The way people watch TV is changing quickly. Even when it comes to sports, more people are choosing cable-alternatives instead of paying a fortune for satellite or cable TV subscriptions. The industry is responding, and more services are popping up. A new one that may interest sports fans is ESPN+. But what is ESPN+, and is it worth paying for? Find out in our ESPN+ review.
ESPN+ is offered by ESPN itself, and presents a good value for sports fans – particularly for fans of soccer, UFC, golf and baseball. Learn more about ESPN+ programming in the review below.
What is ESPN+?
ESPN+ is a standalone sports streaming service offered directly by ESPN. It does not require a cable or satellite subscription to use.
For $4.99 per month, ESPN+ subscribers get access to a limited selection of live sports broadcasts, plus an on-demand library of original programming, like the 30 for 30 series.
To be clear: ESPN+ does not give you a true ESPN live stream. Most “big ticket” sporting events, like NBA and NFL games, are NOT included on ESPN+. Instead, an ESPN+ subscription is meant to complement other access to live sports – it’s not really intended to be your sole source of live sports coverage.
So you won’t find Monday Night Football, NBA games, or college football games on ESPN+. What you will find is a solid selection of less-popular sports, a ton of UFC fights, as well as some MLB, golf and soccer coverage. We’ll explain more about what you can watch with this service further down in this ESPN+ review.
ESPN+ Review At-A-Glance
Here are the basics of this service:
- $4.99 per month
- No contract
- Watch select live sporting events
- Get soccer, UFC, select MLB games, some college sports, golf and more LIVE
- Doesn’t require cable (standalone service)
- Works over the internet
- On-demand selection of original programming
In essence, ESPN+ is primarily meant as a supplement to other sources of sports. For most sports fans, the service won’t provide a complete streaming solution. That said, it’s only $5 a month!
Some sports definitely receive better coverage than others. Fans of soccer, UFC, golf and lower-tier college sports will get a lot of value from an ESPN+ subscription.
At a glance, here’s what we think about ESPN+: It’s absolutely worth $5/mo for most sports fans. However, it most likely won’t be enough to serve as the only way you watch sports. Let’s learn more in our full ESPN Plus review.
What is ESPN+ offering in terms of features? Here’s the rundown:
Select Live Sports – Subscribers can access some live sporting events without cable using ESPN+. Enjoy select games from leagues including MLB, MLS, NHL, UEFA Nations League, Serie A, US Open, Wimbledon, select college sports and more. Blackouts and restrictions may apply. See the section below for further details.
Original Programming – ESPN+ also gives you access to on-demand original programming. Series like 30 for 30, E: 60 and O.J.: Made in America are all available.
ESPN+ Exclusives – The service also offers some content that’s exclusive to ESPN+. This includes ESPN FC, Draft Academy, Kobe: Detail and more.
Exclusive Sports Coverage – ESPN+ also has some exclusive coverage of select sporting events. Most notably, ESPN+ is now the exclusive home of all UFC pay-per-views. If you like to watch the big UFC fights, ESPN+ is now your only option. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for the PPVs separately, in addition to your ESPN+ subscription.
Global Sports – ESPN+ gives you access to leagues and teams that you might not normally see on TV. Get live access to select matches from FIBA basketball, EFL and UEFA Nations Cup soccer, CFL football, rugby, cricket and more.
Mobile Viewing – You can use ESPN+ to watch live sports from anywhere in the United States. Watch on your mobile phone, tablet or other supported device. Blackouts may apply.
Pause & Rewind – Never miss a moment with built-in pause & rewind functionality for live games. You can even catch full-game replays on-demand after the live broadcast!
For a list of sports you can watch on ESPN+, see the section below.
ESPN+ Live Sports Coverage
Here are the sports you can watch on ESPN+. Keep in mind that blackouts can apply to some games, particularly for local teams.
Soccer – Select matches from MLS, Serie A, UEFA Nations League, and EFL.
- Of all the sports, soccer gets the most coverage. ESPN+ absorbed the old MLS Live service, and also offers other world soccer leagues. It’s a great deal for soccer fans.
- All MLS out-of-market games are covered (subject to blackouts)
- International coverage of select Serie A, UEFA and EFL games
College Sports – Select games of college level football, basketball, lacrosse and more
- College sports coverage is decent on ESPN+, as long as you don’t follow Power Five conference teams
- Mostly lower-tier conferences are covered, including America East, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, etc.
UFC – All UFC PPV fights are now exclusively on ESPN+ – and you’ll also get many fight nights
- UFC coverage on ESPN+ is excellent. In fact, we rank it as the best way to watch UFC online
- ESPN+ is now the ONLY place to get UFC pay-per-views – you can’t even get them through cable providers any more
- In addition to PPVs, ESPN+ also covers tons of UFC Fight Nights, original UFC-based shows, and more
Baseball – Select games from MLB (1 random game per day during baseball season)
Basketball – Select games from FIBA basketball
Football – Select games from CFL Football and select college football teams
Tennis – Select matches from Wimbledon, Australian Open, and US Open
Hockey – Select games from the NHL (1 game per day during hockey season)
Rugby – Select matches from Sevens Series Rugby, European Champions Rugby and more
Boxing – Select matches from Top Rank Boxing and more
Golf – Select coverage of the PGA tour and more
Overall, the coverage of live sports on ESPN+ is somewhat limited, but constantly expanding. This is to be expected for a $5 service, but still – don’t expect it to replace the need for more costly subscriptions.
The sports covered on ESPN+ are mostly ones that are less popular among most American customers. That means NFL and NBA are completely off the table, and MLB is limited to one random game per day.
The big exception is UFC. ESPN+ is a fantastic way to watch UFC online – in fact, it’s the only way when it comes to title fights.
There are also some other areas where ESPN+ shines. Soccer fans will enjoy a wide range of coverage of both domestic and international games. College sports fans who follow less-popular teams will also find a lot of value on ESPN+. And anyone who enjoys lesser-followed sports like rugby and cricket may find the $5/mo price tag well worth it.
UFC on ESPN+
If you’re a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Challenge, better known as UFC, then ESPN+ is pretty much essential.
ESPN+ is the exclusive home to all UFC pay-per-view fights, which includes all the biggest fights of the year. Exclusive, as in you can’t get these fights ANYWHERE else, not even via cable providers. Keep in mind that these PPVs will cost extra, on top of your ESPN+ subscription.
But beyond that, ESPN+ also shines for UFC fans by offering:
- Tons of UFC Fight Nights (included in the ESPN+ cost of $4.99/mo)
- Exclusive UFC Original shows
- Archives with “best of the UFC” highlights
- Exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more
- The only place to buy UFC PPVs for the big fights
If you’re a UFC fan, you’re definitely going to want to sign up for ESPN+!
ESPN+ works on all the best streaming devices, so you shouldn’t have any issue using it. Here’s the full list of ESPN+ devices:
Streaming players, including Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku (ESPN+ Roku Smart TV compatibility is also available)
Mobile devices, including iOS and Android phones/tablets
Gaming consoles, including Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (ESPN+ PS4 support was recently added) – plus Oculus Go VR
Smart TVs, from Roku and Samsung
ESPN+ covers all the most important devices – and we expect their device compatibility to continually expand as the service grows.
ESPN+ costs just $4.99 per month.
You can also get a slightly discounted package for $49.99 for 12 months, saving you about $10 per year.
There’s no contract or commitment, so you can cancel any time. You can easily cancel ESPN+ through your online account or by contacting support.
While ESPN+ is meant mostly as a supplementary program to other sources of live sports, the service doesn’t actually require any other subscription. You don’t have to be a cable or streaming service subscriber in order to use ESPN+. All you need is an internet connection and your ESPN+ subscription. With that said, if you’re a sports fan you’ll probably want another way to watch sports online, as ESPN+ alone doesn’t provide enough coverage to satisfy most sports fans.
ESPN Plus for Cord-Cutters
ESPN Plus is meant to be used in addition to normal means to watch sports, like cable or satellite. But how does ESPN+ measure up for cord-cutters?
It’s a difficult question.
If you’re expecting ESPN+ to be a complete way to watch sports online, think again. Coverage is definitely limited, and you won’t find many of the most popular sporting events on this service.
Then again, if you just want access to a good selection of many different sports, and don’t want to spend a fortune, ESPN+ is great.
For $5 a month, the value of this service really can’t be beat. It’s absolutely worth the cost.
If you’ve cut the cord and just want some sports coverage, ESPN+ is a great option – but far from a complete one.
If you sign up for ESPN+ and find yourself craving more, you might consider checking out a streaming service like fuboTV or Hulu with Live TV, which will provide a LOT more mainstream live sporting events.
ESPN+ Frequently Asked Questions
How do I watch ESPN+?
Wondering how to watch ESPN+ once you’ve subscribed? It’s easy! Subscribers just log on to the ESPN+ app like they would choose any other app or channel. Once it’s open you can watch any available live or on-demand programming.
Can you watch ESPN+ on DIRECTV, Xfinity, Dish or other providers?
ESPN+ is a standalone service. This means that it’s sold on its own, without cable/satellite providers playing as a middle man. This also means that you cannot watch ESPN+ on Dish, Xfinity or any other cable provider. You can only get ESPN+ from ESPN+ itself – click here to sign up on their website. Once you’re signed up, you can watch ESPN+ on most streaming devices, computers, etc.
What channel is ESPN+ on?
Trick question! ESPN+ is not a channel, but actually its own service. You need to subscribe to ESPN+ separately in order to watch it. If you see a sports schedule and ESPN+ is listed as the “channel” where the event will air, that means you’ll need to be an ESPN+ subscriber in order to watch it.
How much is ESPN+?
ESPN+ costs $4.99 a month, with no contract. You can cancel any time.
How do I cancel ESPN+?
Wondering how to cancel ESPN+? It’s quite easy, and can be done online. Simply log into your account here, sign in, and click the “manage subscription” link. From there, you will see a “cancel membership” option. You will be asked to confirm the cancellation – and that’s it! You will not be billed any longer. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or call Customer Support at 1(800) 727-1800.
Can I watch on multiple devices at once?
Yes, you are allowed to access up to 3 simultaneous streams at the same time. This could allow you to share with household members easily.
Is ESPN+ available outside the United States?
Not currently, no. At this time, ESPN+ is exclusive to the US. We do expect that the service will eventually expand, however.
Is ESPN+ available through the ESPN app?
Yes, it is. If you are a ESPN+ subscriber, you will see ESPN+ content in the normal ESPN app. The ESPN+ content will be marked with a gold ESPN+ badge.
Is ESPN+ the same as having ESPN?
No, not at all. ESPN the cable channel covers many of the most important sporting events, and constantly airs coverage of sports. Other ESPN-owned channels, like ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, etc. provide additional coverage. Having an ESPN+ subscription does NOT give you access to any of these channels. Instead, you get a limited selection of live sports and on-demand content to watch.
Is ESPN+ Worth It?
Overall, how would we wrap up this ESPN+ review? Is ESPN+ worth it?
Well, considering it’s $5 per month, a lot of sports fans will find good value in it.
It’s particularly valuable for fans of UFC, soccer, college sports from less popular conferences, and niche sports like rugby, cricket, and lacrosse.
For UFC fans, it’s pretty much a must-have, as it’s the only place to get UFC PPVs, and a great place to get the free Fight Nights as well.
That said, there’s limited mainstream sports coverage. You won’t find NBA or NFL games covered, and MLB is very limited.
In the end – is it worth $5 a month? Absolutely.
Can it be used as your primary source of sports coverage? Probably not. ESPN+ is definitely meant to be a supplement to other sports coverage.