ESPN is launching a new streaming service later this month called ESPN+. The new subscription service from Disney features ESPN branded content including NHL, MLB and college sports. It will launch on April 12 and offer fans a wide lineup of live sports, original content and on-demand programming for $4.99 per month.
The service is powered by technology from BAMTECH, which ESPN purchased from Major League Baseball last August. It acquired the remaining 42% stake for $1.58 billion.
From the announcement, it appears there won’t be any NFL or NBA games in the ESPN+ service and college sports don’t include major conferences like the ACC, Big 10, Pac 12 or SEC.
ESPN+ will be an integrated part of a newly redesigned ESPN App and will also be available through ESPN.com. The new ESPN App and ESPN+ showcase the culture of breakthrough innovation at ESPN and across The Walt Disney Company.
James Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, said, “ESPN was built on a belief in innovation and the powerful connection between sports and a remarkable array of fans. That same belief is at the heart of ESPN+ and the new ESPN App. With ESPN+, fans have access to thousands more live games, world class original programs and on-demand sports content, all at a great price. They will get all of that as a part of a completely re-imagined, increasingly personalized ESPN App that provides easy, one-stop access to everything ESPN offers.”
ESPN+ is the first direct-to-consumer service offering from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, the multiplatform media, technology and distribution organization for high-quality content created by Disney’s Media Networks and Studio Entertainment groups. A Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service, offering subscription-video-on-demand viewing of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm movies along with a host of exclusive content, will launch in late 2019. Both streaming services are powered by BAMTECH, a unit of Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.
Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company said, “The launch of ESPN+ marks the beginning of an exciting new era of innovation for our media businesses – one defined by an increasingly direct and personal relationship with consumers. This new product reflects our direct-to-consumer strategy focused on combining our beloved brands with our proprietary, industry-leading technology to give users unparalleled access to our world-class content.”
Michael Paull, President, BAMTECH Media, said, “ESPN+ will connect fans directly to sports they love wherever and whenever they want. Together, BAMTECH’s industry-leading direct-to-consumer video platform and capabilities combined with ESPN’s unmatched sports content will deliver fans an all-new streaming experience with exciting product features built for watching incredible live and on-demand sports.”
Additional details about the array of content in the ESPN+ programming lineup will be announced in the coming days and weeks, but among the thousands of live sports events that ESPN+ will offer to fans are:
- MLB – MORE THAN 180 GAMES; A GAME PER DAY THROUGHOUT SEASON: ESPN+ will feature an ESPN+ MLB game each day, seven days per week, throughout the MLB regular season – more than 180 games that will include every MLB team.
- NHL – MORE THAN 180 GAMES; GAME OF THE DAY THROUGHOUT REGULAR SEASON: Beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season, subscribers to ESPN+ will get a daily NHL game throughout the NHL regular season (in keeping with the NHL schedule) – more than 180 hockey games.
- BOXING – YEAR-ROUND SCHEDULE, INCLUDES EXCLUSIVE KHAN VS. LO GRECO BOUT: ESPN+ is a key part of ESPN’s multi-platform Top Rank Boxing on ESPN boxing agreement and will feature high-quality boxing throughout the year, including a selection of exclusive main event fights beginning with the April 21 Amir Khan vs. Phil Lo Greco bout in Liverpool, England. In addition, ESPN+ will feature undercard fights throughout the year from Top Rank on ESPN events, re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and PPV events and an unmatched library of legendary fights from the Top Rank and ESPN Big Fights archives.
- MLS – MORE THAN 250 GAMES: At launch, ESPN+ will include exclusive access for subscribers to the entire MLS Live out-of-market schedule, featuring more than 250 games,* through their subscription. Before launch, fans can access free MLS out-of-market games streaming live on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS App. Additionally, ESPN+ will be the exclusive local-market home for the Chicago Fire, bringing 27 Fire matches to fans in Chicago.
- COLLEGE SPORTS – THOUSANDS OF GAMES AND EVENTS, MULTIPLE SPORTS, ACROSS NEARLY TWO DOZEN CONFERENCES: The ESPN+ lineup will be rich with thousands of live college sports events, including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more — from over a dozen conferences across the country including the America East, ASun, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, WAC and many more.
- SPRING SPORTS
- COLLEGE BASEBALL & SOFTBALL: ESPN+ will help college baseball and softball fans see more games than ever before, with hundreds more games from across the college ranks streamed live, exclusively on ESPN+.
- LACROSSE, TENNIS AND TRACK & FIELD: ESPN+ will carry dozens of events from across conferences this spring.
- FALL SPORTS
- COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ESPN+ will include hundreds of college football games each season from across more than a dozen conferences in the FBS and FCS.
- MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SOCCER, VOLLEYBALL, FIELD HOCKEY: ESPN+ will have hundreds of games this fall from soccer, volleyball and field hockey as the 2018-19 academic year gets underway.
- WINTER SPORTS
- COLLEGE BASKETBALL: College hoops fans will get hundreds of men’s and women’s games every season on ESPN+ from all across the college basketball landscape – from division one powerhouses to top mid-majors to the next tournament Cinderella and more.
- COLLEGE WRESTLING, SWIMMING & DIVING, GYMNASTICS AND ICE HOCKEY: Fans of winter Olympic sports will get hundreds of games from a variety of conference partners nationwide exclusively on ESPN+.
- SPRING SPORTS
- PGA TOUR LIVE GOLF – MORE THAN 100 DAYS OF COVERAGE FROM 31 PGA TOUR EVENTS: Golf fans will be able to follow the PGA TOUR throughout the year, with more than 100 days of live coverage from 31 PGA TOUR events, including THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, AT&T Byron Nelson, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Travelers Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and dozens more. Coverage will include Thursday, Friday and some Saturday and Sunday play during the events.
- GRAND SLAM TENNIS – HUNDREDS OF TENNIS MATCHES FROM WIMBLEDON, US OPEN & AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Tennis fans will have access to more of the action than ever at three of the annual Grand Slam tennis events. With hundreds of men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches, ESPN+ will be the perfect complement for every passionate tennis fan.
- RUGBY & CRICKET – HUNDREDS OF MATCHES FROM INTERNATIONAL RUGBY AND CRICKET: ESPN+ will serve rugby and cricket fans in the U.S. with more of their beloved sports, throughout the year. Rugby fans will get matches from SANZAAR (including Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the Lions Series, Mitre10 Cup, Currie Cup, Bledisloe Cup and other international matches), the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, and 18 regular-season matches in the inaugural season of Major League Rugby, the new American professional rugby union league. Meanwhile, passionate cricket fans across the U.S. will get matches across Test, ODI and T20 formats from New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Ireland.
In addition to the hundreds of NHL and MLB games included in the ESPN+ subscription ($4.99/month, or $49.99/year), die-hard fans will be able to purchase the entire MLB.TV out-of-market package via ESPN+ and view the games within the ESPN App. MLB.TV will cost an additional $24.99 per month. Beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season, fans will also be able to purchase the entire NHL.TV out-of-market package.