ESPN+ Review

8

Great

Price 9 out of 10

Interface 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

Popular sports channel ESPN offers a streaming service to US customers which doesn’t require a cable contract. Known as ESPN+, this service provides live streaming for sports fanatics, plus a range of on-demand content. It can be subscribed to as part of a bundle with Disney+ and Hulu, or chosen as a standalone option. It is commonly used as a way to supplement other live sports subscriptions due to its competitive price.

There are a number of shows exclusive to ESPN, such as The Last Dance, which make this streaming service appealing. For people who want additional coverage of sports such as football, baseball, basketball and UFC events, this subscription is a solid choice.

ESPN is owned by Walt Disney, and the streaming service is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Communications. The content which features on the service is described as supplementing access to the core networks.

In March 2019, ESPN+ became the exclusive outlet for UFC PPV events. These can be purchased for an additional cost. The platform has over 7.6 million paying subscribers as of February 2020.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Provides exclusive sports archives. There are thousands of events available to watch again in the on-demand library, from MLB to NHL.

Watch top college sports. Whether you’re into football, basketball or lacrosse, college sports are streaming on ESPN+.

Watch events live. There are top events available such as UFC Fight Nights, Grand Slam tennis and PPV events.

Cons

Local team blackouts. If you want to watch a local team, this will not be possible on ESPN+. You will need to watch on local channels instead.

Billing issues. Some customers have experienced billing problems after cancelling a free trial and being charged.

Technical problems. Sometimes subscribers seek help from support after experiencing problems with the site or app.

Genres and channels

There is a generous selection of programming available to stream with ESPN+. For example, in the baseball department, there are over 180 MLB games per season, over 150 Little League World Series games and hundreds of college baseball games and tournaments.

With hockey, you’ll find over 180 games, over 350 college hockey games from conferences such as the ECAC, plus over 30 events from the IIHF World Championships.

Under the combat sports section, there is a deal with UFC in place where ESPN+ is the exclusive provider to fans for 12 UFC PPV events annually. There are 20 exclusive UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night events, preliminary fights for these events and more.

Meanwhile, there are over 40 exclusive fight events from top rank boxing and undercard bouts from all of the Top Rank on ESPN events. Another sector is coverage of the PFL, or Professional Fighters League.

With football, there are over 300 college games shown from conferences such as Big 12, Metro Atlantic and Ohio Valley. Soccer streams include over 2000 matches across a number of leagues – such as Serie A, The FA Cup and US Open Cup.

Basketball is also covered, as there are hundreds of games from NCAA men’s and women’s matches – conferences include Atlantic 10, Mid-American and Sun Belt. Plus, there are hundreds of FIBA games for streaming.

Grand Slam Tennis is included, with events such as US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. As for cricket, there are Test, ODI and T20 matches.

In the rugby world, ESPN+ provides access to over 140 Pro 14 Rugby matches per season. Meanwhile, there are over 100 SANZAAR matches, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, 18 Major League Rugby matches per season and college rugby.

With lacrosse, there are 158 FIL World Lacrosse Championships matches, Major League Lacrosse and college lacrosse. If you’re into Esports, there are over 240 League of Legends LCS events available.

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, there is also a highlights show called 30 for 30. Created as part of ESPN’s 30th anniversary celebration, this series looks at the sports events which took place between 1979 and 2009. 30 films were made by some of the best directors and producers in Hollywood. The titles are:

  • Kings Ransom
  • The Band That Wouldn’t Die
  • Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?
  • Muhammad and Larry
  • Without Bias
  • The Legend of Jimmy the Greek
  • The U
  • Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
  • Guru of Go
  • No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
  • Silly Little Game
  • Run Ricky Run
  • The 16th Man
  • Straight Outta LA
  • June 17th, 1994
  • The Two Escobars
  • The Birth of Big Air
  • Jordan Rides the Bus
  • Little Big Men
  • One Night in Vegas
  • Unmatched
  • The House of Steinbrenner
  • Into the Wind
  • Four Days in October
  • Once Brothers
  • Tim Richmond: To The Limit
  • Fernando Nation
  • Marion Jones: Press Pause
  • The Best That Never Was
  • Pony Excess

Top ESPN+ shows and movies

Detail – A sports analysis series with NBA champion Kobe Bryant breaking down performances and games in the NBA, WNBA and college basketball.

More Than an Athlete – A series which explores LeBron James and his journey towards becoming a sports legend.

Draft Academy – Focuses on prospects who will be a part of the NFL Draft, telling the stories of players who await their names being called.

Quest for the Stanley Cup – Take a look behind the scenes at the remaining four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NBA: Year One – Documents the experiences from the top six picks of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Boardroom – A series hosted by Jay Williams from ESPN, which looks at the business of sports. View conversations with athletes, entertainers and top executives about the issues impacting the game.

Duke Basketball:  Earn Everything – A series which looks at Duke and how the team prepares for the 2018 – 19 college basketball season.

Ariel & The Bad Guy with Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen – A weekly show lasting 30 minutes which focuses on the top stories, developments and upcoming fights.

Always Late with Katie Nolan – A late night comedy show with weekly episodes, which features Nolan’s view on the biggest headlines in sports. Games, guests and other segments also feature.

In The Crease – A feature-length documentary film which focuses on a teenage hockey team and their journey to win a national championship.

The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry – A fantasy football show which features conversation and debate. Various stats and charts feature, plus recommended benchings, ’trash talk’ and trade debates.

Training Days: Rolling with the Tide – A series comprising four parts which looks at the Alabama Crimson tide football team and their journey toward defending their national title.

Last Train To Russia – A 12 part series featuring Martin Ainstein at the helm. He looks at the World Cup host nation by visiting each of the 11 host cities, going from west to east on the Trans-Siberian railway.

Streaming library

When a user is logged into their ESPN Plus account on the ESPN app, they will be able to view the latest scores from a number of sports, plus a section which allows people to easily access their favourite sport. The ESPN Plus functionality serves as an extension of the main app. This means that sports news can be viewed, then content can be streamed. The bottom of the screen provides users with options such as Home, Scores, Sports, Listen and Watch. The Watch tab is where ESPN is loaded, and content is categorised into the different sports.

On the desktop version of the ESPN+ service, the layout is similar to that seen with many other streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime Video. The content is categorised into rows with sub headings such as Top Picks, UFC Fight Night Replays, 30 For 30 Spotlight and The Vault. Classic Bulls games are available, plus past UFC PPVs. For ‘best of’ sections, these are categorised according to sport. A nice touch is that the duration time of each title is shown in the main menu overview.

Titles available in the ESPN+ streaming library can be filtered in a variety of ways. The first option is to use the rows provided when browsing through the main menu. Alternatively, there is a menu bar along the top of the screen (on desktop) with options such as Featured, Originals, Browse and Schedule & Replays. There is also easy access to articles, tools, and support & FAQs.

Another option is to browse by sports. These include choices such as Football, Basketball, Mixed Martial Arts, Soccer, Baseball, Boxing, Ice Hockey, Esports, Tennis, Golf, Lacrosse, Swimming and Diving, Softball, Volleyball, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Rugby, Cricket and Auto Racing.

Subscribers have a function available to browse by league, too – with options including UFC, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Italian Serie A, MLS, NCAA Football, NCAA Men’s Basketball, NCAA Women’s Basketball, The Masters, Top Rank Boxing, Professional Fighters League, NBA G League, English League Championship, A-League, W-League, NCAA Men’s Lacrosse, NCAA Women’s Lacrosse, NCAA Men’s Hockey, NCAA Women’s Hockey and NCAA Wrestling.

Streaming quality

Most content on ESPN+ is not available in 4K. That said, the service recognises how increasing numbers of people are streaming in this quality, and they are presumably working on improving the streaming resolution for their content.

The network has some matches available in 4K, but these will not be available on the streaming service – just on the main network.

Generally speaking, people have reported watching the content on ESPN+ in 720p. It is recommended that people have an internet connection of 5Mbps or above to stream satisfactorily in this resolution.

Customer support

There is a help center available as part of the ESPN Plus service, which offers a searchable database of the most commonly asked questions. There is information on how to stream on compatible devices along the top, plus topics categorised into sections such as getting started, watching ESPN+, Disney bundle and UFC Fight Night.

If you want more support, there is live chat and phone assistance available. ESPN+ provides this support between 9am and 1pm ET, 7 days a week.

Free trial

There is not currently a free trial available with ESPN Plus. There used to be one, but it was scrapped as the service grew. However, there is a competitive monthly plan which can be cancelled at any time.

Plans and pricing

There are two plans available for the standalone ESPN Plus service. The first is the monthly plan, which is $4.99. Alternatively, subscribers can opt for the annual plan, which is $49.99. Both of these plans can be cancelled at any time, although once a set term has been paid for, the plan will expire once this term has ended.

Competitors

There are a number of sports based platforms which serve as streaming competitors for ESPN+. For example, there is MLB TV, NHL TV and a good sports selection on fuboTV. However, ESPN+ stands out due to offering an extensive collection of sports streaming options across the board, whereas competitors will typically be more limited.

For sports fanatics wanting the full experience, we recommend signing up for the core networks through a TV provider, then having ESPN Plus as an add-on for even more content. Some may find that having the core networks is enough, in which case a subscription to Sling TV, Hulu Live TV or AT&T TV Now will suffice. FuboTV has some other sports networks, but not ESPN, so ESPN fans will benefit more from one of these providers plus the ESPN+ streaming service.

In terms of what ESPN+ offers in itself as a standalone service, the niche content means that it can’t be found anywhere else. The unique blend of exclusive programming and coverage of matches for a number of popular sports – plus exclusive access to UFC PPV events – means that the small monthly price will be worth it for many sports fans.

Is ESPN+ worth it?

ESPN+ is seen by many sports fans as a useful add-on to their existing ESPN access, as it provides supplementary sports coverage. It’s easy to gain access to the service if you’re an existing ESPN customer. The price is good for fans who want to watch as much sports content as possible, as well as replays and highlights.

Considering the small monthly or annual cost, subscribers will definitely get a lot of value for their money. This is because, once users begin to navigate the main menu, they will see just how extensive the content library is. Whether they browse by sport, league, look through The Vault, explore the 30 For 30 collection or use the categories provided as the default, there are hours of entertainment to be had.

What’s more, the app version of this streaming service integrates seamlessly with the basic ESPN free app. This means there is no need to download any additional software to experience the service on the go. Overall, sports fans are likely to get a lot out of this service.

FAQ

How to cancel my ESPN+ subscription
  1. Navigate to the ESPN+ website.
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Click on your profile icon.
  4. Navigate to Manage my ESPN+ subscription.
  5. Click on Manage under your ESPN+ subscription card.
  6. Click on Cancel Subscription.
  7. Confirm your selection.
How to login to my ESPN+ account

  1. Navigate to the ESPN website.
  2. Alternatively, download the app.
  3. Click on the profile icon in the top right corner.
  4. Click on Log In.
  5. Enter your email address and password.
  6. Start streaming.
How to delete my watch history on ESPN+

This function does not currently seem to be available on the platform.

How to restart my ESPN+ subscription later


You can cancel your ESPN+ subscription and sign up again in the future by simply signing back in using your old account details. You will need to select a payment plan again, and some data may be lost depending on how long ago you cancelled your last plan.

How to get a refund on ESPN+?

ESPN+, like most streaming services, will not issue a refund on a subscription that has been made and has been partly used. Instead, by cancelling a subscription, you will have the plan expire when it would have been set to renew. To request a refund, speak with a customer service agent.

Are there any good alternatives to ESPN+?

FuboTV has a number of sports channels, as do many live TV streaming services. For on-demand programming, ESPN+ is probably one of the best choices, and you will not be able to find the exclusive programming anywhere else.

Can I use my ESPN+ account in another country?

ESPN+ will only be functional in the countries which have rolled out this service. Downloaded content can be viewed offline in any location.

How to sign up to ESPN+
  1. Navigate to the ESPN+ website.
  2. Click on the yellow Sign Up Now button.
  3. Enter your first name, last name, email address and a password.
  4. Click on Sign Up.
  5. Choose a plan – monthly or annual.
  6. Enter your payment details.
  7. Start watching!

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