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Over the past year, ESPN’s economic model has shifted, both from a broadcast and digital perspective. Now “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” is putting a larger emphasis on its extra subscription program, ESPN+. It's not supposed to be a replacement for cable, but it's a subscription add-on to ESPN that's quickly becoming a must-have for anyone who doesn't have cable and wants to watch ESPN.
If it seems right for you, there are three different subscription models. An ESPN+ subscription costs either $6 per month or $60 annually. While more expensive up front, the yearly subscription model saves you $12 per year. ESPN also offers occasional deals that bundle yearly ESPN+ subscriptions with UFC pay-per-views, so if you’re a fan of both, keep an eye out and you may be able to save a few bucks.
Also, if you want to watch ESPN+, the new Disney+ streaming service, and Hulu streaming, you can get all three for just $13 per month with the Disney+ Bundle. That's $5 less than you'd pay if you bought all three subscriptions separately.
If you determine that the service isn't meeting your expectations, you can cancel your subscription at any time. Watching live ESPN networks via cable, satellite, or a live TV streaming provider will still require a paid TV subscription. To enable live viewing, the app functions as a gatekeeper by asking users to sign in with their TV provider account. Take a look at this list if you're looking for a streaming TV service.
ESPN+ has also expanded to include ESPN Insider, a premium subscription to ESPN.com that grants access to “Insider” material such as unique commentary, fantasy sports content, and more. Today, a growing amount of information qualifies as "Insider" information, making ESPN+ an increasingly important service for sports fans, particularly if you follow ESPN's top analysts like Zach Lowe and Bill Barnwell. Subscribers also have exclusive access to particular sports content, events, and shows, among other things.
ESPN+ is a terrific investment if you want greater access to sports news, games, shows, documentaries, and more. Before you subscribe, here's what you should know.
Select live MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS events, as well as collegiate sports, PGA golf, Top Rank Boxing, and Grand Slam tennis matches, are available through the site. The United Soccer League, cricket, rugby, the Canadian Football League, the English Football League, and the UEFA Nations League are also available.
ESPN+ is also quickly becoming a soccer fan's best buddy. ESPN+ has a multiyear partnership with the FA Cup – the world's oldest domestic cup tournament — to watch English football events in the United States, in addition to the soccer programming listed above. When you sign up for ESPN+, you get access to the Bundesliga, Germany's best football league, which was previously $20 on Fox.
The ESPN app is available for Android smartphones, Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Smart TVs, Fire/Kindle tablets, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Roku, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Samsung Smart TVs, to name a few. As you can see, it's a quite extensive collection.
LG's WebOS and Vizio's SmartCast, for example, should be added to the list soon. For the time being, Vizio owners can access ESPN+ via their TV's built-in Chromecast capability. Except for the fact that you must be in the United States to view, this is a pretty infinite alternative. There are now no worldwide plans in place – which could change in the future.
ESPN+ will, of course, continue to evolve as a result of continual upgrades and new innovations. For the time being, you may get additional information about the service on the ESPN Media Zone website. Viewers with smartphones can also get the ESPN mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.
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The app gives you access to scores, news, sports radio, podcasts, an on-demand library, and certain games and programming not available on ESPN’s cable channels. Plus, there’s a condensed, digital version of the network’s popular SportsCenter roundup each day. ESPN+ is also the only place to find the new, digital version of ESPN’s NFL Prime Time.
It also enhances your existing sports subscriptions. If you happen to subscribe to another premium sports streaming service, like MLB.tv or NHL.tv, you’ll be able to access out-of-market games through the ESPN app.
Furthermore, ESPN owns exclusive rights to UFC pay-per-views, making ESPN+ the only place where you can stream the promotion’s biggest matches. Those events don’t all come free with an ESPN+ subscription, however. Fight Nights are included, but each PPV will cost an extra $60 on top of your existing subscription fees. Here’s where you can stay up to date with UFC results, scheduled fights, top fighters, and more.
In addition to live sports, ESPN+ also includes a wide variety of classic and original ESPN content. ESPN+ is home to the entire 30 for 30 documentary catalog, including hit series like The Last Dance, Long Gone Summer, and O.J Simpson: Made in America. Original content includes NBA Rooks, which follows NBA rookies in their first season; The Boardroom with KD, Kevin Durant’s show about the business side of sports; Peyton’s Places, Peyton Manning’s show discussing NFL history, current events, interviews, and more; Detail, a show that features elite athletes like Kobe Bryant, Daniel Cormier, Manning, and more breaking down game film as they would in the pros; and much more.
After hiring House of Highlights founder Omar Raja, ESPN also renewed its commitment to digital programming by renovating a 2,750-square-foot studio space dedicated to all things digital. Now, ESPN plans to air more than 500 live original shows across ESPN+ and other platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook.