ESPN Plus is ESPN’s over-the-top (OTT) streaming service featuring a wide range of supplemental sports coverage. It offers live events from numerous professional leagues and college conferences, on top of an extensive library of on-demand replays, analysis, and award-winning sports films.
For only $10.99 a month, there’s a lot here that may make ESPN Plus worth it for many fans. You won’t get most headline events, but you can find NHL and MLB games, PGA events, college football, European soccer, and much more. If you already have Hulu or Disney Plus, it’s an especially great bargain when you bundle them with ESPN Plus for only $14.99 a month.
Where does it fit in your pantheon of sports streaming services? Read our ESPN Plus review to find out.
|ESPN Plus specs|
|Sports Coverage||International, national|
|On-Demand Movies and TV Shows||Yes|
|Live TV Streaming||Yes|
A Hands on Experience with ESPN Plus
We dug in to experience it for ourselves and evaluate how the user experience compares with other platforms. If you’ve signed up for any other streaming services recently, you’ll find it easy to create an account and start exploring available content.
When you first get into your account, whether on a web browser or other supported mobile or streaming device, you may find the ESPN Plus interface a little overwhelming. If you don’t have ESPN’s traditional channels through another cable plan, you might attempt to watch content that’s not available to you. Because it’s part of the larger ESPN website and app, you’ll have to navigate to the ESPN Pus page to see what’s streaming with your subscription.
Once you’re in the right place, you’ll see a slider of various live feeds, plus more live events below that, followed by various sliders for top on-demand replays of events that have already aired, upcoming games, and sections for different sports and leagues. Further down the page, you’ll see sliders featuring ESPN’s award-winning shows, documentaries, and films. There’s a lot to take in, so it helps to spend some time browsing to understand where you can find your favorite sports content.
There’s an impressive amount of — on ESPN Plus— both live and on-demand. Although you won’t find some of the major live events that are reserved for ESPN or other national networks, there’s a lot to satisfy serious fans here. You’ll find most out-of-market NHL games, many out-of-market MLB games, an array of college sports and loads of live events and games from pro golf, European soccer, combat sports, tennis, and more.
ESPN Plus subscribers also have the option to purchase live pay-per-view fights, but these are pricey at $79.99 per event. If you can stand to wait, all fights become available for no additional charge 16 days after the event.
This isn’t just a live-sports streaming platform, either. ESPN Plus’s on-demand library will make it essential for many fans. It features replays of recent live events, unlocked archives of classic games, and an impressive library of top-notch sports documentaries and analyses. With programs like “NFL Primetime” and “ESPN FC” alongside series like “The Last Dance” and movies like “The Captain,” there’s enough here to keep many fans binging so long that they miss the game.
DVR and recording options
ESPN Plus doesn’t currently offer any cloud DVR storage for subscribers. However, many live events are available to watch later, and you can find them on your home page or by visiting the specific pages for the relevant league or conference. We did feel the platform would benefit from adding an option to set reminders for live events or bookmark them to watch later.
Viewing experience and video quality
Video quality on ESPN Plus is on par with most options for streaming live sports. The service tops out at 1080p HD, so there aren’t currently any events broadcast in 4K. As with other services, streaming quality automatically adjusts based on your bandwidth and device capabilities. You can also select standard definition or high definition in the video settings menu.
In most cases, we found that events take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute to buffer and render in full high definition, so you do have to put up with poor quality for a moment. Again, this largely depends on your device and bandwidth.
Personalization and security
ESPN Plus doesn’t offer any option to create user profiles or customize the viewing experience for different people within the same household. If you’ve got fans of different sports in your house, this may be a downside. Essentially, everyone has to navigate the same (somewhat clunky) user interface to find the content they want to stream.
Without any user profiles, there’s no way for families to set parental controls or limit what content is available to their children. Although most of the programming on ESPN Plus is suitable for general audiences, there is some more mature content on the platform, so some families may be disappointed by this missing feature.
Sports fans: yay or nay
As noted above, ESPN Plus has a lot to offer serious sports fans. With live events from some of the top leagues in North America and around the world, this is an essential addition if you want to get the broadest sports coverage possible. There’s nearly always something on from a college conference or professional league, and the extra analyses and documentaries can help you take your fan experience to the next level.
That said, it’s worth noting that ESPN Plus isn’t exactly designed to replace a live TV subscription. As an OTT service, it’s built to supplement live sports coverage you find on other networks. You won’t find any local coverage here, as local broadcasts will be blacked out on the platform. However, it may well be enough for some sports lovers. Fans of certain college sports or specific NHL teams, for instance, may find that ESPN Plus is worth it as their main sports-streaming service.
How does ESPN Plus compare to other streaming services?
|Streaming Service||Cost Per Month||Free Trial||DVR||Simultaneous|
ESPN Plus stands on its own as a one-of-a-kind OTT sports streaming service. No other platform offers the breadth and depth of coverage, and most die-hard fans will probably find it hard to go without a subscription. Especially considering that you can add ad-supported Hulu and Disney Plus plans for only $3 more per month, the overall value is tough to beat.
However, it’s worth noting that less expensive OTT services like Peacock and Paramount Plus offer more complete coverage for specific leagues like the Premier League and Champions League, as well as big-ticket events that you can’t get on ESPN Plus. If you do want a mix of sports and other entertainment, these platforms may be a better choice.
If budget-friendly essential sports coverage is your top priority, Sling carries top networks like ESPN, FS1, and NFL Network for much less than other live TV streaming services. For those who want to get mainstream ESPN coverage with a plethora of bonus content, a Sling-ESPN Plus streaming combo may be the way to go.
How to subscribe to ESPN Plus
Setting up your ESPN Plus subscription is relatively easy. You’ll just need to follow a few simple steps:
- Visit the ESPN Plus home page.
- Choose whether you want the Disney Bundle or ESPN Plus only.
- Enter your email and follow the steps to verify your subscription.
- Set up payment information.
You’ll be charged when you sign up, and then your subscription will renew automatically on the same day each month. You can cancel anytime, but you’ll still have access to your subscription until the end of the billing cycle.
How to cancel my ESPN Plus subscription
It’s easy to cancel your ESPN Plus subscription:
- Log in to your account via a web browser.
- Navigate to the “Manage my subscriptions” section under your user avatar at the top right.
- Verify your password again.
- Click “Cancel subscription” and confirm.
If you subscribed to ESPN Plus through a third party such as your cell phone provider, you’ll need to process your cancellation through that company.
Is ESPN Plus worth it?
For fans who want to supplement their primary sports coverage with a wealth of extra live events and deep-dive content, ESPN Plus is more than worth it — it’s essential. Those who want to follow college sports or pro leagues like the NHL, MLB, and La Liga will also find a lot to love here. For a modest monthly price, you’ll find thousands of hours of on-demand content, loads of live events, and plenty of insightful analysis. Our ESPN Plus review puts this streamer in a league of its own.
Can I watch NFL on ESPN Plus?
You can’t stream any live NFL games on ESPN Plus. However, the service offers several NFL programs and live analyses like “NFL Live” and “Fantasy Focus Live!” that you can use to supplement and expand your NFL coverage.
Is ESPN Plus free with Hulu?
ESPN Plus isn’t free with Hulu, but you can get both, along with Disney Plus, by subscribing to the Disney Bundle for $14.99 per month. If you want on-demand content without ads, you can upgrade to the ad-free bundle for $24.99 a month.
How can I get ESPN Plus for free?
ESPN Plus doesn’t offer a free trial, so there’s no way to get the service entirely free. However, considering that Hulu and Disney Plus both cost $7.99 per month on their own, you basically get ESPN Plus for free by purchasing the Disney Bundle at $14.99 per month.