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ESPN+ price rising again to accommodate for more content

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ESPN+ is about to undergo yet another price increase for subscribers.

Starting on August 23, the price of ESPN+ jumps up to $9.99 per month. There is also an annual option that comes in at a price point of $99.99.

Back when the services started in 2018, the cost was just $4.99 per month. As of now, that price is $6.99 monthly, with an annual option of $69.99. The jump from that up to $9.99 is an increase of 43%. This is a bold move considering the fact that many Americans are acting more fiscally conservative given the economic climate.

However, some estimate the jump in price to be a bump in the direction of users signing up for the Disney Bundle. At a price of $13.99 per month, this service provides access to ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu. There are no plans in place to increase the price of the Disney bundle, making it just $4 more than ESPN+ on its own.

Over recent months, the subscriber count on ESPN+ saw a steady rise. at the end of fiscal quarter two in 2021, the service pulled 13.8 million subscribers. One year later, ESPN+ has a subscriber count of over 22 million subscribers.

ESPN+ price rising again

ESPN+ claims that its reasoning for raising the price is increased content. With coverage of MLS, the NHL, PGA Tour and a number of college sports on the platform, there is clearly much to choose from. In fact, that does not include the plethora of soccer outside MLS. Coverage of LaLiga, Bundesliga, English Championship and more. Of course, ESPN no longer holds the rights to any of the men’s international tournaments. This includes past coverage of the World Cup, European Championship and more no longer appearing on ESPN.

ESPN does have more plans for the platform. This fall, there is set to be an exclusive NFL fixture on ESPN+ from Wembley Stadium on October 8. This, combined with increases in programming costs by 48% to $454 million per quarter, contributes to the ESPN+ rise in prices.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. UnitedFan3478

    July 20, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    The EFL and FA Cup should definitely move to NBC/Peacock. I don’t understand why ESPN+ has the rights, when they have no EPL. For example, ESPN has the whole Spanish and German package, while Paramount+ has the whole Italian package. Is NBC ever going to have the whole English package?

    • Leo

      July 21, 2022 at 11:08 am

      The English Supercup (FA Community Shield) is already scheduled on ESPN+. Btw, it’s the same day as the German Supercup (DFL-Supercup) on 7/30. That pretty much guarantees the FA Cup this season will be on ESPN+. I don’t think ESPN+ has the rights for EFL. No schedules yet despite the EFL Championship starts in a week.

      • locofooty

        July 21, 2022 at 11:45 am

        ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes are showing the 7/29 Friday match per the guide. Nothing for the weekend 7/30. Nothing for the 8/6 weekend either. Then ESPN+ shows having Watford-Burnley on 8/12 and two matches on 8/13.

        • Leo

          July 22, 2022 at 10:48 pm

          You are right. Also, I already see some games of the EFL Championship on ESPN+. That confirms it then. EFL Cup and FA Cup will be on ESPN+ next cycle too.

  2. Anthony

    July 19, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    1) People need to look beyond soccer. ESPN+ has added a ton of new content the past few years. At $9.99 it is a good bargain for the general sports fan that watches soccer, football, NHL, baseball, college, etc.

    2) Don’t worry – Peacock, Paramount, etc will all go up as well once they need to make more money after signing new expensive EPL, UCL deals

    3) Hopefully streaming advocates now see what the long term outcome is – several separate services for entertainment and sports costing $10, $15, $20 a month. Linear TV, especially broadcast, still has a place.

    • greg

      July 21, 2022 at 9:26 am

      I’ve been saying over and over that the end price-point result of the streaming atomization will be similar to a cable package with sports add-ons when you factor in the cost of the ISP you need for internet access plus all the services. More a la carte flexibility yes. Modern-day cable may not be able to replicate in full the tons of options plus on-demand replay features of streaming, but with decent DVR you wouldn’t need on-demand as much. Anyway, yeah, as they purchase more content and as long as rent-seeking jerks like the ones trying to extract more UCL money exisst, well, costs will go up.

  3. jason

    July 18, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    There is a good video on youtube posted by Clownfish TV talking about this. Check them out. This is mainly to drive people to buy the E+/Hulu/D+ “bundle”

  4. UnitedFan3478

    July 16, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    If only ESPN would somehow get the UEFA national teams back, Fox is destroying UEFA by sub licensing most of it to FuboTV.

    • Jon

      July 17, 2022 at 11:05 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. Instead of the $6.99 I paid to follow my country Gibraltar, I have had to get rid of my sling tv, and sign on to Fubto and then add the fox soccer plus channel. So I now pay $76 for something I got through ESPN+

  5. Ra

    July 16, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    @Kyle “to accommodate for more content” or to accommodate for more profit? ESPN+ has been losing content (Euro competitions, Serie A), etc. What content are you referring to? Unless you are a LaLiga fan, the content this year is much worse.

    • dave

      July 16, 2022 at 6:57 pm

      @Ra, for soccer, I agree, and they also lose MLS out-of-market soon. ESPN+ has likely always been unprofitable (it is common to see Disney investor comments like “… offset by increased losses at ESPN+ …”). Addressing that might be a driver of the price increase
      .
      ESPN+ have significant non-soccer content, some of which is premium to a subset of fans. NHL (all out-of-market games not on national TV, new in 2021-2022), Monday Night Football (gained simulcast rights in the new contract allowing games to be ESPN+ and ESPN), college sports (too many to list, generally increasing number on ESPN+ each year), etc.

      • Ra

        July 16, 2022 at 8:32 pm

        @dave Do you know how many MNF games they will show? Will they show more F1 races? Just realized that we have the WC break this year. I still need to see if it makes sense. If we have 3 mo of summer break + 1 of WC break, we have only 8 mo. 70/8 is not to far from USD10/mo.
        On a different note, 2 beautiful goals in the Ceara-Corinthians game so far.

        • Ra

          July 16, 2022 at 8:35 pm

          And — three beautiful goals in this match now!

          • JP

            July 16, 2022 at 8:57 pm

            Just caught the HT highlights. You weren’t exaggerating! That 3rd goal 🔥
            Looking forward to São Paulo v Fluminense tomorrow afternoon.

            • Ra

              July 16, 2022 at 10:09 pm

              Me too. That will be a tough game for Sao Paulo, after playing a very intense match against Palmeiras on Thu — and kicking them out of the Brazilian Cup.

        • dave

          July 16, 2022 at 10:53 pm

          @Ra, sorry, I do not know anything more than the press release. One “MNF” game on Sunday in London will be ESPN+ only and 4 MNF games will be ESPN/ABC simulcast. Manningcast will be back and could be an ESPN+ simulcast possibility
          .
          They may announce ESPN+ plans fairly close to game dates and have a mix of ESPN only, ESPN/ABC, ESPN/ESPN+, etc. ESPN are walking a tightrope to create ESPN+ value without harming the linear business for themselves and their partners
          .
          Glad to hear it has been a good night for Brazil soccer

  6. SteveK

    July 16, 2022 at 11:54 am

    I find ESPN+ reaching the $10/mo price point fascinating and bold–surely in the short term this is designed to boost signups to the Disney bundle–but in the long term? I had already posted here ages ago that I was dropping ESPN+ when my yearly sub ended in August because it no longer had any top level soccer content of interest to me–no Nations League, no Euros, no Europa or Champions League, no World Cup, and of course no Premier League. I had kept it around solely for the Cup games in England and the occasional English Championship match. If it happened to be one of the few they actually were allowed to show. The replies were swift and predictable–“what do you mean no top level soccer–what about La Liga and Bundesliga?”

    Well, how do you feel now at the prospect of paying $10 a month for La Liga and the Bundesliga OR…paying that very same $10 a month for all 380 Premier League games–175 of them live plus ALL Champions league and Europa League matches LIVE and, if that’s not enough, Serie A thrown in for good measure. What’s the better soccer value proposition?

    That’s right, ESPN+ or Peacock and Paramount+ for the same monthly price.

    • Leo

      July 16, 2022 at 1:31 pm

      Is Peacock going to remain at $5 after a threefold increase of the EPL broadcasting rights in US? I wouldn’t be surprised if Peacock price is at least $10 next season. In that case, ESPN+ for La Liga and Bundesliga is still more valuable than $15 for half EPL and Serie A. UCL and UEL are even watched by many people? I might watch 5% of its content, the afternoon schedule for UCL is almost impossible for people that work (not watching TV/Laptop). But, in any case, people that like one league from one country won’t switch to other league. The pull of Madrid and Barcelona alone are way bigger than all EPL in USA. Fortunately, if prices are high, there are a lot of technology to circumvent that issue.

    • Hans

      July 16, 2022 at 3:20 pm

      I am in the same boat and will keep Paramount+ and Peacock as they have other sports I am interested in plus I find Seria A more to my liking then Bundesliga. Also I am not interested in NFL, NHL, NBA and other sports. So again it all depends on the Disney+ Bundle price next year if I renew or not.
      .
      Here is another observation since I am getting more and more into VPN available content and Rugby is growing more and more on me, the Australian Stan .com .au site has for US $16 per month a ton full of Prime TV and Movie content as well as the following Sports:
      .
      Every match of UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League & UEFA Super Cup. Ad-Free, Live & On-Demand. In addition the following, Rugby, Formula E, INDYCAR, World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship, SpeedSeries, Australian Open, Wimbledon, Roland-Garros & US Open.

    • dave

      July 16, 2022 at 4:30 pm

      @SteveK, I think how ESPN evolves will be interesting. Research hints that death spiral risk increases when monthly price for a standalone service gets in (and especially above) the $10-$20 range. Is ESPN+ about there? What might it mean for an eventual ESPN OTT?
      .
      Among standalone ESPN+ customers, your perspective is prevalent in what I have read. Once a service gets to ~$10 per month, customers start to think carefully about whether it is expendable. The Disney bundle helps as many households enjoy Disney+ and Hulu content so they may not “feel like” they are paying $10 per month for ESPN+. It is also probably no accident ESPN+ are using $9.99 and $99.99 to avoid psychological odometer rollover

      • SteveK

        July 16, 2022 at 5:17 pm

        very interesting, dave…short term this drives the Disney Bundle, long term I agree with you that this second price hike starts getting existing standalone ESPN+ customers more inured to what they are going to have to pay when that mythical ESPN OTT service rolls out which will be way, way more than $9.99/mo.

        Leo, I think you raise a good point about Peacock, will Comcast follow suit and attempt to extract more out of its existing subscribers or continue to try to attract new subs with a lower monthly fee? Do you raise prices out of a position of strength or out of weakness? Peacock is playing catchup to other streaming services, their new President hasn’t put a foot wrong since taking over the job and has improved Peacock significantly from a soccer perspective–just prior to the Olympics we got higher quality video, DVR controls, rewind to start, etc–seems priced about right to me at $4.99 a month and since I have Comcast internet I haven’t yet had to pay for it. Rumor has it this Peacock freebie will end at some point, but I think Comcast likes printing it out on everyone’s bill that Peacock is included in your Xfinity package…I think most people realize we are actually paying for it one way or another.

      • JP

        July 16, 2022 at 6:38 pm

        $9.99 is insignificant, but yes us psychological. At that price point begin to assess how much you actually use the service. With NHL out of market that will still be a no brainer for me next year as I watch 1 full game a night usually and float in and out of others depending on situation. So per game it’s cheap.

        If I had it only for soccer that’s where it would become dicey. Love La Liga but usually loses out to Serie A when they have time conflicts. Rarely watch Bundesliga except for a few key matches a year. Enjoy Eredivisie and Belgian Pro League very much, but those are nice to haves not must haves. So, if only going by soccer would seriously ask myself if worth it.

  7. Hans

    July 15, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    Just did some research and I think I am set for FA Cup and the League cup for the 2022/23 season. BBC showing 18 FA Cup ties and ITV showing 20 games live and these are available through their streaming services and all you have to do is get a decent VPN. Well I just bought SurfShark and paid $90 for 3 years.

    This opens a whole new world choosing either an English speaking country and then setting the Chrome browser extension to connect to a server in that country then connecting to their digital on-demand service like SBS in Australia for the World Cup or any of the UK free streaming services for the World Cup.

    Tried this out for the last 2 weeks watching the live Rugby matches Australia vs England on the FTA 9NOW streaming website. Good things are to come for the year 2023. I will stick with Paramount+ and Peacock for other programs but ESPN Plus’ days may be numbered depending on what they will charge for the Disney+ Bundle next year.

    If all else fails IPTV service is your friend.

  8. jason

    July 15, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    I got the D+/E+/Hulu combined package for now. Kids love D+ plus I like most Star Wars and Marvel. Mrs likes Hulu. Won’t be subscribing to anything else anytime soon. I have come accept what I get and don’t get. Makes me a Bundesliga fan for now eh?

  9. Leo

    July 15, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Finally we see the consequences of that humongous La Liga deal. Fourty-three percent increment means arrivederci Bundesliga on ESPN+. VPN it is, then.

    • Michael

      July 16, 2022 at 2:35 pm

      This increase has nothing to do with La Liga. ESPN spent more than $3 billion a year for 8 years for just 1 SEC football game a week. If you take all of the Soccer leagues combined it doesn’t come close to have the amount the money they are spending on hosting Monday Night Football for once a week (which they are 4 that will be on ESPN+). In addition, the former president (Skipper) was a huge soccer fan and it was the reason they went in so hard for acquiring soccer, is not longer there. That is why they are not spending so much of Soccer as they used to. Some of the money that money was spent on NHL, which is on ESPN+ now. That caused the numbers of viewers to go up as well. As for La Liga, they are making money on that…not losing. As their numbers of subscribers keep going up, it more than replaces the seasonal users that sign up and then cancel for the summer they are getting it paid for. And they have it locked for 8 years! By the end of that 8 years, they will have the league before below the market value. It is the exact same thing with their deal with ACC Conference football deal. They have a grant of rights deal locked in for 15 years with the ACC for less than $500 million a year ($40 million per school by the end). All the other conferences around are setting short contracts and re-upping driving the prices. For instance ESPN on has the SEC until 2030 and they are already paying twice the amount for it, and will raise again before the ACC is even eligible to renew. The ACC actually makes more money for them (ESPN) than SEC despite how much more popular they (SEC)are than the ACC. It’s the same with La Liga. They spread the price out over the years and they are able to right that off before they even count in the advertising money. The opposite is what Peacock is spending with EPL. They have short contract that will be up for review more often if NBC wants to keep them, they will need to keep pay more. The difference is that Peacock is less than 9 million subscribers, and ESPN+ is more than 25 million subscribers of just the US version. In addition they are part of a bundle of 88 million Disney+ subscribers and 46 million subscribers for HULU. All three of them are under the same tent and go towards the profits, so paying for Marvel and La Liga are coming out of the same pot and it is accounted for.

  10. jstrummer

    July 15, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Cancelled my monthly price and signed up for annual so at least this won’t affect for another year.

  11. Hans

    July 15, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Looks like at the end of Feb 2023 when my years subscription comes to an end we will part ways as there remains little of interest to me left on ESPN+ because $100 for a year’s subscription is beyond it being worth it.
    .
    Since they dumped all Rugby competitions the only interest of programs there for me are Bundesliga, the Premier League Cup competitions and ESPN-FC. Now ESPN-FC over the last few months has become a disgraceful babbling show rehashing the same topic 2 or 3 times a week, Rinaldo is he leaving or not, Lukaku’s drama, Man United’s difficulties and every single show the advertisement when LaLiga and the Bundesliga start in August. I find the show has descended into a mind numbing format and is painful to watch.
    .
    By Feb 2023 I should know if the Disney bundle is still at $14 per month or not and will then make a decision. But as it stands right now I can see the end for me and ESPN+ is in sight.

    • JP

      July 15, 2022 at 9:15 pm

      I have until August 2023 to face that choice. The NHL out of market package will most likely keep me, but without that it would be a close call at $100 a year.

      • Ra

        July 15, 2022 at 10:26 pm

        @JP Are you planning on subscribing to annual in Aug like me, or are you somehow in a multi-year deal?

        • Ra

          July 15, 2022 at 10:46 pm

          And I’ll subscribe through Google Play so that I get $1 back from Google in points while Google charges them $21 for using their platform..sound economics.. 😀

        • JP

          July 15, 2022 at 11:08 pm

          No, on the annual plan at $60 until the end of this month so will re-up at $70 through next summer

        • Hans

          July 15, 2022 at 11:13 pm

          I don’t think they offer a multi year plan. Went to my account which is yearly and could add or do nothing. Not a big deal because there are so many alternatives and the money comes rolling in from those that have difficulty with the tech or just don’t want to bother with a challenge.

          • Ra

            July 16, 2022 at 7:49 am

            Will do the same thing. I’ll get annual on Jul 30 to watch the DFL-Supercup. For 2023/24, I’ll figure something out. Base plan is to switch to Serie A during the year. Regarding VPN, I like to browse matches, and it is not really convenient to jump between services to browse for live games.

    • Ra

      July 16, 2022 at 7:54 am

      ESPN FC is a disgrace. It looks more like a gossip show than football review. To get my soccer news, I watch the Bundesliga and Brasileirao magazines.

      • Hans

        July 16, 2022 at 12:02 pm

        Every time I watch it I get more and more disgusted, they cover just the topics of the leagues they broadcast and any news that deal with drama from the following clubs, Chelsea, City, Liverpool, United, Real & Barca. The rest doesn’t exist in their world.

        Used to enjoy their discussion but maybe it has descended into a gossip show because of slow activities in the EPL. Do enjoy the comments from Sid Lowe, Marcotti, Jules and Ogden but the rest is so mediocre and certainly not worth paying the premium pay increase.

        Found a way how to watch MOTD on BBC iPlayer with a VPN so I am set.

  12. dave

    July 15, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for the update. I am intrigued by the dramatic ESPN+ price increase with no change in Disney bundle price. Paramount+, Peacock Premium, and ViX+ all require purchasing a de facto bundle to access the sports. I wonder if Disney might be moving in that direction

    • JP

      July 15, 2022 at 8:55 pm

      Great point, could be by 2024 there is no more ESPN+ and Hulu, everything under the Disney+ umbrella. People who don’t care about sports subsidizing the sports lovers or sports lovers subsidizing the Marvel universe and Star Wars fanatics, depending on your point of view. Sort of like cable!!
      Not sure where Hulu Live ranks among the over the top cable options, but feels like they lag behind YTTV, Sling, and Fubo in terms of awareness, maybe they pull the plug on that or rebrand.

      • dave

        July 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

        @JP, Google recently communicated that YTTV has ~5 million subscribers (includes free trials but most are likely paying). Hulu Live reports ~4 million paying subscribers, Sling is ~2 million subscribers, and fubo is ~1 million subscribers. For context, Dish reports ~8 million subscribers and Comcast reports ~17 million pay TV subscribers
        .
        Hulu (SVOD and vMVPD) is the profitable component of Disney DTC. As you note, it is mature and may face reduced awareness and growth in the face of many upstarts. It will be interesting how Disney manages through that

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