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ESPN+ FAQ: Answering your soccer questions

ESPN has launched a brand-new streaming service that is a bold attempt to generate substantial revenue for what it considers a lot of niche sports that it previously mostly streamed at no additional cost to sports fans who had access to ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

Since it’s so new and different, there’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace, which is why we’ve collated all of your questions from the website and social media during the past two weeks and created this FAQ that will hopefully clue everyone in. If not, just post your question in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer it.

The FAQ is so long that we’ve spread it across several pages, so be sure to click on the next page button near the bottom of every page.

Here goes:

Q: What is ESPN+?

A: ESPN+ is a new paid-subscription streaming service that launched April 12, 2018. A cable or satellite subscription isn’t required, but you can’t access ESPN or ESPN2 content on it. ESPN+ provides exclusive broadcasts of several leagues, competitions and sports.

If you do have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can use your login details to authenticate and watch ESPN and ESPN2 programming with the app in addition to the exclusive ESPN+ streams. Or you can pay to just watch the ESPN+ programming separately.

For soccer fans, the games previously available via the MLS Live paid-subscription service (owned by ESPN, operated and promoted by MLS) will now be exclusively available via ESPN+ except for the nationally televised games that air on ESPN or ESPN2.

ESPN+ will exclusively stream the following soccer leagues and competitions:

English Football League – Approximately 200 total matches, including an average of four per week from Sky Bet Championship Playoffs, League 1 and League 2, plus six matches per month from the EFL Cup (beginning in August) and 16 matches per month throughout the EFL 2018-19 season.

MLS – The entire MLS LIVE out-of-market schedule will be available 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.

United Soccer League – Approximately 450 USL matches this season

UEFA Nations League – Over 100 live matches from the newly created tournament. Pay TV customers with an ESPN+ subscription will be able to access the entire tournament including the 36 UNL matches on ESPN linear networks and ESPN3.

Q: How do I access ESPN+? What devices is it available on? Also is it available via the web?

A: ESPN+ is available via the redesigned ESPN App (through Android or iOS smartphones) as well as directly through the ESPN+ website.

ESPN+ is also available via the following devices:

• Amazon – Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV smart TVs and Fire Tablets (4th generation and newer).

• Apple – iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The ESPN App with ESPN+ will also be supported in the Apple TV App on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

• Google – Android phones, Android TV and Chromecast.

ESPN+ is currently not available on Roku, PlayStation or Xbox. Roku will be added in the near future.

Q: Price?

A: It’s $5 dollars a month or $50 for the year.

Q: Is a free trial available?

A: Not at this time.

Q: Is a credit card required for the free trial?

A: Yes, either a credit card or PayPal account is required.

Q: Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be launched years ago for MLS games?

A: ESPN’s streaming service was supposed to launch in 2015 with MLS games being streamed on the platform and with MLS Live going away. After repeated delays, it’s finally here combined with a whole lot more.

Q: Who are the winners and losers with ESPN+?

A: Without any shadow of a doubt, the biggest winners with ESPN+ are MLS fans who used to pay $80 or more a year to watch out-of-market games. With an annual subscription of $50 for ESPN+, the cost savings for MLS fans are immense.

The losers with ESPN+ are the soccer fans who were accustomed to watching the popular, daily ESPN FC television show. That program is now exclusively available via ESPN+, which means that US television has lost yet another daily soccer news and highlights show (ESPN FC and FOX Soccer News, just as two examples of many shows from the past).

Q: Is ESPN+ a good streaming service to consider for cord cutters?

A: It all depends on what leagues and sports you’re interested in, so the answer will vary. It’s not a one-stop-shop streaming solution that offers you access to everything. Cord cutters can use DIRECTV NOW or Sling Orange to access all of the ESPN programming instead of having a cable/TV subscription. But ESPN+ would have to be purchased separately in order to give you access to everything ESPN-related.

For ESPN, the ESPN+ service gives them the opportunity to dip their toe in the water to provide access to exclusive content. This ensures that ESPN is generating revenue from cord cutters, and additional revenue from current cable/TV subscribers.

Q: Can ESPN TV/cable subscribers access ESPN+ at no additional charge?

A: No, and here’s where it’ll upset many sports fans. You have to pay more now ($50/year or $5/month) to get much of the same content that you were getting for free previously when you had a cable/TV subscription.

Here’s what one of our writers thought about ESPN+.

Q: Are there any plans for ESPN to add quality soccer leagues and competitions?

A: We understand that ESPN is interested in acquiring the rights to the FA Cup and Serie A, which would considerably strengthen ESPN+‘s programming for hardcore soccer fans, but no decision has been reached as of press time.

Q: Is ESPN3 dead?

A: No, confusingly, it still continues although it won’t have the vast amount of live programming that it used to. Most of the programming will be on ESPN+ exclusively instead.

Q: Are there any alternative options to watch ESPN+ programming?

A: If you’re wondering what other options are available instead of ESPN+, here are a few to consider for soccer fans:

(1) If you want to watch UEFA Nations League, Univision Deportes has the rights to that tournament so you could watch those games on television or via a legal streaming service such as fuboTV, DIRECTV NOW or Sling TV (among many).

(2) For Championship, League One or League Two games, you can subscribe to many of the clubs directly via their iFollow service, but it’ll be cheaper to pay $5 per month to ESPN+ to watch a select number of games.

(3) For MLS out-of-market games, ESPN+ is the only game in town.

Q: Does that mean that the English Championship games will no longer available via ESPN3 or Sling Orange?

A: Correct. While Sling Orange will continue to provide access to sporting events and games available on ESPN3, the Football League games are no longer on ESPN3. They’re only on ESPN+ and iFollow.

Q: Do you know if ESPN FC will be available on demand or do I need to watch it nightly at 6pm ET?

A: ESPN FC will be available on-demand via ESPN+ each night.

Q: What is going to happen to the World Cup/ Euro qualifiers & the German Cup?

A: The German Cup will continue to be available via ESPN3. Regarding the World Cup and Euro qualifiers, we’ll have to wait to see what the schedule will be. Presumably most of them will be available via the ESPN TV networks and ESPN3. There is no mention of them being included on ESPN+.

Q: So, what’s the deal with the UEFA Nations League? I thought that ESPN was going to cover it as they did the Euros, where they put most games on the main channel. I didn’t know it would be mostly streaming.

A: You’re correct. ESPN+ will stream over 100 live matches from the UEFA Nations League. Approximately 36 games will be on ESPN television networks and ESPN3.

Q: What is ESPN+ powered by and how reliable is it?

A: We haven’t had an opportunity to give it a test drive yet, but ESPN+ is powered by BAMTech, which is the leading streaming technology company in the United States, so we’re very confident that it’ll work like a charm.

Q: Is the streaming available in HD?

A: Yes, 60 FPS (frames per second) stream quality. According to BAMTECH Media President Michael Paull, “ESPN+ launches with several exciting product features, including an upgraded HD stream quality to make the action crisper and cleaner, and decreased video load time, getting fans into the live action faster.”

Q: Will I be able to pause, rewind and restart live programming?

A: Yes. Pause, rewind and start-from-the-beginning functionality is available for all live and on-demand content, all with the ability to multitask on devices while streaming.

Q: Will ESPN+ feature advertisements?

A: Yes, but ESPN+ subscribers get a differentiated advertising experience throughout the entire ESPN App or website, with no display ads and no pre-roll ads within video content (ads remain in the natural advertising breaks of live sports content).

Q: What other sports are available exclusively on this service?

A: ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket and the full library of ESPN Films (including 30 for 30) and more. Here’s the latest list as of press time:

• 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 (in keeping with the NHL schedule), a total of more than 180 hockey games* — as well as on-demand replays of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

• College Sports – thousands of live events – including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more – from 20 conferences across the country.

• 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.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Georgio

    August 18, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    “UEFA Nations League – Over 100 live matches from the newly created tournament. Pay TV customers with an ESPN+ subscription will be able to access the entire tournament including the 36 UNL matches on ESPN linear networks and ESPN3.”

    I bought a subscription to ESPN+ (I have no access to ESPN, ESPN 2, or espn 3) to watch the Nations League. I’m trying to figure out what this means. For example, Germany v France and Italy v Poland will be shown live on ESPN 2. Will espn 3 show the replays? Or will ESPN+ show them? Thanks

  2. ChicagoFire4

    August 7, 2018 at 11:22 am

    ESPN+ showing the soccer scores of the replay matches on there app.

    Is anyone else bummed that ESPN+ app provides the soccer scores before you replay the game? So when I would like to watch a soccer game replay I go into the ESPN+ app to stream and before I stream this ESPN+ app gives me the score of the replay. Defeats the purpose of watching the replay.

  3. Hashim Afzal

    April 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Used to watch cricket on ESPN3, does this new model include cricket matches that were formerly on ESPN3?

    • Christopher Harris

      April 18, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Yes

  4. SaintsFan

    April 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    >> (2) For Championship, League One or League Two games, you can subscribe to many of the clubs directly via their iFollow service, but it’ll be cheaper to pay $5 per month to ESPN+ to watch a select number of games <<

    If the outrageous conspiracy continues (and Saints do go down to the Championship) then any idea when we'd know if they are going to be on iFollow. Has that worked well for people whose teams are on it?
    I'd rather pay more to see every Saints game than pay for this poxy new ESPN+ thing and only see a few.

  5. tim

    April 15, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    I don’t think the service is bad or poorly priced especially if they get more leagues. I would like to see Scotland, Netherlands and FA cup as well but wishful thinking i know. I bought Fox match pass because i love FA cup and Copa Lib but i may be cancelling that soon.

    In the end it disappoints me that so much soccer is going paywall online only. I realize there is not much of a demand outside of EPL and Liga MX in the USA but if i want to watch EPL, MLS, Bundesliga, UCL/UEL, South American leagues, FA cup, internationals and whatever else you can think of its going to cost big $$ and just confuse the hell out of me as to which service is streaming what…..I am not going to lie, I miss my old days of Fox Soccer channel and Setanta to cover most of what I wanted.

    Also…..If MLS moves the Columbus Crew that will be my personal final nail in the coffin for that joke of a league and ESPN+ will be done for me. I will probably invest in NBC sports gold next year for additional EPL.

    • Eddie

      April 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

      What about fa cup on TV for next year?

      • tim

        April 17, 2018 at 11:25 pm

        No idea yet. I guess Fox could go back in since they lost the champions league and Europa but i really dont know how much of a hot commodity the rights are. Either way ill buy whatever platform its on. I love watching the early round small clubs try to make a name.

        • Eddie

          April 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

          Turner sports and Univisión will air UEFA champions league this summer.

  6. Ritchie

    April 15, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    “ESPN’s streaming service was supposed to launch in 2015 with MLS games being streamed on the platform and with MLS Live going away. ”

    MLS was actually supposed to be included on the conventional ESPN3 service that most of us get with our current subscriptions. ESPN+ seems to be a hodge podge of content that we already had access to without paying an additional $5.

    I will say that EFL is a recent addition to ESPN3 that was probably added with ESPN+ in mind. Still, we could get that on go90 and bein without maintaining yet another streaming service.

  7. Azer

    April 14, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Here is some good news coming up next week: On Tuesday & Wednesday the German Cup semifinals will be streaming live on ESPN3 free of charge at 2:45ET
    April 17th, Bayer Leverkusen vs Fc Bayern Munich
    April 18th, Fc Schalke 04 vs Eintracht Frankfurt
    I believe the Final in May will also be free of charge. I’ll be waiting to see what will happen to the German Cup next season and the Euro/World Cup qualifiers. If both remain free of charge, I’m not paying Mickey Mouse $5 a month.

  8. Bobby

    April 14, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I am a Directv subscriber but the ESPN APP is still asking for $5.00 a month and does not give you any other options.

    • Mccort912

      April 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      ESPN + content is $5 a month for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you have direct tv or any other provider. You should still be able to authenticate for the ESPN networks and ESPN3 content though.

  9. The Truth

    April 12, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    This is a great deal! $5 a month is nothing to follow my local MLS team (I live outside the local TV). Previously, I would have had to pay $70 a year to follow a single club on MLS Live. This is about half the price for all the games plus additional content from other leagues. I understand the concerns that other ESPN content is moving behind a paywall, but for the MLS Live customer, this is a massive win.

  10. Richard Drayton

    April 12, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Richard: April 12, 2018. A very dark day coming with ESPN+ especially for English, German, Spanish, Italian and UFEA soccer games or as described “niche” sports. NBC, Fox and Bein do a great job now and there is no way I will go for ESPN especially at $50 a month. I’ll read a book. Why couldn’t ESPN just stick with the MLS which no knowledgeable soccer fan bothers with anyway? Disaster! I’m with JN, “Another blow for U.S. soccer fans”. Count me out.

    • Dennis

      April 12, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      I thought it was $50 a year.

  11. SilverRey

    April 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    It’s been awhile since I’ve used any of ESPN’s streaming (maybe 1-2yrs). I remember having fits just to get it to stream what I wanted. It would take forever for front pages to load, and once you picked an event it could take multiple minutes to actual get the game up and going. To top it off, it wasn’t stable (especially if your internet was a little spotty) and you would have to repeat the minutes long process all over again. I missed a lot of soccer trying to watch it on ESPN.

    Is it any better now? When did they start using BAM? and is it reliable/easy to use?

    By comparison, at that same time period NBC was simple and quick as was/is MLSLive. I loathed when the day would come that ESPN took over MLS – do I still need to?

    • mccort912

      April 14, 2018 at 9:30 am

      I have never had any issues with ESPN streaming, I much prefer it to NBC app. The only minor thing ESPN app could improve is it has a lot of content all over the place, it would be nice to be able to favorite certain shows or leagues.

  12. Tom

    April 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Not available via Roku?

    • Dennis

      April 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Yes. How about Roku?

      • Christopher Harris

        April 12, 2018 at 10:26 pm

        The above article mentions the Roku situation.

        • Dennis

          April 13, 2018 at 6:27 am

          I’m sorry, I don’t see Roku mentioned anywhere.

          • Christopher Harris

            April 13, 2018 at 6:49 am

            Click on the next page button at the bottom of each article to advance.

            • Lovac

              April 13, 2018 at 10:57 am

              Suggestion: you should move the page links from below the advertisement box to above the box. It confuses me often too.

            • Joel

              April 13, 2018 at 11:21 am

              Some people are saying you can access ESPN Plus content through the current watch ESPN app on roku? Has anyone tried and confirmed this?

              • Jim Stumbaugh

                April 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

                Yes i was able to stream on the current ESPN on my Roku

                • Jennifer

                  April 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm

                  To confirm: you have tomorrow’s championship matches showing on your watchESPN app? As of yesterday, we have only replays available and have to use the new ESPN+ app on our phones/laptop.

              • Jennifer

                April 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm

                As of yesterday that’s not the case for us, sadly. No + content on our ESPN Roku app. Anyone have a Roku workaround?

      • Dennis

        April 13, 2018 at 4:20 pm

        Will live games be archived so you could watch on demand?

  13. Paul Scanling

    April 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Using Pompey as an example: their matches are on iFollow, which is approximately $10/month. They are not archived, so I can only watch them live. They have been on ESPN3 only when their match is picked up for broadcast by SkySports. That has happened only three or four times this season. In order to follow Pompey, I would need both subscriptions to ensure I see every match. It’s hardly worth it for me to pay $50/year to see a handful of matches. Of course, if we make the playoffs, that could change.

    I also watch college baseball on ESPN3 (Go Noles!). They are available on my Sling subscription on the ACC Extra channel. Will that be changing as well? Will all of the college sports they broadcast on ESPN3 be going to ESPN+?

    Thanks for clarifying these thoughts. This has been a little confusing, which I’m guessing the people at ESPN aren’t happy about.

    • JN

      April 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      I remember seeing a list of conferences somewhere for college sports, and it looked like it was a list of many of the smaller conferences, I didn’t see the ACC, SEC, etc listed. I assume anything from the big 5 conferences will still require a cable subscription and the more niche sports from them would still be on ESPN 3.

      Back to soccer, this yet another blow to fans in the US, and I have no intention of paying for yet another service as it stands now.

    • SaintsFan

      April 18, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      >> They are not archived, so I can only watch them live <<
      On the subscription page it says:
      Live match video*
      Live audio commentary**
      Full match replay*
      Match Highlights

      Are you unable to watch a full match replay just because you are on a tablet – or some weird ancient Pompey PC? If you had a proper set-up you'd be able to? Being able to watch a match on delay is quite important to a lot of people. Can you do it without being able to see the score?

      Don't take the p#ss yet. Not down for sure.

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