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Disney has launched ESPN+, a streaming subscription service aimed squarely at sports fans. ESPN+ offers lots of content, but it’s being pitched as an accompaniment to ESPN’s cable channels rather than a replacement. Still, cord-cutters should see what’s on offer.
Cord-cutters the world over have a lot of different options to choose from these days. From the big names such as Netflix and Hulu to some rather niche streaming services. Sadly, sports aren’t present on these services, leaving a vacuum waiting to be filled.
ESPN+ Offers a Mixed Bag of Sporting Content
To this end, Disney has launched ESPN+. This is a streaming service for sports fanatics. You don’t need to download a new app; ESPN+ is part of the redesigned ESPN app. However, ESPN+ content will only be made available to those willing to pay for it.
The asking price is $4.99/month or $49.99/year. For that you’ll get one Major League Baseball and one National Hockey League game every day, 250 Major League Soccer games, plus live coverage of golf, cricket, rugby, and tennis.
You’ll also get original content such as the 30 for 30 documentary series, a new studio show called Detail, which sees Kobe Bryant analyzing basketball, and Draft Academy, which follows the top prospects as they enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
So…ESPN is losing viewers/readers for their FREE content and their answer is offer a subscription "plus" service for $4.95/month? pic.twitter.com/Nqv7EXy5Jq
— Chip Reiderson (@ChipReiderson) April 2, 2018
While that’s a lot of content, most sports fans will have noticed the distinct lack of NFL and NBA games, which will remain part of the main ESPN package. This is because ESPN still makes most of its money from the cable companies, leaving little room for maneuver.
To be fair to ESPN, despite our headline the company itself isn’t describing ESPN+ as a service for cord-cutters. ESPN sees this as an extension of the main ESPN offerings, with content designed to complement, rather than replace, the traditional cable channels.
At Least ESPN+ Is Free to Try for 30 Days
Even if the content doesn’t appeal, ESPN+ buys you ad-free access to the ESPN website and app. You won’t see any display ads, or pre-roll or post-roll ads on ESPN. You’ll still see ads broadcast during live events, but ESPN+ is essentially YouTube Red for sports.
ESPN+ is available exclusively in the United States on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and the web. Disney is offering a 7-day free trial to everyone, but if you sign up before April 18 you’ll get 30 days to test the service for free.