MLS Live on ESPN Plus

ESPN+ is home to every out-of-market MLS game, so we spent dozens of hours researching and testing how it compares to its competition and how blackout restrictions apply.

MLS Live on ESPN+

Price: $6.99/mo. or $69.99/yr.

Free trial: N/A

MLS content: Out-of-market MLS games and exclusive studio shows

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

ESPN+ is the best streaming service for Major League Soccer (MLS) fans. Home to MLS Live, the league’s out-of-market streaming hub, ESPN+ offers up to 350 out-of-market MLS matchups each season for only $6.99 a month.

All you need to do is subscribe to ESPN+, and then you’ll have instant access to all current MLS Live content, including studio shows and documentary series. You’ll also get thousands of live events from a variety of other sports leagues, making ESPN+ a must-have for both hardcore MLS fans and casual sports enthusiasts.

Keep scrolling to learn everything ESPN+ offers when it comes to MLS.

Pros

  • Inexpensive pricing
  • Live out-of-market MLS matches
  • Exclusive MLS and soccer-related programming

Cons

  • Regional blackouts
  • No home and away broadcast feeds
  • No traditional ESPN access included

Is ESPN Plus worth it for MLS fans?

ESPN+ is perfect for MLS fans looking for out-of-market access. With up to 350 live games available each season, the $6.99-a-month streaming service is an inexpensive way to watch a majority of the MLS regular season.

The service is also home to several other prominent soccer leagues, such as La Liga and the German Bundesliga. It even features every game of the USL Championship, USL League One, and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, making ESPN+ a must-have for any fan of US club soccer.

A screenshot of the ESPN Plus media player showing an MLS Live match between the Houston Dash and Real Salt Lake.
As seen on a Google Chrome web browser, ESPN+ displays a bare-bones media player while streaming MLS Live matches.

As an out-of-market viewing option, the biggest drawback to ESPN+ is that you’ll run into blackout restrictions when trying to watch your local MLS team live. This makes the service more beneficial to fans of non-local teams but also a great option for anyone looking to follow the league as a whole.

Pro tip: Check out the MLS TV and streaming schedule to see which specific channels will air upcoming MLS games. If a local home or away channel is listed and available in your area, you won’t be able to watch that game live on ESPN+.

Another disadvantage is that MLS Live on ESPN+ doesn’t have the same kinds of immersive features seen in other out-of-market sports packages. While NBA League Pass and MLB.TV allow you to switch between home and away broadcast feeds, MLS Live doesn’t have this capability. There are also no live in-game statistical overlays to view for those of us who enjoy the analytical side of soccer.

Ultimately, MLS Live on ESPN+ is ideal for cord-cutters who want to watch non-local teams. However, the streaming service should not be confused with MLS DIRECT KICK™, an alternate out-of-market package for cable and satellite TV subscribers. We’ll explain more about that in our comparison section.

MLS content on ESPN Plus

ESPN+ is home to a lot of MLS games. Depending on local blackout restrictions, you’ll get up to 350 live MLS regular season games through ESPN+. That’s just under 74% of all 476 MLS regular season games taking place this year.

In addition to watching live out-of-market games, you can also catch them on demand throughout the season. Select games from previous seasons are also available to watch if you want to take a trip down memory lane.

The MLS Live on ESPN Plus home screen displays rows of replays and upcoming matches.
The MLS Live on ESPN+ home screen as seen on a Google Chrome web browser.

Besides games, ESPN+ also features exclusive studio shows and documentaries dedicated to soccer. The following programs are specifically geared towards MLS fans:

  • ESPN FC
  • Fútbol Americas
  • MLS Review
  • We Are LAFC

We enjoy MLS Review the most because the half-hour recap show highlights every MLS match from the week regardless of blackouts. It’s the best way to catch every major golazo without sifting through all of social media.

MLS Live vs. MLS Direct Kick

Service Price Games Video Details
ESPN+ $6.99/mo. or $69.99/yr. ~350/season 720p, 1080p View plan
MLS DIRECT KICK $89.00/yr.* ~350/season 720p, 1080p View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Price varies based on cable or satellite TV provider.

MLS Live on ESPN+ isn’t the only way to watch out-of-market MLS games. MLS DIRECT KICK ($89.00 a year) is an add-on option for cable and satellite TV subscribers who want out-of-market access without leaving their TV provider’s interface.

Like ESPN+’s MLS Live, MLS DIRECT KICK has up to 350 out-of-market MLS games per season. But the add-on doesn’t come with the thousands of additional live events and on-demand original content that ESPN+ has to offer.

MLS DIRECT KICK also costs almost $20 more per year than a yearly subscription to ESPN+. But that price may vary depending on which TV provider you have. Plus, as we explain in the next section, the right cable or satellite plan could also get you the most locally televised games.

Other options for watching MLS

Because ESPN+ covers only out-of-market MLS games, you’ll need an additional TV plan to watch locally and nationally televised games—including the MLS All-Star Game, the MLS Playoffs, and the MLS Cup Final.

We outline more ways to enhance your ESPN+ experience on our ESPN+ bundles page. There, you’ll find the best live TV streaming services to pair ESPN+ with, like Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV.

Channel lineup

In the table below, we’ve outlined every national MLS channel and the number of regular season games each will air during the 2022 season.

MLS channel Regular season games
ABC 10
FOX 7
FOX Deportes 34
FS1 27
ESPN 23
ESPN2 1
ESPN Deportes 34
TUDN 32
UniMás 18
Univision 14

Every game that airs on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 will also air on ESPN Deportes with Spanish-language coverage. Similarly, every match on FOX and FS1 will have a Spanish-language simulcast on FOX Deportes.

Games that air on TUDN, UniMás, and Univision will feature secondary audio programming (SAP), allowing viewers to toggle between English- and Spanish-language commentary. Additionally, select Univision games will stream on Twitter with English-language coverage.

Locally televised MLS games

If you live within the broadcasting region of an MLS team, you’ll need a TV plan that includes your regional sports network (RSN) to watch that team’s non-nationally televised games.

Bally Sports and AT&T SportsNet are two of the more popular RSNs. Unfortunately, these channels aren’t as easily available as other basic cable channels. We recommend checking with your TV provider to ensure your local MLS team’s RSN is available to you—before going face to face with local broadcast blackouts.

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Final take

ESPN+ ($6.99 a month) is an excellent streaming service for MLS fans because of its MLS Live programming, which has up to 350 out-of-market MLS games each season, available live and on demand.

The streaming service is also home to original shows like MLS Review and ESPN FC for the most in-depth MLS coverage. There are even several other soccer leagues available to watch, including La Liga, the German Bundesliga, and USL League One.

While you’ll have to contend with regional blackouts and a lack of features seen in other out-of-market sports packages, ESPN+ is well worth the price of admission.

Get ESPN+

Methodology

Our sports experts spent over 24 hours of hands-on testing and research to determine the overall value MLS Live on ESPN+ offers soccer fans. We tested the streaming app’s features, then compared its price and convenience to the cable and satellite out-of-market alternative MLS DIRECT KICK.

Check out our How We Rank page to learn more about our methods.

MLS on ESPN Plus FAQ

Can you watch MLS Live for free?

You can’t watch MLS Live content for free, but you can access everything MLS Live has to offer by subscribing to ESPN+ for only $6.99 a month.

Are all MLS games on ESPN+?

ESPN+ is home to around 350 out-of-market MLS games each season. However, to get every MLS game, you’ll also need a separate TV plan that includes your regional sports network, and ESPN, FOX Sports, and Univision networks.

How much is MLS DIRECT KICK?

MLS DIRECT KICK costs $89.00 a year, but that price can vary depending on which TV provider you purchase it through. The MLS add-on package is available through cable and satellite TV providers like DIRECTV, Spectrum, and Cox.

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