ESPN Plus Review: Is It a Substitute for Cable?

Not a Substitute for Cable? It’s Still Pretty Close, Plus All-You-Can Watch MLS

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Are you looking for a video streaming membership that feeds your love of all things sports? ESPN+ is well worth your attention. In this ESPN Plus review, we will show you what this streaming channel has to offer, along with tips for signing up and bundling with more of your favorite streaming services.

ESPN Plus Review: An Overview

In another incredible contribution to the “cut the cord” movement, ESPN launched its own ESPN+ online streaming subscription in the Spring of 2018.

Sports fans get to enjoy live sports event streaming, along with a nearly endless supply of auxiliary content. Signing up is simple, and ESPN+ video streaming is compatible with all mainstream devices in high def format.

Still, experts and consumers confirm that ESPN+ is no substitute for cable. The most popularly-aired sports in the United States – NFL, NBA, College Football, and MLB – are still available on regular broadcast but not in an ESPN+ membership (except for those games that are out-of-market).

Not exclusively a video streaming service, ESPN+ subscriptions include 30 for 30 documentaries and ESPN Insider blog content on draft picks, sports science, and fantasy football updates.

ESPN+ Pros

  • One of the cheapest of all the streaming services
  • Vast amounts of exclusive sports content, including 30 for 30 documentaries, highlight reels, and more
  • Unlocked ESPN Insider content
  • “Picture-in-picture” for browsing
  • Hands down the best streaming subscription for soccer, cricket, rugby, and other sports less popular on prime time or cable TV

ESPN+ Cons

  • Customers report trouble accessing their account across multiple devices if they set up their account on a mobile device
  • No notification settings for live events
  • Not a substitute for cable

What is on ESPN Plus?

Before anyone gets too excited about prime-time and cable-aired sports, there is only a limited amount of live-streamed games for NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and college football. While you can find some of these games available for live streaming, the wealth of ESPN+ video content lies elsewhere.

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Source: ESPN Plus

ESPN+ Sports

If you like all sports, you will never run out of sporting events to watch on ESPN+. You can watch games/matches for soccer, college baseball, tennis, cricket, rugby, and more.

Unfortunately, many sports are subject to blackout television obligations. Therefore, if a major network or cable channel has purchased the rights to a sporting event, you will not be able to watch it on ESPN+.

“Subject to Blackout”

When a network or channel purchases rights to a sporting event, all other channels or networks may not air that event. ESPN+ is no exception.

That is why many claim that being an ESPN+ subscriber is not actually “cutting the [cable] cord.” For those intending to watch the “big game” in football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, live streaming is severely limited.

Subscription Add-ons

Technically, ESPN+ does not have add-ons. However, members can navigate to an subscription from their account, as well as UFC Pay-per-view events.

While non-ESPN+ members can still purchase a $25/month subscription to, UFC PPV events are only available on a cable bundle or to ESPN+ members for $59.99.

ESPN+ Originals

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Source: ESPN Plus

Similar to Netflix originals, ESPN+ has also been busy with its own exclusive programming. These programs are only for ESPN+ members and are not available on cable.

ESPN+ 30 for 30 Documentaries

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Source: ESPN Plus

Sports fans that thrive on sports history and personal stories will enjoy ESPN’s 30 for 30 collections of sports documentaries.


As mentioned above, there are only two ways to tune in to UFC events at home.

Either you purchase the event through your cable PPV, or you buy the UFC event through your ESPN+ subscription. These usually run $60 per UFC event.

UFC 247 & ESPN+ Bundle

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Source: ESPN Plus

If you’re interested in saving money in the long-term with an annual subscription, you can bundle a UFC and ESPN+ subscription at $84.98 for the entire year.

ESPN+ Insider Content

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Source: ESPN Plus

If you enjoy gaining more in-depth knowledge of leagues, players, and more, you’ll also enjoy the ESPN+ library of exclusive, written content.


Formerly, MLS fans could access live matches via MLS Live for $80 a year. When MLS Live discontinued its streaming services, ESPN+ bought the rights. For no additional charge (unlike for MLB fans), your favorite MLS matches are included with your ESPN+ subscription.

ESPN+ Grand Slam Tennis

Tennis fans are thrilled to watch countless grand slam events live with their ESPN+ subscription. Wimbledon, the US Open, and the French Open – they are all included in your ESPN+ membership.

How to Sign Up for ESPN Plus

Signing up is as simple as creating a login and setting up your billing on a card of your choice. If you already have an account at or Disney+, you can use your login credentials to upgrade your existing account with an ESPN+ membership.

Because ESPN+ has bugs to work out for those setting up their membership on a mobile device, we recommend that you subscribe from your computer. Too many customers complain that they are unable to stream on multiple devices if they created their accounts through the Apple or Android Store.

ESPN+ Free Trial

At one point in time, ESPN+ offered a 30-day trial. Then the trial decreased to 7 days. Unfortunately, ESPN+ has discontinued its free trial altogether until further notice.

How Much Does ESPN+ Cost?

ESPN+ costs $4.99/month. Those that pay upfront for the entire year get two months off their purchase for an annual subscription of $49.99.

Because the cost is so low, few customers are frustrated with blackout policies on most NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and college football games.

How to Watch ESPN Plus

In theory, you should be able to download the ESPN+ app or visit and login with your account credentials. As mentioned above, subscriptions purchased through the Apple Store or Android Apps may not transfer onto other devices.

We recommend signing up through to avoid any login issues on other devices. After doing so, your subscription allows you to stream simultaneously across three devices.

Here is a list of all the ESPN+ compatible devices. Simply download the ESPN+ app and sign in to your account to stream.

  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire
  • Oculus Go
  • Xbox
  • Playstation 4
  • Google Chromecast
  • Android devices
  • Apple devices (including Apple TV)

Streaming Performance

ESPN+ offers full HD streaming on your mobile device or smart TV. There are very few performance complaints by ESPN+ subscribers.

If you need to browse content or scores on your ESPN+ account, the streaming service supports “picture-in-picture” browsing. However, this only works for browsing, not for watching two programs at the same time on one device.

ESPN Plus – Disney Plus – Hulu Bundle

If ESPN+ weren’t cheap enough, you could save more by bundling with two other streaming favorites: Disney+ (normally $6.99/month) and Hulu Basic (normally $5.99/month). The total monthly cost for the ESPN+ – Disney+ – Hulu subscription is $12.99/month.

That’s a savings of $4.98/month. While Disney+ does offer a free 7-day trial, there is no free trial for the bundle.

How to Cancel Your ESPN Plus Subscription

Canceling your ESPN+ subscription differs based upon where you purchased it.

For example, if you downloaded the ESPN+ app to your iPhone and subscribed through the app, then you will need to visit the Apple Store and cancel your subscription through your Apple account.

Again, the cancellation process is more straightforward if you signed up via the website. Simply log in to your account, navigate to “Manage,” and click “Cancel Subscription.”

For a full set of instructions to cancel your membership on any device, you can visit ESPN+’s Help Center page here.

Can You Watch the Super Bowl with an ESPN Plus Subscription?

The Super Bowl is a classic example of blackout programming. To watch the Super Bowl, those with a TV might do best to purchase a cheap TV antenna and access their local CBS station.

If you are looking to stream the Super Bowl from your phone or mobile device, you may be able to access a free trial through DirectTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, or YouTubeTV. If you do this, make sure you cancel before the end of the trial, because these subscriptions cost $50 or more a month.

ESPN Plus Review Recap

While there is still no way to bypass blackout programming laws, ESPN+ is currently the most extensive video streaming service for sports fans to date. We hope that you found this ESPN Plus review a helpful guide to what you can expect if you sign up today.

Getting started with ESPN+ is no different than signing up for Hulu and Netflix. For only $4.99, you can watch out-of-market sports events, less mainstream sports games/matches, unlimited MLS, and more.

Beyond the game, your subscription includes ESPN original shows and interviews, along with a prime selection of 30 for 30 ESPN documentaries.

UFC fans can bundle their ESPN+ membership with an annual UFC 247 plan for less than $85/year. Those with families can also bundle their ESPN+ subscription with Disney+ and Hulu for $12.99/month.

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