Just over a week after first announcing the name and launch date of its new streaming service, ESPN today launched ESPN+, marking the first direct-to-consumer platform to debut from Disney. ESPN+ is available on ESPN.com and within a redesigned ESPN app for iOS and tvOS devices. For users of Apple's TV app, ESPN+ content is supported in the TV app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
The new app continues to offer free content, including sports scores, news, analysis clips, video highlights, and select live and on-demand sports audio content. "TV Everywhere" access is also still available for subscribers of pay-TV companies. Alongside these features is an area for ESPN+, which includes thousands of live sporting events, original tv shows and films, and more.
ESPN says that the app's new design offers an "easy-to-use" interface with enhanced focus on personalization and discoverability. ESPN's content is curated by each user's favorite teams, sports, and leagues, sectioned into five primary navigation menus on iOS: Home, Scores, Watch, Listen, and Sports. ESPN+ is housed in the Watch tab, providing subscribers an "all-in-one digital sports platform," according to the company.
ESPN+ is available only in the United States and costs subscribers $4.99/month (or $49.99/year), and a launch week promotion allows users to try the service for free for 30 days. ESPN+ subscribers will have access to HD streaming at 60 fps; live pause, rewind, and restart; limited advertising; and a sports marketplace to purchase additional premium streaming services like MLB.TV and NHL.TV.
The company says that there are four "key pillars" of ESPN+: live sports, original shows and films ("Draft Academy"), studio programs (Kobe Bryant's "Detail"), and an on-demand library of content. Although the service includes "thousands of games and events" from professional leagues, it does not include live NFL or NBA games. Here's a list of what is available on ESPN+ to watch live (which could change depending on local market blackouts):
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, a total of more than 180 hockey games.
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 – Football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more.
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.
UEFA Nations League – Over 100 live matches from the newly created tournament.
United Soccer League – Approximately 450 USL matches this season.
ESPN+ is available beginning today in the new ESPN app on iOS [Direct Link] and tvOS. The service is also launching on Fire TV devices, Fire Tablets, Android phones, Android TV, and Chromecast. Disney's next streaming service won't launch until late 2019, and will include Disney's own movies as well as Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm content.