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ESPN+ Review—Not Quite the Whole ESPN Experience

Does ESPN+ deliver all the sports coverage we want? It really depends on what you want to watch.

Our Rating
User Experience
4/5
Value
3/5
Features
3/5
Monthly Cost
Starting at $4.99

Our Rating

Package Name PriceDVRSimultaneous Streams Website
ESPN+$4.99/mo.N/A5View Package
Package Name
ESPN+
PriceDVRSimultaneous Streams Website
$4.99/mo.N/A5View Package

Eye IconESPN+ Review

ESPN+ gives you more than enough stuff to justify the $4.99 a month price tag, but it’s certainly not a replacement for live ESPN coverage.

Pros

  • It’s super cheap
  • Reliable streaming quality
  • Impressive archives
  • Some live sports

Cons

  • No live NBA or NFL
  • No SportsCenter, PTI, Around the Horn, or other flagship shows

We may not agree on our favorite teams or players (unabashed Lakers fan here), but as sports fans, we can agree on one thing—ESPN access for cheap is a wonderful thing.

But how much ESPN access do you get with ESPN+? Honestly, the amount of enjoyment you’ll get out ESPN+ depends on what you like to watch. Fans of the NBA and NFL—prepare for disappointment.

So what is ESPN+?

ESPN+ is a subscription-based streaming service that covers some live sports and original ESPN programming. And with it, you get access to boxing, golf, MLB, MLS, the NHL, and some college sports.

Don’t pump your fist in triumph just yet—ESPN+ doesn’t cover live NBA, NFL, or many of its flagship programs. Full ESPN access for $4.99 a month would simply be too good to be true.

But we’d say you get enough with ESPN+ to justify the price of admission. In addition to everything listed above, you can enjoy the 30 for 30 documentary archive (our favorite is Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies) and exclusive shows like Kobe Bryant’s Detail (check out this cool excerpt about Steph Curry) and the LeBron James–produced show Becoming that shows how star athletes got started out.

Go month to month, or pay for a full year

Your two payment plans for ESPN+ are either $4.99 a month for $50 for the year. As is usually the case, you save some money opting for a longer-term deal. You’ll just need to pay the $50 up front, but then you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the year.

So essentially you can double down for the full year if you feel confident in ESPN+ and save $10, or you can pick the month-to-month plan for the flexibility of canceling whenever you want and pay $10 more over a year. It just depends on what kind of person you are. Either way, you’re getting a pretty good deal.

Live sports on ESPN+

ESPN+ offers tons of live sports, but none of those live sports are the NFL or NBA. Yes, we can hear your thoughts now: “If I don’t get my Monday Night Football or Friday Night hoops, what’s the point?”

Okay, those are valid criticisms, and you should definitely find an alternative way to enjoy NFL and NBA action. But if you’re a fan of the MLB, MLS, NHL, or PGA, you’ll want to perk your ears up for this service.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the live sports you get with your ESPN+ subscription:

  • One live MLB game daily (during the regular season)
  • One live NHL game daily (during the regular season)
  • Entire out-of-market MLS season (!)
  • Thousands of live college games(including college basketball and college football)
  • Fifty days of coverage for over 20 PGA events

If all those live sports sound good to you, then it’s absolutely worth the few bucks every month you pay for a subscription.

That being said, ESPN+ is not a replacement for real ESPN coverage. What happens when the daily MLB game offers up two teams you’re not remotely interested in? Ditto for the other sports.

Of course, the major exception to the limited access is the MLS. Getting every out-of-market MLS game for $4.99 a month is pretty amazing. Don’t be surprised if that doesn’t last for many more seasons with the MLS continuing to grow.

Overall, ESPN+ caters more to the sports sampler who wants a little bit of everything. But if you’re a huge MLS fan, this could also be a great fit for you.

All the other content on ESPN+

If there are no live sports to watch, ESPN+ has a treasure trove of on-demand sports shows and documentaries that you can sink your teeth into. Here are some recent shows streaming on ESPN+.

  • Detail—Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant zooms in and dissects modern NBA players
  • Draft Academy—Behind-the-scenes coverage of major prospects for the 2018 NFL draft
  • Complete archive of 30 for 30—sports documentaries that would make any sports historian drool
  • ESPN films—Including the amazing OJ: Made in America

Honestly, this content gets us more excited than the live sports component. And this is just the start of exclusive ESPN+ shows and documentaries. ESPN seems dedicated to the success of the service, so expect even more content to roll out throughout your subscription.

How do I use ESPN+?

Don’t go looking for the ESPN+ app on your mobile app store because it doesn’t exist. All of the ESPN+ content is housed on the normal ESPN app.

Once you have the ESPN app open, the interface is pretty easy to navigate. Just go to the ESPN+ tab and browse all the content you have at your disposal. You’ll see what’s live and what shows you can catch up with.

You can download the ESPN app on any app store.

ESPN+ video quality

All of the ESPN+ content streams in high definition at 60 frames per second. Expect the same quality of stream that you would get with Netflix or Hulu.

Of course, to reach that HD quality you’ll need an internet connection with at least 5 Mbps per second. Make sure you’ve got enough internet power to get the most out of your ESPN+ subscription.

Where can I sign up for ESPN+?

Thank goodness we live in a world of free trials. You can try out the ESPN+ 7-day free trial and see how you feel about the service.

ESPN+ delivers enough content to justify the $4.99 a month price talk

ESPN+ is only a few bucks a month for a lot of stuff. When you add up all the on-demand content and daily live sports access, there’s enough to the overall package to make the cost worth it.

Considering ESPN+ advertising is popping up everywhere, it feels safe to assume that the service will get even better with time. ESPN will keep pumping out exclusive shows and content that should keep you satisfied with your subscription.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter or Instagram for more updates on ESPN+ and everything else you need to know about watching sports online.

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