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How can ESPN+ enhance its streaming service even more?

ESPN+ improve soccer streaming services

Over recent years, ESPN+ took major steps to improve its soccer streaming services.

For example, ESPN+ holds more soccer leagues than any of its competitors. LaLiga and the Bundesliga are top-tier leagues with heavy followings throughout. Same applies to competitions such as the Championship, Major League Soccer and USL Championship.

Inside the application, there are also strong features that users have access to. For one, the rewind feature comes in handy when something crucial happens in the game. Also, ESPN’s multicast feature is revolutionary, and is essential when there are multiple games on at the same time. Other streaming services should take notes from multicast for different leagues’ big days across the grounds.

This is not to say ESPN+ is perfect, as no streaming service is. Each person will have their own issues as they use it. Similarly, some of these conundrums may not really be in ESPN’s hands.

However, if perfection is the goal, ESPN+ can improve its soccer streaming services in a few ways.

Four ways for ESPN+ to improve soccer streaming service

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1. Allow access to ESPN without cable or TV provider

Soccer fans have to subscribe to a number of services to watch all the leagues throughout Europe. The Bundesliga and LaLiga are on ESPN+, the Premier League is on Peacock, Serie A and the Champions League are on Paramount+. It is a lot to keep track of.

For domestic soccer, ESPN regularly puts MLS games on ESPN or ESPN2. That’s great, it grows the game for a more traditional audience. However, despite paying directly to ESPN’s subscription service, users of ESPN+ do not have access to the main ESPN channel. That seems like a given, particularly since CBS does it on Paramount+.

2. Keep hold of soccer properties

I said it once, and I’ll say it again. It is a struggle to keep track of the different streaming services necessary to watch soccer. Recently, the Eredivisie, the top league in the Netherlands, left ESPN+. A fairly popular league with the likes of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord, losing the Eredivisie is a big, albeit not monumental, loss for ESPN+’s catalog.

Re-upping on the English Football League for two more years is a good start. However, it is not long ago that ESPN had coverage of Serie A. Imagine a world where LaLiga, Bundesliga and Serie A are on one platform. Pure bliss.

Understandably, these rights are expensive and only growing costlier. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it would certainly improve ESPN+ soccer streaming services.

3. Update layout of home screen

ESPN+ has so much soccer content. The only problem is that on weekends when there are hundreds of sporting events, it can be a challenge to find a particular game you want to watch.

There are search features, but if you use some kind of smart TV, Apple TV or Amazon Firestick, the search process is somewhat challenging. Instead, ESPN+ could do something where it lists out competitions, then has the games fall under that umbrella. There are likely other means of organization out there that would make it more seamless.

4. Simplify payment process

In regards to the August 23rd price hike to $9.99, there is belief that this is an effort to push subscribers towards the Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle is fine, and it does actually provide some good value.

However, the process to merge subscriptions onto the Disney Bundle is not as simple it should be. People that make an effort to join the Disney Bundle that already have ESPN+ or Hulu or Disney+ receive numerous emails. Plus you have to activate the services, which is something that should happen automatically. Maybe in the future, ESPN+ can opt for some form of central registration process to make everything simpler, and make subscribers happier.

 

Let us know what you would like to see from ESPN+ using the comment section below.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. dstorm

    August 19, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    One thing that ESPN+ could do to improve is actually post match highlights for the leagues they cover. Their website is by far the most cumbersome and least user friendly of all the major streamers in my opinion.

  2. UnitedFan 3478

    August 15, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    I am seriously starting to also wonder that UEFA will buy back the rights from Fox, because of how they have been terribly treating the national teams. If only UCL and Euro rights were bundled and brought back to ESPN. This Fox coverage is terrible.

  3. UnitedFan 3478

    August 15, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Anyone know who will win the rights to the UCL? I think it will be either Fox or NBC

  4. Michael F

    August 15, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    A lot of good comments already made. Espn+ does a lot right… but one pet peeve i have is there is NO way to hide a score of a live match in progress. That is what i enjoy from Peacock. Many of the matches i start to watch on a stream app are while some are already in progress due to my personal schedule, and i do not like such glaring spoilers.

  5. Erik

    August 15, 2022 at 3:09 am

    They should try to get more exclusive Spanish content. When TUDN was taking too long to announce a deal for the Nations League I was hoping maybe it was because ESPN made a better offer, obviously that did not happen. I think a lot of non-Spanish speaking fans would have preferred paying 7 dollars to watch the Nations League in Spanish on ESPN+ than paying $70 for Fubo. They need to make it easier to find Spanish content, their “Más” section is very hidden. They should try to get more Liga MX rights, that’s where the money is. Instead of getting leftover scraps from Fox Deportes, they should try to make a deal with Univision to get more high profile matches, similar to what they had a couple years ago. A lot of fans are sick of Univision’s coverage. Maybe they can make a good offer to Chivas after their deal with Telemundo expires. That will make them some good money.

    I don’t think ESPN realizes how big the Latino audience is. Latinos love soccer, they will gain more subscribers if they get the rights to Liga MX, Copa Libertadores, as well as Central American and South American leagues. They need to do a better job promoting ESPN+ for the Latino audience. The other day I saw a ESPN+ ad promoting La Liga during a Liga MX match on Univision, that’s a good start.

  6. Michael

    August 14, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    The ESPN+ app is jittery and drops frames on Xbox. It looks much better and smoother on the Sony PS5 console. I hope ESPN fixes this on the Xbox.

  7. Gradual

    August 14, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    Would be great if they can add multicast for watching games concurrently for Android TV devices

  8. jason

    August 13, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    Losing the UEFA Internationals really stung for me. A big loss for E+ there. I hope E+ can go after Portugal one of these days from the purgatory that is Gol TV.

  9. cmasia

    August 13, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Kyle, do you really have zero idea about why ESPN and ESPN+ are separate products?

    Sit down and take notes as I’ll teach you.

    ESPN for the first 35 to 40 years of its existence distributed their programming exclusively through cable and then satellite operators.
    The reason these operators pay about $10 per month per sub to ESPN is what guarantees ESPN will not sell distribute those channels ( ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, etc.) direct to consumers.

    ESPN+, selling directly to end users, NEVER televises what is live on any of the ESPN “linear” channels, otherwise they’d get their asses sued off for violating distribution agreements.

    And you are really confused about the difference between ESPN+ and Paramount+.

    Paramount+ can show CBS programming. Why”
    Because CBS is not a cable channel. It is an over the air broadcast network anyone in the US can receive – FREE.
    Cable and sat operators have deals with the CBS network to distribute the local affiliates – and pay a fee to do so, but they have no say in how else CBS delivers it’s programming.

    ABC is the same. If a game is on ABC, it can be on ESPN+.

    It is hard to believe you don’t know this!

    • cmasia

      August 13, 2022 at 7:54 pm

      PS: NBC is the same.
      If the game is on USA (cable)? No Peacock live.
      If the games is on NBC (Over the air)? Live on Peacock.

      Seriously, how do you not know this?

      • Michael

        August 15, 2022 at 10:52 am

        You have to give Kyle a break. He is young and fresh out of college. They are giving him a chance to learn on the fly. He is trying to form arguments and back them up…but he is still learning. This is not an easy thing to learn. Chris is veteran that has been doing this for years. He has a lot of knowledge and experience. I think that is great, for him to let Kyle learn on the job training. He tried to make a similar argument last summer. He tried to Make the argument Soccer was passing Hockey…but what he actually listed was of the participations numbers of people playing Soccer in this country and compared them to the NHL numbers. I don’t remember if it was the NHL Media Rights or the NHL TV ratings….but the two comparisons were apples and oranges. They didn’t have anything to do with each other, but he needed to get similar numbers. In another comparison he comparted the payout of the CFP payout of $470 (3 games). To the EPL $425 (380 games). He completed looked of that fact that were two conference that got from that $470 Million by themselves just for their regular season, that had nothing to do with the playoffs. That was just 2 of the 11 conferences. Once again Apples and Oranges. He was trying to get comparable numbers…but went about it in the wrong way. Well here in this situation we once again see an apples and oranges situation. CBS can be seen with an antenna for free. Disney has said that if they were to give ESPN straight to customers 1. It was cause them to loose money on their biggest revenue – Cable TV subscription fees. Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, AT&T, YouTube TV, Sling, Fubo TV, etc pay Billions to have the exclusive rights for the content. If they offered OTT, not only would those companies be furious and drop them…but the people themselves would drop cable in faster numbers. 2. They said it would cost about $35 to $40 a month in order for them (ESPN) to make a profit at the same level that they have a bundle current with cable. They advised that they will not consider that until Cable coverage is less than 50% of US households (now, that was the last leader. I haven’t heard anything new from the current CEO). That means if you have ESPN OTT and ESPN+ (because ESPN+ content is exclusive, it is not included in ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNNEWS, SECN, etc content) you would be paying about $50.00 a month. Now why in the world would I pay $50 of just ESPN, when I can Pay $50 for Sling Blue/Orange combo and get almost 50 channels?

        That being said, I have enjoyed see him learn on the fly and get better. I think that in a few years he will be much better. I am glad that Chris is given several young guys a chance. That is top class.

        • Hans

          August 15, 2022 at 12:28 pm

          Present Disney CEO does not share the same passion on Sports properties as the previous CEO did. Investors also kind of leaning the way of not being as passionate about having a loosing property on the books.
          .
          There is an excellent article in the Athletic and just two quotes from it:

          “Disney CEO: All of ESPN could one day be available for a streaming subscription.”

          “ESPN parent Walt Disney chief executive officer Bob Chapek said on an earnings call Wednesday (May 2022) that the company sees the day when all of ESPN is available fully direct-to-consumer (DTC)”
          .
          Again for me the end for my ESPN+ subscription is in sight because of the obscene price increase.

          • Michael

            August 15, 2022 at 3:47 pm

            Thanks for the update. I was wondering what the new Leader’s view point were.

        • cmasia

          August 15, 2022 at 3:38 pm

          Hi, Michael. Appreciate your comment, but I can’t agree with your premise.
          The writer may be young, but his lack of knowledge on the difference between Cable/Sat agreements compared to Direct to Consumer products should preclude him from authoring a story with “suggestions” on how to improve ESPN+’s services.

          If I was given the assignment to write this piece, my first thought would NOT be to say more games should be on ESPN+.
          My first thought , as it should be for any writer/reporter, would be ask why networks distribute the matches the way they currently do. “Why aren’t all ESPN games not also streamed on ESPN??
          A simple question to determine how and why things are the way they are.

          Granted, the writer has probably grown up watching CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox through a cable or sat provider. But failing to understand – or learn – how the OTA networks are different from cable networks undermines – and submarines – the entire article.

          Cheers to The Gaffer for giving a young writer a chance, but this site produces editorial content, hoping to monetize all of us through the purchase of one of his products, or the subscription to a streaming service based on clicking a link on one of his pages.

          Allowing articles like this to be published only hurts his brand if I, or others, spend less time on the site because we do not see value in the content.

          Cheers,
          cmasia

          • Michael

            August 15, 2022 at 3:49 pm

            Great point.

          • Mercator

            August 15, 2022 at 4:17 pm

            I’m not sure you are correct though. Both ESPN and CBS Sports make certain things available to stream which are also shown on cable channels. ESPN has Monday Night Football on ESPN/ESPN2 and ESPN+. CBS will put Champions League and Seria A games on CBSSN which can also be streamed. I don’t think the author was suggesting all of ESPN be on ESPN+ or anything, just the soccer games which are shown on ESPN/ESPN2 are also made available in some way on ESPN+ (like CBS does with the Champions League). This is not absurd or unreasonable, it basically only applies to MLS games for a year, ESPN doesn’t show much else on ESPN/ESPN2. ESPN already said it had the ability to show La Liga games on ESPN/ESPN2 and ESPN+, so I don’t think you are correct that ESPN is flatly restricted from streaming things that appear on the cable channels. They obviously have an incentive not to simulcast everything which would devalue the cable channel, but simulcasting a few MLS games is not going to devalue ESPN in anyway. It wasn’t a ridiculous suggestion at all, so no need to be so harsh on the writer.

            • dave

              August 15, 2022 at 5:12 pm

              @Mercator, I agree and that is how I interpreted the article. The drivers of ESPN linear are major events like NFL, NBA, college sports, etc. I expect meaningful portions of major ESPN productions, including shoulder programming, will stay cable-only as long as the business model sustains it
              .
              I doubt Spectrum (or whoever) cares much if an MLS or Liga MX game is simulcast on ESPN+ in addition to ESPN/ESPND. ESPN+ already simulcasts some higher profile events, and it is certainly a reasonable suggestion for league soccer

            • cmasia

              August 15, 2022 at 5:47 pm

              For MNF, ESPN occasionally simulcasts games on ABC.
              They are the only ones available on ESPN+.

              For Champions League, the CBS agreement with the CL is to carry all games on Paramount+.
              If they decide to air any games on CBS Sports Network, that is at their discretion and carriage of those games were never promised to cable / sat distributors.

              Cheers,
              cmasia

              • Mercator

                August 15, 2022 at 6:07 pm

                I don’t think that is true though. Last season the actual MNF game was on both ABC and ESPN, AND available to stream. The Manning cast was on ESPN2, and was available to stream. For La Liga, ESPN explicitly says every game will be available to stream on ESPN+ AND games can be simulcast with ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. If ESPN was restricted from streaming things on ESPN/ESPN2, that would not be possible.

                ESPN is probably in no different a situation than CBS – they can simulcast the games if they want to because the games we are talking about (MLS, whatever other soccer ESPN shows only on cable) certainly are not demanded by cable providers or required distribution. Maybe ESPN is required to show a certain number of games on ABC/ESPN by the MLS, but they could simulcast those on ESPN+ too if they wanted too (and if they can’t that’s ESPN’s poor negotiating, CBS managed it with UEFA).

              • dave

                August 15, 2022 at 7:36 pm

                @cmasia, a few events have simulcast only ESPN/ESPN+ (e.g., Euro 2020 semifinals) and only ESPN2/ESPN+ (e.g., ManningCast 2021 Tampa-Giants)
                .
                I agree ESPN need to zealously protect their profitable linear business, including maintaining good relationships with cable companies. MLS national games are not a big driver of the cable bundle and Kyle’s suggestion of more MLS simulcasts to ESPN+ clears a threshold of plausibility. I doubt MLS would balk if ESPN suggested it for the final few months of their deal, though there may be location complexities due to RSN territorial rights and it is probably a low priority for all parties

  10. Michal

    August 13, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    ESPN+ he lost a decent amount of leagues. A league, Chinese league, Indian league, eredivisie, etc. they also need to start showing highlight shows. They’ve shown the championship highlights one whole time since they had those rights. That’s not acceptable.

  11. Nate

    August 13, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Hope they renew USL also. Who has next year’s Open Cup?

    Idea for this site: create a calendar or horizontal bar graph that shows each league and cup tourney’s curent/future US media right holder and the timespan in years. So confusing to keep track of it all and never sure when agreements expire who’s taking over.

    • UnitedFan 3478

      August 13, 2022 at 8:43 pm

      HBO Max

  12. Hans

    August 13, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    ESPN+ has lost its way for me with an increase of 43% for a years subscription, that is obscene. Their properties are not so outstanding to merit that price increase. In hindsight the La Liga expense was not smart and over the top and now dominates their coverage and they are stuck with it for what 8 years.
    .
    For me the loss of the Southern Hemisphere Rugby plus just the Bundesliga of some interest for me, there is really only one enhancement LOWER the annual subscription or it will be nice knowing you come February.
    .
    Their financial expenditure was not smart and it is being passed on to the consumer. In addition Disney will be faced with an additional problem that may be the reason for the price increase. Comcast can force Disney to buy out their share of Hulu, then Comcast will withdraw their content from Hulu and Disney is stuck with hardly anything worthwhile on Hulu, therefore the push to sign up for the bundle, thank you but not for me.

    • Michael F

      August 15, 2022 at 1:10 pm

      @Hans. Saw this price hike coming from a mile away and made mention of it a couple of seasons ago when everyone was chastising Comcast for obvious drawbacks to cord cutters.

      With all the content ESPN+ has acquired over the last few years – is it any wonder they need to pay the providers for this content to seriously make a profit?

      Maybe you are not surprised, and you shouldnt be.

      What goes around comes around eventually. Now ESPN is the target for criticism. Not at all surprising to me.

      • Hans

        August 15, 2022 at 5:14 pm

        It was NOT a surprise to me but the the size of the price increase as well as the interval was. Last year a years subscription increased from $50 to $70 one year later from $70 to $100, So in two years they did a 100% price increase, that is obscene and bad business planning on their part.
        .
        Disney+ and ESPN+, lost $887 million in this years first quarter and the company ascribed the losses at ESPN+ to high sports programming costs and a decrease in income from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view events. So the type of properties they bought didn’t really help with the bottom line even though they had a 62% increase in subscriptions. Whose fault is that? Does Disney have the equivalent of a Bartomeu or Laporta running their sports business?
        .
        The La Liga purchase was a terrible business decision, and with what is happening with the Mafiosos running Barcelona it may be good talking material for pundits, but a total turn off for the neutral viewers and they could boycott the matches. I will not pay for their stupid decision making, like I will not contribute to Barcelona’s recovery from years of terrible decisions. But that is just me.

        • Michael F

          August 15, 2022 at 8:05 pm

          @Hans. Good points. The LaLiga purchase was huge. So was the NHL to broadcast all out of market games on ESPN+. This additional content will eventually drive up costs and streaming isn’t exactly a big money maker at this point and time. These companies have to justify their decisions by making some turnaround profit and at least to break even.

          On a related note, I always chuckle when I see comments for people wanting all of the soccer leagues on one stream service (like ESPN+). Be careful ril what you wish for. If you’re only primarily interested in one or two euro leagues, you will pay more for one size fits all package. Premier League fans that get many live matches on Peacock and get to see all matches on demand with shoulder programming at $5 per month – should be happy Comcast is not all that interested in grabbing other soccer leagues or tourneys. This stuff eventually just drives the price point up for the consumer.

          All that said, I personally don’t think the updated stream price point for ESPN+ is that all together outrageous. You do get a lot of content for the monthly fee. One has to choose their viewing priority and decide for themselves.

          • Hans

            August 16, 2022 at 1:38 am

            At the moment I watch regularly ESPN-FC and I do like a few of the journos like Marcotti, Jules, Ornstein and a few others. But that show has gone downhill big time with most of the talking points being allocated to La Liga, City, Pool and Man Utd and the drama at PSG that is it. All the rest of the soccer news is cramped into 10 minutes and no real actual video clips. So that show is not worth the money.
            .
            As far as their other properties is concerned the only one I am half interested in is the Bundesliga and that is it. So for me the end is in sight.
            .
            Because I got this great deal on a VPN that is just a browser extension I get all the football that is on BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub which would be the WC. I also checked Australia what Stan Sport has to offer. In case Paramount+ looses the UEFA competitions Stan has that plus every Rugby game of interest for USD $17 pm 3 devices 1080p and USD $21 for 5 devices and 4k when available. In addition some of the latest and greatest movies and TV shows.
            .
            It could be worst, you could live in Canada where DAZN gave up the EPL and Fubo TV Canada is making a hash out of it and huge dissatisfied customers screaming for DAZN to take it back. At the moment Peacock has always been worth it for me because of the Rugby coverage.
            .
            The goal posts are shifting and savvy consumers are having the advantage here. Get the EPL in India with Hotstar owned by Disney for $4 per month or $13 for a year. No wonder Disney is loosing money 😆 The draw back is you could get some terrible studio personnel or commentators.

            • Michael F

              August 16, 2022 at 9:14 pm

              You could simply catch the audio podcasts of the ESPN-FC telecast. Since they are not showing many highlights, you wouldn’t be missing much. 🙂.

              I’ve said it before as you alluded to, ESPN-FC is a good show but only centers all the attention on the top clubs and do have the tendency to be like a tabloid show for the latest rumors and drama (ie Ronaldo and Man United for example; Barcelona financial woes etc)

  13. Cory

    August 13, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    Espn overall has the best studio space and looks among all of sports media, compared to the stuff you see day-to-day on FS1, NBC etc. But I feel that the soccer studio that the great daily show ESPN FC uses has started to look out of date, and not special. Give Dan Thomas and the guys some more bells and whistles to play with since it is the overall show of record for the sport, pretty much.

  14. Mercator

    August 13, 2022 at 11:59 am

    ESPN+ needs to bring some of the smaller leagues back. I enjoyed when A league was on the platform, its nice to have matches available at the very late hours. They should look at J or K leagues, even CSL and ISL would beat no football being on. Eredivisie would be good to have back, and I enjoy CBS presentation of Seria A but I still would have preferred it on ESPN+ with the multicast – I watched much more Seria A when it was on ESPN for this reason. Many leagues they just need to show more matches, like Belgian pro League and the Championship. Realistically, if they don’t have EPL, CL or MLS, they kind of need a critical mass of everything else to make it compelling for soccer fans (or me at least). Maybe they should try to buy out Bein Sports after this World Cup – that whole channel is ESPN+ content, I would like Ligue 1 and Libertadores.

    The ESPN+ app is in my view by far the best sports streaming app out there. My only complaint is that its not very good at tracking shows. It’s great at recommending live things to watch, always suggests the best game for me, but it never recommends ESPN FC on demand even though I regularly watch it on demand.

  15. Hans Koster

    August 13, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Like others, where is the Dutch Eredivisie??? You broadcast the Belgian League. no offence. so why not the Dutch one? I have cancelled my subscription because the Dutch Eredivisie was terminated by you! Not nice… The moment it’s back, I will be back.

    • Eric

      August 14, 2022 at 5:30 pm

      I’m with you, Hans. I have just cancelled my subscription to ESPN+. If the Eredivisie returns, so will I.

  16. Eric

    August 13, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Any news on the Eredivisie?

    Week 1 has passed. Week 2 begins today.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 13, 2022 at 11:26 am

      Eredivisie still playing hard to get. Hopefully they’ll wise up soon and agree a deal.

      • Eric

        August 13, 2022 at 7:38 pm

        Thanks, Christopher!

        I tried sending a message directly to the Eredivisie though their website, but had no success.
        I’ll try sending a message directly to Ajax and see if that does any good.

        • Richard Tuinstra

          August 15, 2022 at 12:23 pm

          Same here.I contacted the Eredivisie but they haven’t replied and that was a week ago. KNVB responded quickly but basically referred me to the Eredivisie. The ESPN + support chat has been pretty good listening to me complaining and they have started an email list of people who have asked them about the Eredivisie,

  17. Brian

    August 13, 2022 at 8:15 am

    A morning pregame show of all the games they will be streaming that day.

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