ESPN Plus
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ESPN Plus
ESPN+
ESPN+'s logo
FoundedApril 12, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-04-12)
Headquarters
United States
Area servedUnited States
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company (80%)
Hearst Communications (20%)[1]
Key peopleRussell Wolff (EVP, general manager)[2]
ParentDisney Media and Entertainment Distribution
URLplus.espn.com
UsersIncrease 10.3 million as of November 2020[3]
LaunchedApril 12, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-04-12)
Current statusActive

ESPN+ (pronounced ESPN Plus) is an over-the-top video streaming subscription service available in the United States, owned by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, in partnership with ESPN Inc., which is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Communications (which owns the remaining 20%). It is one of Disney's three flagship subscription streaming brands in the United States, alongside Disney+ and Hulu.[4]

ESPN+ is marketed as an add-on subscription on top of ESPN's core linear networks, with content similar to or having been exclusively moved to the service from ESPN3 (thus having been paywalled in comparison to WatchESPN, which offered the content at no additional charge to ESPN subscribers), such as combat sports (including coverage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Top Rank boxing), college sports, cricket, rugby union, soccer (including out-of-market Major League Soccer matches), golf (including coverage of the PGA Championship) and tennis.[5]

The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball's out-of-market sports packages (which are both, as with ESPN+, operated using technology of Disney subsidiary BAMTech) are sold through the platform as add-ons. The service also features archive content and ESPN original documentaries, and access to premium content on ESPN.com.

ESPN+ does not include access to the full ESPN linear channels, as they continue to only be available through "traditional or non-traditional" television providers. Thus, ESPN's major professional sports rights, including National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball coverage, are not included in the service.[6][5]

As of March 2019, ESPN+ is the exclusive outlet for UFC pay-per-view events, sold for an additional fee. As of February 3, 2020, the service has over 7.6 million paying subscribers. As of August 8th, 2020, ESPN+ had over 8.5 million subscribers. As of 23 November 2020 ESPN+ has 10.3 million subscribers.

History

In August 2016, The Walt Disney Company acquired a minority stake in BAMTech, a spin-out of MLB Advanced Media's streaming technology business, for $1 billion, with an option to acquire a majority stake in the future. It was also announced that Disney subsidiary ESPN was planning to develop an over-the-top service based on BAMTech technology as "an exploratory OTT project", drawing primarily from ESPN-owned rights for events not broadcast on television. ESPN already used BAMTech's platform for its TV Everywhere service WatchESPN. Disney CEO Bob Iger remarked that despite declines in the pay television industry due to cord-cutting, "live sports has really thrived, even in a world where there's so much more for people to do and to watch."[7][8]

In August 2017, Disney invoked its option to acquire a controlling stake in BAMTech, and announced that it planned to launch its ESPN OTT service in 2018, followed by a Disney entertainment OTT service in 2019 (thus ending its relationship with Netflix). At this time, Disney stated that the new ESPN service would draw from ESPN-owned sports rights, as well as MLB, NHL, and Major League Soccer content (although lacking major ESPN-owned rights such as the NBA and NFL), and that an accompanying redesign of the ESPN app would make it a "premier digital destination" for sports content.[9] During Disney's fourth-quarter earnings call, Iger revealed that the service would be known as ESPN+.[10] In December 2017, Disney announced its intent to acquire 21st Century Fox after the spin-off of certain businesses. The deal was to include the Fox Sports Networks group of regional sports networks (which Disney was ordered to divest under antitrust grounds),[11] which led to suggestions that Disney wanted to incorporate FSN's regional sports rights into the service.[12]

In February 2018, Iger stated that ESPN was aiming for a monthly price of $4.99.[6][13] ESPN+ and BAMTech were placed into the newly formed Disney business segment, Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, on March 14, 2018.[14] On April 2, 2018, ESPN announced that ESPN+ would officially launch on April 12, 2018, and confirmed its $4.99 per-month pricing.[5]

On August 21, 2018, ESPN announced that it had merged its existing ESPN Insider subscription service into ESPN+, adding access to premium ESPN.com content (such as exclusive beat reports, and advanced sports statistics and analytics tools) to the service. Both services shared the same monthly price, but ESPN Insider's existing annual subscribers were grandfathered under its previous $39.99 per-year price (as opposed to $49.99 for ESPN+), and all former ESPN Insider subscribers continued to receive the complimentary subscription to ESPN The Magazine that was part of the subscription.[15] The magazine ended print publication in September 2019.[16]

On October 31, 2018, ESPN executive Russell Wolff was named executive vice president and general manager.[2]

On August 6, 2019, Disney announced that it will offer a bundle of ESPN+ with Disney+ and the ad-supported Hulu for $12.99 per-month. The bundle was officially released on November 12, the same day of the launch of Disney+.[4]

In October 2019, ESPN+ began to add pre-roll advertising to on-demand content on the service.[17]

On October 22, 2020, it was announced that a larger amount of ESPN.com articles (primarily analysis) would become paywalled and require an ESPN+ subscription to read. It was also announced that video simulcasts of the ESPN Radio programs The Dan Le Batard Show, Greeny, The Max Kellerman Show, and Chiney & Golic Jr., as well as Jorge Ramos y Su Banda, would be moved exclusively to ESPN+ from the ESPN networks.[18]

Programming

Its launch content included boxing (including Top Rank events and archive content through 2025),[19] college sports events (including Ivy League events, with the conference having reached a 10-year media rights deal with ESPN prior to the service's launch),[20] coverage of Tennis Grand Slams, as well as international cricket (India national cricket team, Cricket Ireland, and New Zealand Cricket), soccer (including Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, the U.S. Open Cup,[21]2019 Copa America,[22] the English Football League (including Cup), Serie A,[23]Eredivisie, A-League, FFA Cup, FA Cup, and UEFA Nations League)[24] and rugby union events (including SANZAAR tournaments, Bledisloe Cup, Currie Cup, Major League Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup, and Pro14).[25] In October 2018, ESPN+ obtained the rights for the Swedish Allsvenskan and the Danish Superliga as well, declaring their intent to broadcast one match per week for each league.[26]

ESPN+ features out of market Major League Soccer matches at no additional charge for subscribers (replacing the previous MLS Live service),[27][28] and the service holds exclusive rights to all regionally televised Chicago Fire matches through 2020 (as the second MLS team, behind Los Angeles FC's deal with YouTube TV, to sell its regional rights to a streaming service).[29][30]MLB.tv and NHL.tv (which are operated by BAMTech) are also available for purchase within the ESPN+ platform, and offer daily games during their regular seasons for ESPN+ subscribers.[5]

PGA Tour Live (which was also ran by BAMTech) was included for the 2018 PGA Tour season, but moved to NBC Sports Gold in 2019.[31] ESPN+ will offer supplemental feeds during the PGA Championship beginning 2020, including during CBS broadcast windows.[32] In 2022, PGA Tour Live will return to ESPN+ as part of a new long-term deal with the PGA Tour through 2030.[33]

In March 2019, the American Athletic Conference announced a 12-year media rights deal with ESPN, under which ESPN+ will carry the majority of events not aired by ESPN's linear channels.[34][35][36]

In May 2019, it was announced that ESPN+ would carry 18 World TeamTennis matches.[37]

In September 2019, ESPN+ announced its acquisition of rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer league beginning in 2020, under a six-year deal.[38] In the 2019-20 season, ESPN+ acquired the third-tier media rights for all but two Big 12 Conference teams (excluding Oklahoma and Texas, which have separate contracts with Fox and the ESPN-run Longhorn Network), carrying the games as part of a branded portal known as Big 12 Now.[39][40]

During the 2020 Major League Baseball season's Wild Card Series round, ESPN+ aired Squeeze Play--which featured live look-ins and analysis of the seven series ESPN held rights to (in a similar manner to the ESPN Bases Loaded service it offered during the NCAA baseball tournament), as well as Statcast broadcasts of selected games.[41][42]

On October 22, 2020, ESPN announced that starting on November 9, 2020, simulcasts of ESPN Radio shows would be moved to ESPN+ with the branding of ESPN Radio TV on ESPN+. They will be available to watch live, and also be available on demand later on. They also announced that Jorge Ramos y Su Banda would move from ESPN Deportes to ESPN+, joining fellow Spanish show Fuera de Juego.

UFC

In May 2018, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced new five-year digital and linear television rights deals with ESPN, effective January 2019. 20 live UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night events per-year will be streamed exclusively by the service, as well as preliminaries for 10 live UFC on ESPN Fight Night events per-year. ESPN+ will also hold rights to supplemental content such as Dana White's Contender Series, archive content and PPV encores, and offer sales of UFC Fight Pass within the platform.[43][44][45] The first ESPN+ event, UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw, generated 525,000 new subscribers on the day of the event alone.[46]

On March 18, 2019, it was announced that ESPN had reached a two-year extension of its contract with the UFC. Beginning at UFC 236, it is also the exclusive U.S. carrier of all UFC pay-per-view events for residential customers. Viewers must have an active ESPN+ subscription in order to purchase future UFC pay-per-views, and they are no longer sold through television providers.[47]

Sports rights

The service focuses primarily on overflow content similar to that of ESPN's existing digital service ESPN3 (which is distributed to subscribers of participating internet and television subscribers), though some of ESPN3's content has been shifted exclusively to ESPN+.[48]

Professional sports

Baseball

Hockey

Combat sport

Tennis

Golf

Association football

 United States

 Europe

 England

 Germany

 Italy

 Netherlands

 Denmark

 Sweden

 Australia

 China

 India

 Scotland

Rugby

Cricket

Lacrosse

Canadian football

Auto Racing

Esports

College Sports

American football

Basketball

Original programming

ESPN+ also carries ESPN original programming and documentaries, such as the 30 for 30 franchise (with some premiering on ESPN+ prior to their premiere on ESPN), and exclusive original series and studio programs:[6][5]

Other programming

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.bamtechmedia.com/news/2018/04/12/espn-app-and-espn-plus
  2. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (October 31, 2018). "Disney Puts Longtime ESPN Exec Russell Wolff in Charge of ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Disney Plus blows past expectations for its first year with 73.7 million subscribers". CNBC. November 12, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ a b Alexander, Julia (2019-08-06). "Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+". The Verge. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b c d e "ESPN+ will launch on April 12th for $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b c "Disney sets price for new ESPN Plus streaming service at $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "What's Behind Disney's $1 Billion Investment in Major League Baseball's Digital Arm". Variety. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Miller, Daniel (August 9, 2016). "Walt Disney Co. buys stake in video streaming service BAMTech". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Spangler, Todd (August 8, 2017). "Disney to End Netflix Deal, Sets Launch of ESPN and Disney-Branded Streaming Services". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Disney Touts 2 New Streaming Services, Including ESPN Plus and One With a Live-Action Star Wars Series". Adweek. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Disney's pursuit of Fox RSNs could be big boost for ESPN". FierceCable. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Lang, Brent (2018-02-06). "ESPN Streaming Service Coming This Spring for $4.99". Variety. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Wang, Christine (March 14, 2018). "Disney announces strategic reorganization, effective immediately". CNBC. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-08-21). "ESPN Insider Subscribers Being Switched to ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "ESPN The Magazine To Cease Publishing In September". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Alexander, Julia. "ESPN+ has started running pre-roll ads, frustrating paying subscribers". The Verge. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ Feldman, Jacob (2020-10-22). "ESPN to Move Writers to ESPN+ While Adding Radio Show Telecasts". Sportico.com. Retrieved .
  19. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-08-02). "ESPN Sets Landmark Boxing Deal With Top Rank Through 2025". Deadline. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "Smart TV: ESPN+ to air over 1,100 Ivy games". ESPN.com. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "ESPN+ signs deal for exclusive U.S. Open Cup rights through 2022". Awful Announcing. 2019-04-05. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "Copa America rights snaffled by ESPN+". SportsPro. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "ESPN enters into multi-year deal with Italy's Serie A". Washington Post. Retrieved .
  24. ^ a b "ESPN reveals entire soccer programming setup for ESPN+ that include MLS, UEFA matches and exclusive documentaries". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-06. Retrieved .
  25. ^ Theisen, Lauren. "ESPN's New $4.99-A-Month Service Is Taking Away Some Programming On ESPN3". Deadspin. Retrieved .
  26. ^ https://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2018/10/espn-and-espn-acquire-rights-to-coppa-italia-and-supercoppa-italiana/
  27. ^ "ESPN's Web Service Gains Exclusive Pro Soccer Rights". Bloomberg.com. 2018-02-13. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "How to watch out-of-market MLS matches in 2018". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ "FAQs: Chicago Fire on ESPN+". Chicago Fire. March 9, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ Pimiento, Juan. "Chicago Fire sign exclusive TV deal with ESPN+ streaming service". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved .
  31. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-07-31). "NBC Sports, PGA Tour Ink Three-Year Deal for Live-Streaming Golf Subscription Package (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved .
  32. ^ Ourand, John; Lombardo, John (October 10, 2018). "PGA Championship Leaving TNT For ESPN In '20, Re-Ups With CBS". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "CBS, NBC re-up with the PGA Tour in a 9-year, $6.3 billion deal". adage.com. 2020-03-09. Retrieved .
  34. ^ "ESPN signs 12-year, $1 billion deal with AAC, moves lots of games to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2019-03-19. Retrieved .
  35. ^ "AAC, ESPN Agree To 12-Year Media-Rights Deal Worth $1B". www.sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved .
  36. ^ Murschel, Matt. "AAC leader Mike Aresco touts new media rights deal, addresses ESPN+ criticism". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved .
  37. ^ World TeamTennis. "WTT 2019: HOW TO WATCH WORLD TEAMTENNIS". World TeamTennis. Retrieved .
  38. ^ "ESPN+ snags US rights to Bundesliga soccer starting in 2020". Engadget. Retrieved .
  39. ^ Moyle, Nick (2019-07-15). "Big 12 notes: Conference gets presence on ESPN+". HoustonChronicle.com. Retrieved .
  40. ^ "ESPN's expanded Big 12 rights deal adds OTT extension". SportsPro Media. Retrieved .
  41. ^ Dachman, Jason. "MLB Postseason: ESPN Modifies REMI Model To Produce Up to 21 Wild Card Games in Four Days". Sports Video Group. Retrieved .
  42. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Jason Benetti -- with 6 screens and pizza -- will do ESPN Plus Statcast streams for the postseason from his living room: 'I'm thinking I might do thin crust'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved .
  43. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-05-08). "ESPN Enters The Octagon With UFC Streaming Deal". Deadline. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "Report: ESPN wrestles UFC television-rights deal away from Fox Sports". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved .
  45. ^ "Report: ESPN lands UFC television rights deal, reportedly worth $150 million per year". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved .
  46. ^ Alexander, Mookie (2019-01-21). "UFC's ESPN+ debut pulls in 525,000 new subscribers on Saturday night". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved .
  47. ^ "ESPN Extends With UFC; ESPN+ Becomes Exclusive PPV Provider". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved .
  48. ^ https://dtcimedia.disney.com/espn-plus/programming
  49. ^ "Kobe Bryant to produce and star in new basketball analysis show 'Detail,' to air on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-05. Retrieved .
  50. ^ "Peyton Manning to host NFL themed "Detail" show on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-10-17. Retrieved .
  51. ^ "Inside Daniel Cormier's mind for breaking down fight film". ESPN.com. 2019-06-30. Retrieved .
  52. ^ https://clutchpoints.com/bulls-news-phil-jackson-to-break-down-game-3-of-1998-nba-finals-in-kobe-bryants-detail/
  53. ^ a b "Quest for the Stanley Cup moves from Showtime to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-13. Retrieved .
  54. ^ "ESPN+ To Live Stream Hundreds of Soccer Matches". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved .
  55. ^ "Disney kicks off its streaming future today with ESPN+". The Verge. Retrieved .
  56. ^ "The Long Read: Will Disney's push over the top see ESPN reclaim the summit?". SportsPro. Retrieved .
  57. ^ "TV networks will be panning for talent as part of the rush to claim gambling gold". Sporting News. 2018-06-12. Retrieved .
  58. ^ Lucia, Joe (2 May 2018). "New ESPN digital shows include Katie Nolan late night show, daily SportsCenter series in ESPN app". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2018.
  59. ^ Marchand, Andrew (5 September 2019). "ESPN's plan to reignite Katie Nolan's show". The New York Post. Retrieved 2019.
  60. ^ "Peyton Manning to Host New ESPN+ Original Series "Peyton's Places"". The Futon Critic. April 15, 2019.
  61. ^ "NFL Primetime is returning to ESPN, but behind the ESPN+ paywall". Awful Announcing. 2019-09-13. Retrieved .
  62. ^ "Does the new NFL Primetime on ESPN+ still hold up in today's streaming world?". Awful Announcing. 2019-09-17. Retrieved .
  63. ^ Schwegman, Huntyr. "ESPN+ documentary 'Miles to Go' premieres, follows Kansas football into new era". The University Daily Kansan. Retrieved .

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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