The entertainment conglomerate Disney today launched ESPN+, its new video-streaming service with 10,000 live sporting events in its first year, including more than 180 Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games.
The service rolled out at a price of $4.99 per month, with annual subscriptions available for $44.99 per year. Aside from live events, ESPN+ provides an on-demand library of content and exclusive programming unavailable on the network’s linear channels.
Videos are streamed in high definition at a silky smooth sixty frames per second.
Subscribers get “a differentiated advertising experience” without display ads and no pre-roll ads within videos. Limited advertising remains in the natural ad breaks of live sports content.
There are also thousands of college sports events, ranging from 20 different athletic conferences across the country and other live sports include rugby, cricket, boxing, tennis and golf. There’s also built-in DVR function so fans can record sporting events to watch later.
One of the programs is a basketball analysis show, titled “Detail,” which is written, produced and hosted by the former basketball star Kobe Bryant who breaks down NBA games played the day before. Aside from live sports, exclusive studio programs and on-demand archive, your ESPN+ subscription includes some original shows and films, like “Draft Academy”.
Live NFL or NBA games are not part of the offering.
Here’s what customers are getting with an ESPN+ subscription:
Thousands of games and events from professional leagues and international sports as well as college sports from nearly two dozen conferences across the country, including:
- MLB: A daily game, seven days per week, throughout the regular season, a total of more than 180 games that will include every MLB team.*
- NHL: Beginning with the 2018-19 season, a daily game throughout the regular season (in keeping with the NHL schedule), a total of more than 180 hockey games* — as well as on-demand replays of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- MLS: the entire MLS LIVE out-of-market schedule with more than 250 games* this season, as well as the local-market home for the Chicago Fire, exclusively bringing 23 Fire matches to fans in Chicago.
- College Sports: Thousands of live events, including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, gymnastics, swimming and diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more from 20 conferences across the country.
- Top Rank Boxing: Hundreds of live boxing matches, including 18 ESPN+ exclusive Top Rank fight cards throughout the year, all Top Rank on ESPN undercard fights, re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and Top Rank on ESPN PPV bouts, plus weigh-ins and more.
- PGA Tour Golf: 50 days of coverage from 20 PGA tour events, including the RBC Heritage, THE PLAYERS Championship, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the FedExCup Playoffs and more.
- Grand Slam Tennis: Hundreds of men’s and women’s singles, doubles and other matches, from the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
- Cricket: Hundreds of Test, ODI and T20 format matches from New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Ireland.
- Rugby: Hundreds of matches from SANZAAR Rugby, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, and Major League Rugby.
- Canadian Football League: Nearly 200 games from Canada’s professional league.
- English Football League: Approximately 200 total matches, including an average of four per week from Sky Bet Championship Playoffs, League 1 and League 2, plus six matches per month from the EFL Cup (beginning in August) and 16 matches per month throughout the EFL 2018-19 season.
- UEFA Nations League: Over 100 live matches from the newly created tournament. Pay TV customers with an ESPN+ subscription will be able to access the entire tournament including the 36 UNL matches on ESPN linear networks and ESPN3.
- United Soccer League: Approximately 450 USL matches this season.
Exclusive, original content developed specifically for ESPN+, including original documentaries, docu-series and more.
- 30 for 30 Documentary “The Last Days of Knight”: The first film in the award-winning series to appear exclusively on ESPN+.
- Draft Academy: Exclusive access to ESPN’s series that delivers a personal, behind-the-scenes look at top prospects leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Quest for the Stanley Cup: Weekly behind-the-scenes documentary series that goes on the ice, in locker rooms, and inside the minds of the players and coaches for an all-access pass during the high-stakes NHL Playoffs.
New and exclusive ESPN studio programming devoted to multiple sports and sports topics, including:
- Detail (NBA): Written, produced and hosted by Kobe Bryant, this basketball analysis show will provide his unparalleled insights and game observations about an ESPN-covered game played the day before.
- In The Crease (NHL): A nightly hockey show co-hosted by ESPN’s Linda Cohn and Barry Melrose providing comprehensive highlights and analysis.
- ESPN FC (Soccer): ESPN’s daily soccer news and information, highlights and analysis program hosted by Dan Thomas joined by top analysts and ESPN’s renowned journalists from around the globe. New shows will be available weekdays and Sundays only on ESPN+.
An unmatched sports archive featuring thousands of hours of on-demand programs and past sporting events. At launch, this includes:
- 30 for 30 Archive: The entire archive of the award-winning documentary films (more than 100 in total). ESPN+ will be the only platform where fans can access the full library.
- E:60 and SC Featured: The best of ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine program, E:60, and storytelling brand, SC Featured.
- The Masters Films: Annual recaps of 57 years of The Masters, beginning with Arnold Palmer’s 1960 victory, and going right up until 2017.
- Becoming: A program for youth and families, profiling the journeys of some of today’s top athletes and how they got their start. Co-executive produced by LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter.
- Jon Gruden’s QB Camp: More than 60 episodes of Jon Gruden working with and talking to top QB prospects before they played a snap in the NFL. Among the subjects: Jimmy Garoppolo, Case Kennum, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Derek Carr and Dak Prescott.
- Indy 500: More than 50 annual documentaries capturing the stories of one of the world’s greatest auto racing events, from the 1960’s to present day.
- Boxing Libraries: an unmatched, on-demand treasure chest of the greatest fights of all time, including hundreds of fights from the ESPN Big Fights Library and the Top Rank archive, such as Ali vs. Frazier I-III, Ali vs. Foreman, Duran vs. Leonard I-III, Hagler vs. Hearns,Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, among many, many more.
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro told CNBC that it’s goin to take a “number of years” before ESPN+ turns from a loss-making service into a profitable offering.
ESPN+ is available through the website ESPN.com and via ESPN’s overhauled app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. ESPN+ content appears within Apple’s TV app across iOS and tvOS devices.
The service is also accessible Android phones, Android TV, Chromecast and Amazon’s devices including Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV smart TVs and fourth-generation and Fire tablets.
ESPN+ availability starts today in the United States only. A 7-day free trial is available, but Disney’s launch week promotion lets you try the service for free for 30 days.