ESPN3 can be a confusing resource for sports fans. Currently, streaming dominates the sports media landscape. Unsurprisingly, ESPN has a couple ways for sports fans to watch their programs that may not make it to linear television.
ESPN3 started as a way for fans to watch sports that did not air on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 or other affiliated channels. Originally, ESPN3 had its own app to watch these sporting events. Eventually, that app phased out and joined with Watch ESPN, the main streaming app now used by ESPN. Watch ESPN existed for a decade, but since changed with the developing streaming landscape.
In that timeframe, ESPN launched ESPN+, a paid-streaming service that now costs $6.99 per month. To keep things organized, ESPN combined ESPN3, Watch ESPN, and ESPN+ into a broader ESPN app.
So, what is the difference? Well, it all stems from what you already have against what requires an extra subscription. All events and programs that ESPN holds the rights to are on the ESPN app. However, ESPN3’s content comes with a cable, satellite or streaming TV option. Or, in some cases, an internet provider allows access to ESPN3. This does not require a different subscription outside of what you pay for your TV or internet.
ESPN+ does require an additional subscription. Many lesser known or less popular sports go through ESPN+. Unfortunately, much of this includes ESPN’s slate of soccer coverage.
ESPN3 leans towards the English side of broadcasts. However, there are times when some sports, especially when more popular, provide the option of English or Spanish broadcasts.
Finally, one provider actually made ESPN3 its own channel. Sling has its own section devoted to the channel, allowing users to pick any of the games on ESPN3. This includes a decent amount of soccer coverage.
As a content provider, ESPN owns the rights to a number of major leagues and competitions. LaLiga and Copa del Rey, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, UEFA European Championships and World Cup Qualifiers and MLS action are just a few examples.
Due to the nature of soccer and the overlapping games in each time slot, games get bumped to ESPN3 regularly. The main challenge is trying to figure out which games are available with your TV subscription and which require ESPN+.
To be safe, an ESPN+ subscription is recommended. ESPN3 provides access to games that would be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News or ESPNU. However, ESPN does leave exclusive content for ESPN+. For example, the FA Cup goes solely through the paid-subscription service. Select MLS games are available through ESPN3, but the majority of European leagues, and some other leagues around the world, only use ESPN+.
Here’s our comprehensive listing of the different soccer channels available:
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