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ESPN+'s logo
FoundedApril 12, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-04-12)
United States
Area servedUnited States
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company (80%)
Hearst Communications (20%)[1]
Key peopleRussell Wolff (EVP, general manager)[2]
ParentDisney Media and Entertainment Distribution
UsersIncrease 13.8 million (as of March 31, 2021)
LaunchedApril 12, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-04-12)
Current statusActive

ESPN+ (pronounced ESPN Plus) is an American over-the-top subscription video streaming service available in the United States, owned by Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, in partnership with ESPN Inc., which is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Communications (which owns the remaining 20%). It is one of Disney's three flagship subscription streaming brands in the United States, alongside Disney+ and Hulu, and operates using technology of Disney subsidiary BAMTech.[3]

ESPN+ is marketed as an add-on to ESPN's core linear networks, with some of ESPN+'s content previously offered exclusively to cable subscribers via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. ESPN+ does not include access to these services, as they continue to only be available through television providers. Thus, some of ESPN's sports rights are not carried on ESPN+.[4][5]

Featured content on ESPN+ includes combat sports (including coverage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Top Rank boxing), college sports, cricket, rugby union, soccer (including out-of-market Major League Soccer matches), golf (including coverage of the PGA Championship) and tennis.[5] The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball's out-of-market sports packages, also operated through BAMTech, are sold through the platform as add-ons. The service also features archive content, ESPN original documentaries, and access to premium content on

As of December 31, 2020, ESPN+ has 12.1 million subscribers.


In August 2016, The Walt Disney Company acquired a minority stake in BAMTech, a spin-out of MLB Advanced Media's streaming technology business, for $1 billion, with an option to acquire a majority stake in the future. It was also announced that Disney subsidiary ESPN was planning to develop an over-the-top service based on BAMTech technology as "an exploratory OTT project", drawing primarily from ESPN-owned rights for events not broadcast on television. ESPN already used BAMTech's platform for its TV Everywhere service WatchESPN. Disney CEO Bob Iger remarked that despite declines in the pay television industry due to cord-cutting, "live sports has really thrived, even in a world where there's so much more for people to do and to watch."[6][7]

In August 2017, Disney invoked its option to acquire a controlling stake in BAMTech, and announced that it planned to launch its ESPN OTT service in 2018, followed by a Disney entertainment OTT service in 2019 (thus ending its relationship with Netflix). At this time, Disney stated that the new ESPN service would draw from ESPN-owned sports rights, as well as MLB, NHL, and Major League Soccer content (although lacking major ESPN-owned rights such as the NBA and NFL), and that an accompanying redesign of the ESPN app would make it a "premier digital destination" for sports content.[8] During Disney's fourth-quarter earnings call, Iger revealed that the service would be known as ESPN+.[9] In December 2017, Disney announced its intent to acquire 21st Century Fox after the spin-off of certain businesses. The deal was to include the Fox Sports Networks group of regional sports networks (which Disney was ordered to divest under antitrust grounds),[10] which led to suggestions that Disney wanted to incorporate FSN's regional sports rights into the service.[11]

In February 2018, Iger stated that ESPN was aiming for a monthly price of $4.99.[4][12] ESPN+ and BAMTech were placed into the newly formed Disney business segment, Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, on March 14, 2018.[13] On April 2, 2018, ESPN announced that ESPN+ would officially launch on April 12, 2018, and confirmed its $4.99 per-month pricing.[5]

On August 21, 2018, ESPN announced that it had merged its existing ESPN Insider subscription service into ESPN+, adding access to premium content (such as exclusive beat reports, and advanced sports statistics and analytics tools) to the service. Both services shared the same monthly price, but ESPN Insider's existing annual subscribers were grandfathered under its previous $39.99 per-year price (as opposed to $49.99 for ESPN+), and all former ESPN Insider subscribers continued to receive the complimentary subscription to ESPN The Magazine that was part of the subscription.[14] The magazine ended print publication in September 2019.[15]

On October 31, 2018, ESPN executive Russell Wolff was named executive vice president and general manager.[2]

On August 6, 2019, Disney announced that it will offer a bundle of ESPN+ with Disney+ and the ad-supported Hulu for $12.99 per-month. The bundle was officially released on November 12, the same day of the launch of Disney+.[3]

In October 2019, ESPN+ began to add pre-roll advertising to on-demand content on the service.[16]

On October 22, 2020, it was announced that a larger amount of articles (primarily analysis) would become paywalled and require an ESPN+ subscription to read. It was also announced that video simulcasts of the ESPN Radio programs The Dan Le Batard Show, Greeny, The Max Kellerman Show, and Chiney & Golic Jr., as well as Jorge Ramos y Su Banda, would be moved exclusively to ESPN+ from the ESPN networks.[17]


Its launch content included boxing (including Top Rank events and archive content through 2025),[18] college sports events (including Ivy League events, with the conference having reached a 10-year media rights deal with ESPN prior to the service's launch),[19] coverage of Tennis Grand Slams, as well as international cricket (India national cricket team, Cricket Ireland, and New Zealand Cricket), soccer (including Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, the U.S. Open Cup,[20] 2019 Copa America,[21] the English Football League (including Cup), Serie A,[22] Eredivisie, A-League, FFA Cup, W-League, FA Cup, and UEFA Nations League)[23] and rugby union events (including SANZAAR tournaments, Bledisloe Cup, Currie Cup, Major League Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup, and Pro14).[24] In October 2018, ESPN+ obtained the rights for the Swedish Allsvenskan and the Danish Superliga as well, declaring their intent to broadcast one match per week for each league.[25] In February 2021, ESPN+ obtained the rights for the Belgian Pro League, and are expected to broadcast 3 matches per week.[26]

ESPN+ features out of market Major League Soccer matches at no additional charge for subscribers (replacing the previous MLS Live service),[27][28] and the service holds exclusive rights to all regionally televised Chicago Fire matches through 2020 (as the second MLS team, behind Los Angeles FC's deal with YouTube TV, to sell its regional rights to a streaming service).[29][30] and (which are operated by BAMTech) are also available for purchase within the ESPN+ platform, and offer daily games during their regular seasons for ESPN+ subscribers.[5]

PGA Tour Live (which was also ran by BAMTech) was included for the 2018 PGA Tour season, but moved to NBC Sports Gold in 2019.[31] ESPN+ will offer supplemental feeds during the PGA Championship beginning 2020, including during CBS broadcast windows.[32] In 2022, PGA Tour Live will return to ESPN+ as part of a new long-term deal with the PGA Tour through 2030.[33]

In March 2019, the American Athletic Conference announced a 12-year media rights deal with ESPN, under which ESPN+ will carry the majority of events not aired by ESPN's linear channels.[34][35][36]

In May 2019, it was announced that ESPN+ would carry 18 World TeamTennis matches.[37]

In September 2019, ESPN+ announced its acquisition of rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer league beginning in 2020, under a six-year deal.[38] In the 2019-20 season, ESPN+ acquired the third-tier media rights for all but two Big 12 Conference teams (excluding Oklahoma and Texas, which have separate contracts with Fox and the ESPN-run Longhorn Network), carrying the games as part of a branded portal known as Big 12 Now.[39][40]

During the 2020 Major League Baseball season's Wild Card Series round, ESPN+ aired Squeeze Play—which featured live look-ins and analysis of the seven series ESPN held rights to (in a similar manner to the ESPN Bases Loaded service it offered during the NCAA baseball tournament), as well as Statcast broadcasts of selected games.[41][42]


In May 2018, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced new five-year digital and linear television rights deals with ESPN, effective January 2019. 20 live UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night events per-year will be streamed exclusively by the service, as well as preliminaries for 10 live UFC on ESPN Fight Night events per-year. ESPN+ will also hold rights to supplemental content such as Dana White's Contender Series, archive content and PPV encores, and offer sales of UFC Fight Pass within the platform.[43][44][45] The first ESPN+ event, UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw, generated 525,000 new subscribers on the day of the event alone.[46]

On March 18, 2019, it was announced that ESPN had reached a two-year extension of its contract with the UFC. Beginning with UFC 236, ESPN+ became the exclusive U.S. carrier of all UFC pay-per-view events for residential customers, meaning they are no longer sold through television providers.[47]

Sports rights[edit]

ESPN+ focuses on overflow content, similar to that of ESPN3 (which is distributed to subscribers of participating internet and television subscribers). Some of ESPN3's content has since moved to ESPN+.[48]

On March 10, 2021, ESPN and the NHL announced they entered into seven-year agreement for ESPN to have broadcast rights for NHL games. The deal includes exclusive national rights to 75 games per season to air exclusively on ESPN+, and an exclusive package of over 1,000 out of market games available on ESPN+ that were part of the NHL.TV subscription package prior to the 2021-2022 season.[49]

Eight days later, ESPN and the NFL renewed their partnership with a huge landmark 10-year extension. This includes an exclusive International game coming to ESPN+, and the ability to simulcast all Monday Night Football games that air on ESPN and ABC. [50] ESPN+ has uploaded NFL content in their library, including Peyton’s Places, prior to the new deals being announced.

Professional sports[edit]

American football[edit]

Association football[edit]

 United States













Auto racing[edit]


Canadian football[edit]

Combat sport[edit]








College sports[edit]

American football[edit]


Original programming[edit]

ESPN+ also carries ESPN original programming and documentaries, such as the 30 for 30 franchise (with some premiering on ESPN+ prior to their premiere on ESPN), and exclusive original series and studio programs:[4][5]

Other programming[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (October 31, 2018). "Disney Puts Longtime ESPN Exec Russell Wolff in Charge of ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Alexander, Julia (2019-08-06). "Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  4. ^ a b c "Disney sets price for new ESPN Plus streaming service at $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  5. ^ a b c d e "ESPN+ will launch on April 12th for $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  6. ^ "What's Behind Disney's $1 Billion Investment in Major League Baseball's Digital Arm". Variety. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  7. ^ Miller, Daniel (August 9, 2016). "Walt Disney Co. buys stake in video streaming service BAMTech". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  8. ^ Spangler, Todd (August 8, 2017). "Disney to End Netflix Deal, Sets Launch of ESPN and Disney-Branded Streaming Services". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Disney Touts 2 New Streaming Services, Including ESPN Plus and One With a Live-Action Star Wars Series". Adweek. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Disney's pursuit of Fox RSNs could be big boost for ESPN". FierceCable. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  12. ^ Lang, Brent (2018-02-06). "ESPN Streaming Service Coming This Spring for $4.99". Variety. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  13. ^ Wang, Christine (March 14, 2018). "Disney announces strategic reorganization, effective immediately". CNBC. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-08-21). "ESPN Insider Subscribers Being Switched to ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  15. ^ "ESPN The Magazine To Cease Publishing In September". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  16. ^ Alexander, Julia. "ESPN+ has started running pre-roll ads, frustrating paying subscribers". The Verge. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  17. ^ Feldman, Jacob (2020-10-22). "ESPN to Move Writers to ESPN+ While Adding Radio Show Telecasts". Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  18. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-08-02). "ESPN Sets Landmark Boxing Deal With Top Rank Through 2025". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  19. ^ "Smart TV: ESPN+ to air over 1,100 Ivy games". Retrieved 2018-04-05.
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  25. ^
  26. ^ Harris, Christopher (2021-02-12). "ESPN+ adds Belgium Pro League to growing portfolio of soccer rights". World Soccer Talk. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  27. ^ "ESPN's Web Service Gains Exclusive Pro Soccer Rights". 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  28. ^ "How to watch out-of-market MLS matches in 2018". Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  29. ^ "FAQs: Chicago Fire on ESPN+". Chicago Fire. March 9, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  30. ^ Pimiento, Juan. "Chicago Fire sign exclusive TV deal with ESPN+ streaming service". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  31. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-07-31). "NBC Sports, PGA Tour Ink Three-Year Deal for Live-Streaming Golf Subscription Package (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  32. ^ Ourand, John; Lombardo, John (October 10, 2018). "PGA Championship Leaving TNT For ESPN In '20, Re-Ups With CBS". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  33. ^ "CBS, NBC re-up with the PGA Tour in a 9-year, $6.3 billion deal". 2020-03-09. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  34. ^ "ESPN signs 12-year, $1 billion deal with AAC, moves lots of games to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2019-03-19. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  35. ^ "AAC, ESPN Agree To 12-Year Media-Rights Deal Worth $1B". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  36. ^ Murschel, Matt. "AAC leader Mike Aresco touts new media rights deal, addresses ESPN+ criticism". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  37. ^ World TeamTennis. "WTT 2019: HOW TO WATCH WORLD TEAMTENNIS". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  38. ^ "ESPN+ snags US rights to Bundesliga soccer starting in 2020". Engadget. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  39. ^ Moyle, Nick (2019-07-15). "Big 12 notes: Conference gets presence on ESPN+". Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  40. ^ "ESPN's expanded Big 12 rights deal adds OTT extension". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  41. ^ Dachman, Jason. "MLB Postseason: ESPN Modifies REMI Model To Produce Up to 21 Wild Card Games in Four Days". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  42. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Jason Benetti — with 6 screens and pizza — will do ESPN Plus Statcast streams for the postseason from his living room: 'I'm thinking I might do thin crust'". Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  43. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-05-08). "ESPN Enters The Octagon With UFC Streaming Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  44. ^ "Report: ESPN wrestles UFC television-rights deal away from Fox Sports". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  45. ^ "Report: ESPN lands UFC television rights deal, reportedly worth $150 million per year". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  46. ^ Alexander, Mookie (2019-01-21). "UFC's ESPN+ debut pulls in 525,000 new subscribers on Saturday night". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  47. ^ "ESPN Extends With UFC; ESPN+ Becomes Exclusive PPV Provider". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  48. ^
  49. ^ "The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and National Hockey League Reach Groundbreaking Long-Term Agreement". ESPN Press Room U.S. 2021-03-10. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  50. ^ "The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and National Fotball League Reach Landmark Long-Term Agreement". ESPN Press Room U.S. 2021-03-10. Retrieved 2021-04-17.
  51. ^ Kevin Ota (2019-09-12). "Cricket on ESPN+: Paytm South Africa Tour of India Beginning Sept. 15". ESPN Press Room. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  52. ^ a b "ESPN+, New Zealand Cricket Reach Six-Year Extension". ESPN Press Room U.S. 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  53. ^ "Kobe Bryant to produce and star in new basketball analysis show 'Detail,' to air on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  54. ^ "Peyton Manning to host NFL themed "Detail" show on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  55. ^ "Inside Daniel Cormier's mind for breaking down fight film". 2019-06-30. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  56. ^
  57. ^ a b "Quest for the Stanley Cup moves from Showtime to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-13. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  58. ^ "ESPN+ To Live Stream Hundreds of Soccer Matches". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  59. ^ "Disney kicks off its streaming future today with ESPN+". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  60. ^ "The Long Read: Will Disney's push over the top see ESPN reclaim the summit?". SportsPro. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  61. ^ "TV networks will be panning for talent as part of the rush to claim gambling gold". Sporting News. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  62. ^ Lucia, Joe (2 May 2018). "New ESPN digital shows include Katie Nolan late night show, daily SportsCenter series in ESPN app". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  63. ^ Marchand, Andrew (5 September 2019). "ESPN's plan to reignite Katie Nolan's show". The New York Post. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  64. ^ "Peyton Manning to Host New ESPN+ Original Series "Peyton's Places"". The Futon Critic. April 15, 2019.
  65. ^ "NFL Primetime is returning to ESPN, but behind the ESPN+ paywall". Awful Announcing. 2019-09-13. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  66. ^ "Does the new NFL Primetime on ESPN+ still hold up in today's streaming world?". Awful Announcing. 2019-09-17. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  67. ^ Schwegman, Huntyr. "ESPN+ documentary 'Miles to Go' premieres, follows Kansas football into new era". The University Daily Kansan. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  68. ^ "Exclusively on ESPN+: Futbol Americas Premieres March 8". ESPN Press Room U.S. 2021-03-04. Retrieved 2021-06-09.

External links[edit]