ESPN+ is another smack in the face for soccer fans

ESPN recently revealed what will be included as part of their April 12 launch of ESPN+ and there is cause to be concern

Among the highlights: the price of $49.99 per year, out-of-market MLS broadcasts, UEFA Nations League, the Championship, the EFL Cup and a World Cup show called The Last Train to Russia that will be exclusive to the OTT (over-the-top) service.

As great as this product seems, it reminds me of another $50 service launched in 2017.

Every Premier League match was available for free using your cable provider authentication in the NBC Sports App as of 2016. This included the incredibly entertaining Goal Rush broadcast. A year later, NBCSN decided to make this service worth $50 per season on top of your regular cable subscription.

With NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN pushed their broadcasts further into the Internet abyss, making less popular Premier League clubs even harder to find than before. This was long before the US Men’s National Team failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Instead of making NBC Sports Gold’s Premier League Pass a service that included all games, it ended up being an in-between solution that no one asked for or wanted. NBCSN forced its subscribers to keep their cable/satellite subscription AND pay for the new subscription to have the option to watch all 380 matches. It was a loss for both cord-cutters and cable-subscribers.

ESPN+ will not feature many major live sports broadcasts; it will only feature 1 MLB and 1 NHL game per week. And there’s no mention of ESPN’s Monday Night Football or its two weekly NBA games. In short, this service will not help you cut the cord, but rather seeks to complement the expensive cable/satellite subscription you already have.

ESPN’s new offering has the same caveats

One of the biggest developments regarding ESPN+ is that the popular daily soccer news show ESPN FC has been removed from television and will only be available via ESPN+ from April 12 moving forward.

Further proof of the US’s lack of interest in soccer can be found in bars across the country. For example, last year I went to a bar in downtown Boston (a sports town in every sense). All the TV monitors in the bar were tuned to an obscure college football game. Except for two. When I asked the bartender to tune to NBCSN to watch the Premier League match, he commiserated with a buddy, laughed at me and said, “We are not a soccer bar.”

So there I was, stuck watching Battle of the Network Stars on the two TVs closest to me.

This bar thought so little of soccer that they preferred to subject themselves to C-list celebrities playing tug-of-war rather than watching Manchester United play.

That’s how ESPN+ feels to me. Just Bleacher Report Live, it’s a service that has combined a niche sport such as lacrosse with soccer, hoping that the hardcore soccer fans will pay for it. It’s not the price of the service that’s the issue. It’s the mere condescending attitude by ESPN, Turner Sports and NBC to put soccer games on a paid-subscription platform, reminding me of the days when most soccer games were only available via pay-per-view. Have things gotten any better since those days?

Want even more proof? Last week, FOX Sports relegated the broadcast of the UEFA Champions League match between Liverpool and Manchester City to FS2. This channel is available to an estimated 58 million households compared to FS1’s 83 million homes. It’s as if FOX Sports doesn’t care about their soccer viewers.

Now by ESPN following NBC’s example, interest in soccer will undoubtedly be further diminished. For soccer fans, the impact of the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup will be felt for even longer than it should be.

It will be interesting to follow the ratings in the United States as the World Cup plays out. But as the big broadcasting companies continue to make it significantly more difficult to access the beautiful game, how can you miss something you never had?

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family


  1. Paul Scanling April 10, 2018
    • Jim April 11, 2018
    • Jason Gatties April 12, 2018
  2. Richard Drayton April 10, 2018
    • T Thompson April 10, 2018
      • Paul January 26, 2019
    • Jason Gatties April 12, 2018
  3. Adam Guillette April 10, 2018
    • Mccort912 April 10, 2018
  4. Alex April 10, 2018
    • SilverRey April 10, 2018
    • Brian April 14, 2018
  5. Rick April 10, 2018
    • Christopher Harris April 10, 2018
      • Rick April 10, 2018
      • Tayo April 10, 2018
      • Paul January 26, 2019
    • David April 10, 2018
  6. Daniel April 10, 2018
  7. David April 10, 2018
  8. Anthony April 10, 2018
    • L. Josserand April 10, 2018
  9. Mark S April 10, 2018
    • L. Josserand April 10, 2018
  10. Anthony April 10, 2018
  11. Azer April 10, 2018
  12. MAHLUF April 10, 2018
  13. Henry Reichman April 10, 2018
  14. Fletcher April 10, 2018
    • Tim H April 10, 2018
  15. Bill April 10, 2018
  16. Ben April 10, 2018
  17. Brian April 11, 2018
  18. Jim April 11, 2018
  19. Click Difford April 11, 2018
  20. Adam April 12, 2018
  21. Alex April 12, 2018
  22. wolvesup April 12, 2018
    • Christopher Harris April 12, 2018
  23. dave seaman April 12, 2018
  24. Miguel de la Piedra April 13, 2018
  25. Anthony April 13, 2018
  26. NaBUru38 April 13, 2018
  27. Brendan April 14, 2018
  28. NL April 20, 2018
  29. SFSpur May 1, 2018
  30. fsquid May 1, 2018
  31. Annoyed MFer June 13, 2019

Leave a Reply

Translate »