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Streaming has largely overtaken cable and satellite as the preferred method to watch movies and TV shows at your leisure. Low price points and the ability to watch on the go are primary reasons for the migration, but one sector has largely resisted any such paradigm shift — professional sports.
If you’re a sports fan, you might be shelling out for traditional cable just to watch your favorite team. Hefty deals between sports leagues and TV networks have prevented services like Netflix from streaming games, but ESPN now has a low-cost service that should satiate many sports fans’ appetites.
Updated on 1/22/2021 by Steven Cohen: This article has been updated with details for the latest UFC PPV fight.
ESPN+ is a streaming subscription service that’s considered a complement to existing ESPN content, not technically a separate platform. Think of it as an add-on to the standard ESPN app with live games, exclusive on-demand videos, and access to what was formerly known as ESPN Insider.
Previously, ESPN Insider offered subscribers exclusive written articles for a monthly $4.99 fee. ESPN decided to add video to the mix and created ESPN+ for a similar price, giving subscribers access to stories, live streaming, and on-demand videos.
What’s included with ESPN+?
ESPN+ includes a bevy of exclusive video content from live games to on-demand shows and exclusive stories. Unfortunately, the live games come with commercials — just like regular TV.
Subscribers can watch live games from the MLB, NHL, and MLS when their seasons are active; there are no live NBA or NFL games. There’s also PGA golf, UFC, college football, international soccer, and tennis. You can read more details on how to watch Major League Baseball on ESPN+ and other services here.
In addition to games, ESPN+ also features original shows, including in-depth game recaps and analyses hosted by Peyton Manning and Daniel Cormier, and a shorter version of “NFL Primetime.” Documentary programs, like “30 for 30,” as well as full replays of historic NFL games are also available to stream on-demand.
Does ESPN+ offer UFC PPV and UFC Fight Night events?
If you’re a fan of UFC or boxing, ESPN+ often offers exclusive pay-per-view (PPV) matches so you’ll get even more content from the service. The PPV events cost $69.99 for existing subscribers. ESPN+ also offers a special discounted bundle for new subscribers that includes a one-year membership and one PPV event for $89.98.
What’s not included with ESPN+?
ESPN+ is technically separate from ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNews, so a subscription will not grant you access to live games being broadcast on those networks, including any live games during Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Baseball. That said, MLB games are still available to be streamed.
New docuseries airing on ESPN, like “The Last Dance,” are also not included with a subscription. With that said, programs like this could be added to the ESPN+ library at a later date.
Your ESPN+ account is not the same as a cable login with access to the ESPN networks, so there’s no way of getting around it either.
How much does ESPN+ cost?
An ESPN+ subscription will run you $5.99 per month, or $59.99 annually. If you do the math, this means that an annual plan will save you about $12 a year compared to paying for 12 months with the month-to-month plan.
ESPN+ originally cost $4.99 a month or $49.99 annually when it first launched. The monthly price was increased to $5.99 on August 12, 2020, and the annual price was increased to $59.99 on January 8, 2021. Existing members who signed up for the $4.99 plan will continue to pay that price for at least one year. Existing annual subscribers will be able to renew their plans for $49.99 until at least March 2, 2021.
If you’re looking for even more streaming content, there’s also a combo package that bundles ESPN+ with Hulu and the Disney Plus streaming service for just $12.99 per month — a $6 savings each month compared to getting all three services separately. Existing ESPN+ members can even upgrade to the bundle without having to cancel their current subscription. You can upgrade here.
Where can I watch ESPN+?
Instead of launching a separate app, all the ESPN+ content is unlocked in the ESPN app once you subscribe. The app is available on virtually every platform you can imagine — phones, tablets, laptops, Roku players, Fire TV products, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, and Samsung smart TVs.
You can also stream on up to three devices simultaneously with one account.
How do I sign up for ESPN+?
Head over to the ESPN+ website and create an account, or open your existing ESPN account and you’ll be prompted to sign up.
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