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ESPN+ Review: The Best Cable TV Alternative for Sports-Loving Cord-Cutters?

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Many people want to cut the cord to save money but hesitate because they’re worried about losing access to live sports. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to watch sports without cable. One of the easiest and cheapest ways is to sign up for ESPN+. Read on to find out all you need.

In a hurry? ESPN+ is a great service for sports fans — especially if you care about sports outside of the NFL. It provides an enormous number of live events. There are three main ways to get it:

  • Hulu + Live TV: Comes with 100+ live TV channels, its outstanding on-demand library, and Disney+ and ESPN+ for $76.99/mo. Try the Hulu Live free 3-day trial.
  • Hulu Bundle: Get the on-demand Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ all in one place for $14.99/mo.
  • ESPN+: Get the standlone service for just $10.99/mo.

One of the best deals you can take advantage of as a cord cutter is subscribing to ESPN+, a direct-to-consumer streaming service. You can watch many sports events for $10.99/mo ($109.99/yr).

No, you will not receive most live games shown on ESPN-related channels, but you will get numerous NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA, La Liga, Bundesliga, and other sports events of domestic and worldwide interest.

Sign Up for ESPN+ Now!

What Is ESPN Plus?

ESPN+ is a live sports streaming service that started in 2018 and has amassed over 24 million subscribers as of 2024. It was designed to replace much of what had been available through WatchESPN and ESPN3.

For most prospective subscribers, it should be considered a service to accompany access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, and related channels garnered through other means.

What Is ESPN Plus Not?

It is important to note that ESPN+ is different from SEC Network+. The latter is similar in that it offers streaming-only access to SEC sports events that are unavailable on the SEC Network television or a different channel. However, it is different because you cannot subscribe to SEC Network+.

To get SECN+, you must have already subscribed to a streaming service, cable, or satellite provider that offers SEC Network. That said, some sports events are available through both ESPN+ and SECN+.

ESPN+ is also not ESPN3, which offers streaming access to sports events. The difference is that ESPN3 has a cable, satellite, or streaming provider that offers access.

What is available on ESPN3 varies but includes some live games broadcast on ABC and ESPN. It also offers exclusive access to other contests, such as college sports events. However, what is exclusively available through ESPN3 is a small fraction of what is exclusively offered by ESPN+.

Another thing that ESPN+ is not is WatchESPN, which ended in 2019. It had been a way for cable and satellite subscribers to stream games shown on ESPN-related channels and offered by ESPN3.

ESPN+ Content

Most of ESPN+’s content is exclusive, meaning it will not also be available on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, or related channels. However, there are some exceptions. The most noteworthy one is that ESPN+ subscribers can watch Monday Night Football games through it.

Of course, ESPN+’s live sports coverage attracts most users, but it also features access to several ESPN-related non-live-event offerings, such as the 30 for 30 documentaries.

Sign Up for ESPN+ Now!

NFL

As mentioned above, NFL games are prominent sports events offered by ESPN+. In the 2024 NFL season, ESPN+ will carry 25 NFL games, including one exclusive to the platform. The 25 include 20 Monday Night Football matchups, a Week 18 Saturday doubleheader, a Monday night wild card game, and a divisional round game. ESPN+ will air all of the games on ESPN and ABC.

MLB

ESPN+ is the place to be for Major League Baseball in 2024. A featured game will be broadcast every day, subject to blackout restrictions.

NBA G League

Although ESPN+ does not feature NBA games, it does offer extensive coverage of G League matchups, including more than 200 contests a season.

NHL

For many, ESPN+ really shines because it offers all out-of-market NHL broadcasts and exclusive access to a select number of contests. In the former sense, it has replaced NHL TV, which is now only available in select countries, including the US and Canada.

International Soccer

Many soccer fans are more interested in watching matches played by European clubs than MLS contests. They tend to be pleased with ESPN+’s streaming of, for example, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Bundesliga, Eredivisie, Belgian Pro League, EFL Championship, FA Cup, EFL Cup, and A-League matches.

Note that while ESPN covers the FA Cup, NBC covers the regular-season Premier League matches. We recommend Sling TV + Peacock as a low-cost option for watching the entire season.

College Sports

If you are a big fan of college sports, particularly a school that plays in the below conferences, you will most likely want to get ESPN+ to ensure that you can watch extensive coverage of your university’s teams.

This is because this streaming service’s college offerings are extensive. They include major sports, such as football and basketball, as well as those that have fewer dedicated fans, such as soccer and softball.

As far as Power Five conferences go, its offerings of Big 12 Conference sporting events are significant, while a much smaller number of Southeastern Conference sports events are also shown.

The other conferences carried by ESPN+ include the American Athletic, Big Sky, Big South, Mid-American, Missouri Valley Football, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Sun Belt, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Western Athletic Conferences, Conference USA, Ivy League, and Patriot League.

Sling TV is a great complement to ESPN+ for NCAA sports such as baseball. It gives you access to all the ESPN live channels, plus the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network, which are not ESPN-owned.

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

PGA Tour Live

2024 is the third year of PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+, and golf fans will have access to over 4,300 live and exclusive hours covering 35 tournaments. That includes all eight of the TOUR’s Signature Events and at least 28 tournaments with four full days of coverage and four simultaneous live feeds daily. PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+ is part of the PGA TOUR’s nine-year domestic media rights portfolio, announced in March 2020.

Tennis

Tennis fans can also enjoy plenty of offerings through an ESPN+ subscription. These include live exclusive coverage of hundreds of hours of matches at Wimbledon and the US Open. Tennis fans often subscribe to ESPN+ for just two months a year to watch those two events.

UFC — PPV

Most on-demand sporting events streamable through ESPN+ are UFC matches. However, the premium ones are not included in the $10.99/mo base rate; but are instead pay-per-view events.

Others

Boxing, cricket, handball, lacrosse, pickleball, swimming and diving, track and field, and wrestling are more niche sports covered with an ESPN+ subscription.

Shows

ESPN+ also features numerous shows and documentaries in which you can watch or listen to ESPN personalities, coaches, players, and others in the sporting world discuss upcoming events or past ones. The ESPN+ original 30 for 30 is an especially popular one, and the complete library of 150+ episodes is available.

Sign Up for ESPN+ Now!

Exclusive ESPN.com Articles

Another reason to get an ESPN+ subscription is that it allows you to read exclusive content on ESPN.com that is only available to subscribers. This selection includes 1500+ articles that provide analysis of matchups, betting suggestions, and fantasy sports recommendations.

What Is Not Available?

The most significant sports events not available through ESPN+ are the vast majority broadcast on ESPN’s television channels, such as ESPN and ESPN2. You can’t also watch SportsCenter or related shows with just an ESPN+ subscription.

As for sports events, the most glaring exceptions not included in ESPN+’s offerings are NBA games. But, if basketball is your focus, note that you will receive a tremendous selection of college basketball and G League contests.

Hulu + Live TV

A base Hulu + Live TV plan retails at $76.99/mo and comes with ESPN+ and Disney+. With the package, you get 100+ channels, including all the main ESPN Channels: ESPN itself, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ACC Network, and SEC Network. It also includes CBS Sports Network, FS1, and FS2.

Another option is getting the Hulu bundle. This gives you the Hulu on-demand service (no live television access), ESPN Plus, and Disney Plus for $14.99/mo. You can also get it for $19.99/mo for ad-free streaming of on-demand content.

ESPN+ Interface

To enjoy all the action and shows on ESPN+, log on to plus.espn.com or access the ESPN app on your device. You can then navigate to the sports event or show you want to watch.

If you subscribe indirectly, like through Hulu + Live TV, you can watch through Hulu’s website or the Hulu app. You can also watch with the ESPN app using your Hulu credentials with TV Everywhere.

Once you enter your ESPN account, you can select your favorite teams, leagues, and players without changing your ESPN+ viewing experience.

When looking at the schedule of past, present, and future sports events to watch, you can narrow and expand this list in several ways. One is to narrow it down by sport. Another consideration is to expand it to show everything broadcast on any ESPN outlet.

Live Streaming Devices for ESPN+

ESPN+ supports most major streaming devices in use today:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad)
  • Oculus
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung smart TVs
  • Xbox One
  • Xfinity
  • Web browsers

Chromecast allows you to cast from your mobile device (and some browsers) to your smart TV. This is an increasingly popular and easy-to-use method.

Summary

For most sports fans, getting ESPN+ is more than worth the $10.99/mo ($109.99/yr) that it costs. In some cases, ESPN+ will be sufficient, while it will be an essential addition to the list of streaming services for some users. Nonetheless, you can sit back and enjoy top sports such as Golf, tennis, and UFC.

Sign Up for ESPN+ Now!

FAQs

What happened to ESPN Insider?

In August 2018, four months after ESPN+ launched, ESPN Insider, a different subscription service, was closed down, and its services were incorporated into ESPN+. These included premium web content such as exclusive beat reports, advanced sports statistics, analytics, and fantasy sports tools.

Does ESPN+ include live ESPN?

Generally, no. ESPN+ does not offer access to what is on ESPN. It is a standalone streaming service, and those wanting to watch games and other programming shown on ESPN should, in most cases, head elsewhere to receive that access. However, there are rare exceptions. One is ESPN+ streaming of Monday Night Football games.

Can ESPN+ streams be recorded?

No, ESPN+ does not have cloud DVR storage, and streams cannot be otherwise recorded. However, there is usually no need to record, as its games and shows are archived and can be easily accessed with on-demand replays. Remember that some events, including NFL games, are unavailable for archived viewing.

Is all ESPN+ content available for $10.99/mo?

Nearly all ESPN+ content is available for $10.99/mo. The only exceptions are PPV events for UFC and potentially other sports. The cost for UFC 269, which was contested on Dec 11, 2021, was $69.99, and an ESPN+ subscription was necessary to pay for and watch that event.

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

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  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

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