As you may know, Disney owns the sports giant. Disney also owns Hulu and Disney Plus. They offer a special price of $13.99 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 sports programming for one low cost.
It saves you 25 percent versus buying each one separately.
Read our Disney+ review to learn more about that platform.
What is on the Platform?
Since the platform isn’t a replacement, you may ask yourself, “what do I get with ESPN+?”. 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. Here’s what you can watch.
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, the service 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. It doesn’t offer a lot of games from major conferences, but it’s still a good choice to stream college football without a contract.
*Related: Do you want to kill your cable bill, but not sure 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 15 different conferences. It’s also 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.
Fantasy Football is huge in the U.S., and the app 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.
*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
If you play Fantasy Football, the platform is a massive 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.
ESPN recently announced they signed a seven-year agreement with the NHL. As a part of the agreement, 75 national regular season games will air exclusively on ESPN+.
It will also simulcast exclusive coverage of the Stanley cup Final on ABC and the app.
*Related: Read our guide on how to watch ABC without cable here to learn the best options to get your favorite network shows.
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 soccer, 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 the service.
Are you a Tennis nut? The app 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 you want to investigate the app.
ESPN+ is the exclusive provider of all UFC pay-per-view fights. This means you receive access to all of the biggest fights.
PPV fights do carry an additional cost, but those fight nights are 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, 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 above is in addition to ESPN+ original programming, which is covered below.
One of my favorite parts of having a subscription is the original content and programming. This brings added value, especially if you don’t subscribe to cable or a streaming service.
Here are a few of the top ESPN+ original shows you can expect to receive:
- Peyton’s Places
- NBA Rooks
- Why We Fight
- More Than an Athlete
- Stephen A’s World
The above is a sampling of the original programming you can. My favorite part of the content on the platform is access to the entire 30 for 30 library.
How to Watch Content
Watching shows and events on the platform is simple. You subscribe to ESPN+ to receive access to content. Here are the steps you must take to watch:
- Download and open the app 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 username and password.
- Start watching content.
Upon completing the above process, you will see an ESPN+ tab while in the ESPN platform.
Like other service, you can view content through a variety of devices. Those include:
- 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 our ESPN+ account on the 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 app as an option to cut the cord, you will be disappointed. The platform 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 the app 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.
Why is ESPN+ Asking for a TV Provider?
There is a lot of good content on ESPN+, but 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. If you have one, you sign in with that information.
If you don’t, you won’t be able to watch the selected program or game.
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+ for $13.99 per month
❌ Does not replace ESPN
❌ No live NFL games, yet
If you’re a fan of sports like I am, ESPN+ is a welcome addition to your arsenal. At only $9.99 per month or a discounted $99.99 per year, you receive access to all its original programming and games the service offers.
While it doesn’t let you watch 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.
Like other services, 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?