Is the New ESPN Plus Streaming Service a Gamechanger?

News hit this week about ESPN introducing a new content streaming service. The fact ESPN Plus costs only $5 per month raised the eyebrows and hopes of many sports fans. This price undercuts the $8 estimated monthly fee cable and satellite subscribers pay for the family of sports channels – whether wanted or not.

Let’s take a closer look at the details to see if ESPN Plus at a monthly price of $5 makes sense as part of your cord-cutting diet. Does it provide enough sports content to warrant a subscription?

Reviews are Mixed on ESPN Plus

The biggest downside to ESPN Plus appears to be the lack of content from the sports channel’s major channels – most notably ESPN and ESPN 2. “What’s the point” – you are probably asking. In essence, subscribers are paying for a separate version of ESPN 3.

espn-logo
ESPN logo. Copyright ESPN.

ESPN’s own marketing verbiage better explains what Plus provides:

“This subscription service will feature thousands of additional live events, giving fans access to more leagues, more teams and more games than ever before, including Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the NHL, along with a rich array of college sports, as well as Grand Slam Tennis, Boxing, Golf, Rugby and Cricket, that aren’t available on the ESPN linear networks.

Additionally, ESPN Plus will feature the full library of ESPN Films, including the highly acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series; and we’re also creating a robust slate of high-quality original content exclusively for this platform.”

So, fans of soccer and other more niche sports will likely find some value in their subscription. This isn’t, however, a gamechanger for cord-cutters. Expect to still pay upwards of $30-40 per month for a streaming package that includes the regular ESPN offerings.

A Streaming Trial for Disney?

BGR feels ESPN Plus essentially serves as a beta test for the upcoming Disney streaming channels. Star Wars and Marvel Comics offerings are expected from the company within the next two years. Rich Greenfield, a media and technology analyst for the brokerage firm BTIG, isn’t impressed.

“If they were including the core ESPN at a higher price, I think there would be a lot of demand. I honestly think it’s a very niche audience. They either have to be all in on streaming, or they’re going to fail,” said Greenfield to CNN.

ESPN Plus becomes available later this spring, if you remain interested. Also, make sure your Internet speed is fast enough to stream HD content.