Disney will launch ESPN+ April 12th, as its new sports-focused streaming service. This new streaming service will be the company’s first direct-to-consumer TV service. Subscribers will have the ability to stream live events from MLB, MLS, NHL, golf, tennis, rugby, cricket and several college teams. It will be accessible through the ESPN app or ESPN.com. In February, Disney announced pricing details for the $4.99 per month service, so it was anticipated that the debut date wouldn’t be too far behind. ESPN+ will feature a MLB and NHL game every day during regular season, totaling over 180 games per sport. The number of events available to watch will, however, vary by each sport.
One of Disney’s most notable assets, ESPN has struggled in the last few years with steadily decline subscribers numbers and ad revenue. Just last year, ESPN laid of hundreds of employees, including on-air personalities, writers and people involved with studio production and digital content. With the service offering more than 250 MLS games, thousands of college events from mid-major conferences, and MLB TV subscribers, hopefully Disney will be rewarded for their efforts in winning back the people who have shifted their focus from cable TV to digital services, keeping up with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. And with another streaming service launching in 2019 that includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm content, they’re definitely keeping up with the competition.
Although the ESPN+ streaming service offers multiple games, it will not feature events from the Power Five conferences, such as Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12. It also won’t feature some of the most popular games shown on main ESPN TV channels, since those networks require a subscription to existing services that already offer those channels. However, if you subscribe to MLB TV, you will be able to watch all of the baseball games offered by that service within the app for an additional $24.99 per month. A NHL package will be available beginning next season.
I have been visiting Walt Disney World annually since I was 7 years old and haven't mentally left it since. Living in Arkansas, but dreaming of Orlando. You can find me at [email protected] and @whitydarling on any social media channel.