ESPN+ Live Streaming Review: Everything You Need to Know to Watch NBA, NFL

ESPN launched its streaming service in the first quarter of 2018 as a way to get access to extended sports that are not on their regular ESPN cable channels. ESPN+ is different from WatchESPN, which is a way to watch their cable channels on the go or via various devices. ESPN+ certainly has its pros and cons as any streaming service does. It is not an expensive service to grab if you are a sports nut. There are a few sports that do not make the ESPN+ cut due to rights with other broadcasts.

ESPN+ Overview

espnplusESPN+ is one of the many streaming services out there. However, this is strictly tied to ESPN and its programming. Now for those looking to cut their cable and want to get ESPN channels still, this will not work for you. The reason for that is ESPN+ is an extension of ESPN coverage where it has received rights to air certain games and sports, not on the trio of standard ESPN channels. For those looking to get extended sports coverage, this is geared more for you. ESPN+ carries coverage of UFC, FA Cup, and a few international soccer leagues. The service also has some exclusive programs such as Peyton’s Place and also a section with ESPN documentaries.

The monthly add-on price is the big winner here as $5.99 a month is a bargain for those looking for more sports. There is also a bundle option with Hulu and Disney Plus. ESPN+ is definitely best used as an add-on if you already have cable service with ESPN channels. It enhances the ESPN app as it will bring in their TV coverage on the main ESPN channels in addition to what is brought in through the ESPN+ service. The reliability is there, as ESPN+ is one of the more stable services to stream with, given you have an average WiFi package or cellular provider.

One of my favorite features of the app is the archives. There are historical games and events stocked away for you to watch at any time. If you want to go back and watch an old Michael Jordan game, the archives will be your first stop. This is an awesome way to dive back into time, but you can also save shows and replays for offline use. This can come in handy for long road trips or a cross-country flight.

espn plus home screen

As far as an interface goes, everything is broken up by category or by what is currently live. There is a lot more customization than anticipated. You can set up your home page to what sports or sports teams you follow. The streaming service also supports 60 frames per second. This interface is impressive and easy to navigate. One of the more overlooked aspects of joining ESPN+ is that you will get access to premium articles on ESPN.com.

ESPN+ Free Trial & Promotions

ESPN+ does not have a free trial, nor does the Hulu and Disney Plus bundle that includes ESPN+. Given the $5.99 a month price tag, this is like the reason for not having a free trial. ESPN+ does run a UFC promo with a slight discount for new users who want to sign up and bundle a pay-per-view card with it.

hulu disney espn bundle

ESPN+ Pricing & Package Options

PackagePriceFree Trial
ESPN+ (Monthly)$5.99No
ESPN+ (Yearly)$49.99No
ESPN+, Hulu, Disney+ Bundle$12.99 Per monthNo

espn+ streaming

One of the main advantages of ESPN+ is that it is relatively cheap compared to some of the major sports packages around. There is a reason for that given they don’t have full access compared to those packages, but if you are a casual fan looking to get an extra game or two a night, this is perfect. For myself personally, I have subscribed to get the extra soccer games injected into my life. If you are only looking to watch soccer eight months out of the year, you can cancel any time and not use it those months where nobody is playing.

Now, if you have a family or are a homebody who is currently streaming other sources of entertainment, the bundle with Hulu and Disney+ makes the most sense. It is $12.99 a month, and if you have Hulu Live TV already, then ESPN nationally televised games and main channels become of use to you. While there are no free trials for any of these, $6 is worth a go to test it out for a month to see how it is.

Soccer

If you are a big soccer fan, then ESPN+ is a must-have. MLS is a draw for ESPN+ as it supports plenty of MLS games. The only drawback here is if you do not have a cable subscription, you cannot watch MLS games on ESPN or ESPN2. If you do, then most games will be available for streaming. The local blackout rules apply to soccer as well, and this isn’t a fault of ESPN. If you are in Los Angeles and want to watch the Galaxy, an ESPN+ stream will be blacked out in your area.

ESPN+ continues to push its soccer product as they will be bringing in the Bundesliga for the 2020-21 season. They have begun advertising that every single match will be available for streaming. They will also include the DFL Supercup and Bundesliga 2. Before the ESPN takeover, Fox was broadcasting the German leagues. This is now a major change for the networks.

The coverage continues across Europe as ESPN+ has streamed Serie A (Italy), Copa Americal English Football League, Carabao Cup, Copa Italia, FA Cup, and the UEFA Nations League. While NBC holds the rights to the Premier League, ESPN has rights to the main tournaments within the country, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

espn plus streaming sports

UFC

ufc glove espnUFC is one of the bigger features for ESPN+. When events are scheduled, they can be purchased through the ESPN+ app, where the viewer will get the Main Card and Early Prelims. For those looking for more UFC Content, Dana White’s Contender Series is available to stream. All of these events stream in HD, and there is an option for new users to buy a year subscription and bundle one UFC PPV event for $84.98. Each PPV event is listed at $64.99.

ufc streaming espn plus

PGA

ESPN has generally fallen to CBS and NBC for golf coverage but they have begun to pick things back up. They have coverage of the PGA Tour on ESPN+, and the coverage is great in comparison to the other networks. It is your best bet for seeing multiple golfers and not having to deal with coverage of the best pair or a ton of commercials. You can catch tournaments like the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. If you want to dig back into old Masters tournaments, there are official films.

Tennis

Tennis has been a major sport in the ESPN+ streaming service. You can stream multiple tournaments such as the US Open and Wimbledon. ESPN+ gives you more than just the featured matches as it is an extension of their regular channels. This means you can dive deeper into tournaments and watch more than just the top players who are nationally televised. You can also go into the ESPN+ archives and rewatch old tennis matches.

NHL

The National Hockey League was struggling for a bit to get streaming coverage outside of the televised games on NBC, which still needed a cable provider. ESPN+ has begun to pick up their hockey content as they air plenty of NHL games over the course of the season. This is solely going to be regular season hockey as once it gets to the playoffs, NBC Sports begins to take over exclusively. You will have to deal with the local blackouts like any other sport, but the $4.99 a month is worth it if you are not able to spend on the center ice package.

nhl live streaming espn

ESPN+ Originals

ESPN+ has its own streaming library that is filled with original programs that are exclusive to ESPN+. 30 for 30 documentaries can be watched at any point, and you can even take them offline if needed. This is a major plus for those traveling or want to kill some time away from an internet connection. For $5.99 a month, the streaming library is a nice addition if you want to dive into some unique series or want to watch sports documentaries.

Sneaker Center – ESPN+ took a deeper dive into the sneaker culture and the role it plays in sports and entertainment. It is a seven-part series directed by Bobbito Garcia. Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a featured episode talking about his time with Nike and producing his own signature shoe. The episodes will feature some sneaker based companies and also look into the history of player’s shoes. Bobbito Garcia has done a few sneaker shows already and was a former basketball player in Puerto Rico.

sneaker center espn plus

Peyton’s Place – Peyton’s Place started a few years ago, as Peyton Manning goes through the history of the NFL in each episode. He visits some top moments in history and sits down with former players, coaches, and those who have had an impact on the sport. Manning has had a major impact on the game of football and is also one of the top off-field personalities between his commercials and appearances. He also has a great knowledge of the game.

peytons place

30 For 30 – The 30 for 30 documentary season started back in 2009. ESPN+ has brought every documentary made to its streaming library for you to view at any time. There are now over 150 episodes and with its success, there will be plenty more. Each documentary covers a specific event that was major in sports history and is covered by different directors. Names like Spike Jonze, John Singleton, and Dan Klores have produced and directed episodes. You can find documentaries from the University of Miami days in the 80s to the Red Sox coming back against the Yankees in 2004.

vick 30 for 30

ESPN+ Fantasy Show – Matthew Berry hosts an ESPN+ exclusive fantasy show, as they bring on numerous guests and bring you plenty of fantasy football takes. It airs weekdays as Berry gives you a mix of news and analysis. Berry has been one of the leading personalities in fantasy football for the last two decades. You also have access to ESPN+ fantasy content over the website.

espn plus fantasy

Sports Lacking on ESPN+ App

NBA

If you are an NBA fan, this app is not going to be directed towards you. There are no live basketball games, although you can find some older ones in the archive library. To be able to watch nationally televised games, you need a cable subscription that will defeat the purpose of cord-cutting. At the moment, ESPN is broadcasting basketball only on their main channels. ESPN+ has yet to pick up any games. If you are a die-hard fan or looking to stream multiple games, then ESPN+ isn’t going to be the option for your NBA needs.

nba rooks espn

NFL

ESPN already has limited access to streaming NFL games. CBS, Fox, and NBC carry a majority of the games. This leaves ESPN with the Monday Night Football game but is not available through plus. Like any nationally televised game on their main network channels, you will need a cable subscription. Streaming NFL comes down to using NFL Red Zone or ordering Sunday Ticket. It has been that way for a while now and is not likely going to change in the near future.

MLB

Baseball is on ESPN a few nights a week, which will require a cable subscription to watch when it is on ESPN’s main channels. The blackout rules are in effect here as well, which has been a major issue for baseball anyway. Throughout the week, you will generally find 3-4 games on ESPN+ only, which are available to stream. You can find some older games in the archives as well. While there are more games than basketball, if you are looking for a more baseball-centered service, the Extra Innings package is going to be a better buy.

Premium Channels & Add Ons

There are no premium channels or add ons to the ESPN+ service. The only possible add on is when a UFC event is on pay per view, and you can order through the ESPN+ app.

Which Devices Can I Watch ESPN+ On?

Most devices are going to be covered these days by streaming services. You can download the ESPN app through your app store and be able to access ESPN and ESPN+ through just one app. Just remember if you are looking to stream ESPN channels, you will need a cable provider.

  • ESPN.Com
  • Apple Products (iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV)
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android Smartphones & TVs
  • Roku
  • Playstation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Samsung TVs

Is ESPN+ Worth It?

If you are an avid fan of soccer and are looking to expand your viewership of games, ESPN+ is well worth the price tag. The UFC focus is also a major draw of this product as I would recommend any major fan of the two sports to look into ESPN+. However, for major American sports, it is not a need. The blackout coverage of MLB and NHL games can be disappointing if that is the selected game they have chosen to display on the service. If you are looking to expand on top of having ESPN already with your cable provider and can spend the extra cash, ESPN+ is at least worth a purchasing for a month to try it out.

espn+ streaming

ESPN+ FAQ

What Is ESPN+ ?

ESPN+ serves as an additional content provider for ESPN, where they provide exclusive content through the plus service. It is a streaming service that requires an internet connection and subscription. ESPN+ can be run on mobile, gaming systems, and streaming devices.

How Much Does ESPN+ Cost?

ESPN+ now costs $5.99 a month or $49.99 for the year. If you subscribe for the year, you will save close to $22. ESPN+ is included within the Hulu And Disney Plus package, which is $12.99 per month. All three come in the bundle.

What Sports Does ESPN+ Cover?

ESPN+ covers UFC, MMA, NASCAR, LLWS, CFL, NBA G League, Boxing, F1 Racing, X Games, Tennis, Soccer, NCAAF, NCAAM, NHL, MLB, Golf, Rugby, Cricket, WNBA, and Esports. All are included within the ESPN+ package and are covered regularly.

Do I Need A Cable Subscription For ESPN+?

You do not need a cable subscription to watch ESPN+ on your device. You do need an internet connection to stream. This is a separate service from WatchESPN, where you do need a cable subscription. To get the full ESPN coverage, this is recommended.

Can I Watch ESPN Channels On ESPN+?

ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNews are not available on ESPN+. Those channels can be found through your cable subscription and watched through the WatchESPN app. This is the downside of the ESPN+ package, as it will not replace your cable subscription.

Can You Watch Monday Night Football On ESPN+?

If you have ESPN+ without a cable subscription, you will not be able to stream Monday Night Football. Any nationally televised sporting event on their network channels will require a cable subscription.

Do You Get UFC Fights With ESPN+?

To get UFC Pay Per View events with ESPN+, you must be a subscriber and purchase the events. These tend to be $64.99 per event. You will also have access to UFC archives, exclusive shows, and coverage before and after the events.

espn+ streaming

ESPN+ App
  • Price
  • Disney Bundle
  • UFC Live Streaming
  • Shows
  • Live Events
5

ESPN+ Review

If you are an avid fan of soccer and are looking to expand your viewership of games, ESPN+ is well worth the price tag. The UFC focus is also a major draw of this product as I would recommend any major fan of the two sports to look into ESPN+. However, for major American sports, it is not a need. The blackout coverage of MLB and NHL games can be disappointing if that is the selected game they have chosen to display on the service. If you are looking to expand on top of having ESPN already with your cable provider and can spend the extra cash, ESPN+ is at least worth a purchasing for a month to try it out.

Pros

  • Price (Only $5.99 per month)
  • Multiple Simultaneous Streams Per Account
  • Extended Soccer & UFC Coverage
  • Reliable Service
  • Bundle With Disney Plus & Hulu
  • Documentaries & Exclusive Shows
  • Access To ESPN.Com Premium Articles

Cons

  • Lack Of NFL & NBA Coverage
  • Local Blackouts
  • Need Cable Subscription For ESPN Channels
  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.