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ESPN+ Review 2021: Price, Sports, and More

ESPN+ is a sports-content-packed addition to, but not necessarily a streaming replacement for, ESPN. Let CableTV.com give you the expert rundown.

Best for sports (on-demand streaming)

Price: $6.99/mo.
Features: Live sports, on-demand ESPN content, and ESPN+ originals

Update July 26, 2021: As of Aug. 13, 2021, the monthly subscription price for ESPN+ will go up from $5.99 to $6.99. Prices listed in this review reflect that rate increase.

Is ESPN+ good?

ESPN+, an on-demand sports streaming service that also features live events, is good if you already have ESPN through cable, satellite, or live streaming TV—on its own, though, ESPN+ might not satisfy all sports fans. The emphasis of ESPN+ is on the “+” part: It’s a feature-packed addition to, but not a streaming replacement for, ESPN.

That said, ESPN+ does give fans of soccer, baseball, hockey, UFC MMA, boxing, golf, and college sports—and, to a lesser extent, football and basketball—a whole lot of live sports action for under seven bucks a month. There’s also access to ESPN’s deep bench of award-winning original shows and films.

Just don’t expect to see, brace yourself, SportsCenter or other popular ESPN shows without a cable login. ESPN+ is best for sports fans who already get ESPN through a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming service. As they say, teamwork makes the (streaming) dream work.

ESPN+ pros and cons

Pros

  • Inexpensive pricing
  • Rich on-demand library
  • Plenty of live soccer, MMA, and college sports

Cons

  • Limited NFL and NBA games
  • Limited popular ESPN shows
  • Regional blackouts

More interested in getting classic ESPN?

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ESPN+ deals and promotions

ESPN+ can get even cheaper than $6.99 a month. By subscribing for a full year at $69.99, you can save $13.89 annually over the month-to-month rate.

You can also team up ESPN+ with Hulu and Disney+. This bundle will cost $13.99 per month, for a monthly savings of $5.98 compared to getting the services separately.

ESPN+ plans and pricing

Plan
ESPN+
Price Editorial rating Streams Video Details
$6.99 4.2/5 5 1080p View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

We’d recommend a live TV streaming service to go with your ESPN+, like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, or Vidgo, all of which carry regular ESPN. The only major live TV streaming service that doesn’t carry ESPN is fuboTV, FYI.

ESPN+ vs. the competition

Price Editorial rating Streams Video Details
$6.99/mo. 4.2/5 5 1080p View plans
$8.99–$17.99/mo. 4.3/5 1–4 1080p, 4K View plans
$5.99–$11.99/mo. 4.2/5 2 1080p, 4K View plans
$8.99–$11.99/mo. 4.2/5 3 1080p, 4K View plans
$6.99/mo. 4.6/5 4 1080p, 4K View plans
$14.99/mo. 4.5/5 3 1080p, 4K View plans
Free–$9.99/mo. 4.3/5 3 1080p, 4K View plans
$4.99–$9.99/mo. 4.0/5 3 1080p View plans
$4.99/mo. 3.9/5 6 1080p, 4K View plans
$4.99–$6.99/mo. 4.0/5 4 1080p, 4K View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

ESPN+ is different from other on-demand streaming services in that it’s strictly sports, and it also features live events. The others dabble in sports (like Prime Video’s exclusive-to-streaming Thursday Night Football deal with the NFL), but ESPN+ is all about that ballin’ life.

As mentioned previously, ESPN+ works best in tandem with access to ESPN through a cable (like Xfinity or Spectrum), satellite (like DIRECTV or DISH), or live TV streaming provider (like YouTube TV or Hulu+ Live TV).

ESPN+ on-demand shows and movies

For sports geeks who want to dig in further than just live events, ESPN+’s rich on-demand archives would make a solid case for being the “Netflix for sports”—if rival streamer fuboTV hadn’t already claimed the term.

The entirety of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series can be found here, in addition to the E:60 sports-mag show and ESPN films like the Oscar-winning O.J.: Made in America.

But you can’t watch ESPN staples like SportsCenter, Around the Horn, or Pardon the Interruption without a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider login. The same goes for Monday Night Football and NBA Friday.

ESPN+ doesn’t feature just ESPN leftovers—like every other upstart platform, ESPN+ also produces original streaming content.

ESPN+ original shows and documentaries

  • 30 for 30 film series
  • 30 for 30 Shorts
  • Abby’s Places
  • After Tuf
  • Always Late with Katie Nolan
  • America’s Caddy
  • Backstory with Don Van Natta Jr.
  • Bart & Hahn
  • Bettor Days
  • The Chael Sonnen Show
  • Chiney & Golic Jr.
  • College Football 150
  • Detail
  • E:60
  • ESPN FC
  • The Fantasy Show
  • Fútbol Americas
  • Greeny
  • The Harder Way
  • In the Crease
  • Inside the College Football Playoff
  • MLS Review
  • NFL Primetime
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • Our Time: Oklahoma State
  • Peyton’s Places
  • PFL Presents: The Randy Couture Story
  • Quest for the Stanley Cup
  • Saturdays in the South
  • SportsNation
  • Stephen A’s World
  • The Bracketology Show
  • The Max Kellerman Show
  • The Ultimate Fighter
  • Up Close
  • Why Not Us: North Carolina Central Basketball

ESPN+ live sports

The ESPN+ subscription gives you access to thousands of live college games (ESPN+ has streamed 100 college football games during recent seasons), as well as live boxing, MMA, golf, tennis, cricket, lacrosse, rugby, and more.

You can also access MLB and NHL regular-season games through ESPN+. Soccer fans, however, are the big winners here, with live access to the entire out-of-market MLS season—cue the vuvuzelas!

But, you can’t win ‘em all: As we said, NFL and NBA live games can’t be viewed on ESPN+ without an ESPN login. It’s not like football and basketball are all that popular, right?

Oh, and regional blackouts on certain local MLB and NHL games apply to ESPN+ just as they do to ESPN proper. Steee-rike!

ESPN+ channel add-ons

Like most of the best streaming services, ESPN+ offers a seven-day free trial so you can take it for a spin before committing. It also offers a couple of add-on packages for even more content—specifically, baseball and hockey:

  • MLB.TV ($24.99/mo.)
  • NHL.TV ($24.99/mo.)

Also, the mixed martial arts giant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has negotiated a multi-year deal with ESPN+ to stream pay-per-view matches at an additional $70 per event.

Combine ESPN+ with another service

If ESPN+ doesn’t give you everything you want, try pairing it with another streaming service to fill in the blanks—you’ll probably still save money over a cable or satellite subscription.

Streaming service
YouTube TV
Hulu + Live TV
Vidgo
Price What you get Details
$64.99/mo. Over 100 live TV channels, including ESPN, plus an unlimited cloud DVR. View YouTube TV plans
$64.99–$70.99/mo. 70+ live TV channels, including ESPN, and access to Hulu original content. View Hulu + Live TV plans
$55.00/mo. 95+ live TV channels, including ESPN, plus Social TV chat features. View Vidgo plans

ESPN+ specs and features

Simultaneous streams

Plan
ESPN+
Streams
5

ESPN+ allows up to five—count ‘em, five—simultaneous streams. That’s more streams than almost every other streaming service, which is great news if your household is full of sports fans.

Just make sure your internet connection can keep up. As with any other streaming service, the amount of buffering and pixelation you’ll experience with ESPN+ depends mostly on your internet connection.

A note on internet: For live TV streaming, anything less than 25 Mbps of internet speed will probably result in missed plays and screaming at your screen—more screaming than usual, that is. If your connection is dragging, it might be time to trade up to a new internet provider.

Compatible devices

Device
Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV
Android phones, tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Echo Show
iPhone, iPad
LG TVs (select models)
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD Pro TV
Oculus Go
PC, Mac web browsers
PlayStation 4, 5
Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV
Samsung TVs (select models)
TiVo Stream
Wii
Xbox One
Xfinity Flex, X1
ESPN+

Data effective as of post date.

Currently, there’s no dedicated ESPN+ app. The service resides within the ESPN app and at ESPN.com. Just look for the gold “E+” tab.

You can purchase an ESPN+ subscription through either the app or the website. After that, you’ll be prompted to create a new account or log in with an already established ESPN account.

Video and audio quality

ESPN+ streams in 1080p HD at 60 frames per second, which is the tech way of saying the HD looks as sharp as Netflix, Hulu, and most upper-tier streaming services. For example, if your local sports bar switched from satellite ESPN to streaming ESPN+ between hot wing orders, you probably wouldn’t notice the picture difference.

Audio-wise, ESPN+ streams in standard 2.0 stereo. Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo, like 4K Ultra HD video, isn’t yet available from the service—not even those mountains of Disney money can make that big of an update happen overnight.

Final take: Is ESPN+ worth it?

If you’re a sports fan looking to supercharge your ESPN experience, ESPN+ is a content-stuffed teammate for your existing ESPN-carrying cable, satellite, or live TV streaming service. ESPN+ gives you plenty to watch as a standalone streamer, but it really shines when paired up with ESPN proper.

Soccer, MMA, and college sports fans would especially be wise to check out ESPN+ before Disney realizes how much action it’s giving away for $6.99 a month.

Methodology

Our experts employed hours of hands-on testing and crunched the numbers, rating ESPN+ on value, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we matched up streaming services head to head to give a clearer picture of their strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

ESPN+ FAQ

Can you watch live games on ESPN+?

ESPN+ carries live soccer, baseball, hockey, boxing, MMA, golf, tennis, cricket, lacrosse, rugby, and more events. Some NFL, NBA, and other pro sports games stream live via ESPN, but you’ll need a login from your cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider to access them.

ESPN+ also features live UFC pay-per-view events, which cost extra.

What channels do you get with ESPN+?

If you have a login from your cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider, you can access these channels through ESPN+:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • ESPN Deportes
  • ESPN PPV
  • AAC Network
  • SEC Network
  • Big 12 Now
  • Longhorn Network

Can you watch Monday Night Football on ESPN+?

ESPN shows like Monday Night Football and SportsCenter aren’t available through an ESPN+ standalone subscription. To watch them and other exclusive-to-ESPN events and shows on ESPN+, you’ll need login credentials from your cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider that carries ESPN.