ESPN+ Streamed Over 27,000 Live Events in 2022, Proving Viability of Sports Streaming
There has been a lot of hesitancy among professional sports leagues in the United States to completely embrace streaming as their primary broadcasting format. After all, pay-TV sources have been the primary home of sports leagues for decades, which means customers are used to that experience, and leagues still see high revenues from advertising and lucrative broadcast deals with major networks, even if the linear TV model is declining.
But there can be no doubt that sports on streaming will find a way to surmount these difficulties, especially when considering the year that ESPN+ just had. ESPN+ streamed 27,500 live events in 2022 and saw its paid subscribers grow from 17.1 million to 24.3 million. Users can subscribe to ESPN+ as a standalone service for $9.99 per month, or bundle it to Disney+ and Hulu for big savings.
The year’s successes at ESPN+ once again point to just how big a draw pro football is in the United States. The streamer’s first-ever exclusive NFL game on Oct. 30 between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos was the most-watched live event in ESPN+ history. This is especially impressive considering the game was between two teams with losing records and it started at 9:30 a.m. ET, meaning that fans in Denver had to wake up at 7:30 a.m. to watch it.
ESPN+’s successes in the last year were not only due to its live sports slate. The service is also home to over 3,500 hours of original sports shows, like “Peyton's Places” and the “30 For 30” documentary library. Sports-related shows were the fastest growing genre in terms of fan engagement between 2019 and 2022 across all genres, which demonstrates that future sports streaming services can feature more than just live events, as ESPN+ does currently.
UFC events were also a big part of ESPN+’s gains in 2022, as the service hosted a total of 53 title fights. The numbers should give ESPN’s parent company Disney good leverage as UFC’s parent company Endeavor seeks a potential extension of the contract between the two entities.
ESPN+ also offers NHL hockey, NBA basketball, MLB baseball and a wide array of men’s and women’s college sports. Conversations and speculation about merging ESPN and ESPN+ into a single, direct-to-consumer streaming service will continue, but ESPN+ has proven one thing beyond all doubt: sports on streaming can be incredibly successful, as long as a service has a strong brand and a multitude of content offerings.
ESPN+ is a live TV streaming service that gives access to thousands of live sporting events, original shows like Peyton’s Place, the entire library of 30 for 30, E:60, The Last Dance, as well exclusive written analysis from top ESPN insiders.
The service can be subscribed for $9.99 / mois per month or annually for $99.99 / an.
You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL with NHL Power Play (previously NHL.TV). For NFL Fans, they have an exclusive NFL game, and simulcast select Monday Football games.
The service has some of the most attractive soccer coverage including Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredevise and more.
College sports fans will be able to watch thousands of games and events including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf, and more.
For boxing and UFC fans, the service offers Top Rank boxing and will be the home of 15 exclusive UFC events.
ESPN+ now includes exclusive insights from analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay (which used to be part of ESPN Insider), as well as premium Fantasy Tools & PickCenter.
What it does not include is most live sports that air on ESPN et ESPN2.
To get access to those channels you have to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. We suggest reading our guide on How to Watch ESPN without Cable.