ESPN+ Adds 600K Subscribers in Q1 2023 to Grow to 24.9M
On Wednesday, as part of its first-quarter earnings report for the 2023 fiscal year, Disney revealed that ESPN+ had grown to 24.9 million total subscribers. That’s an increase of 600,000 users over the 24.3 million users the service reported last quarter, and a year-over-year increase of 3.6M from the 22.3M it had in Q1 of 2022.
Hulu reported adding 800,000 customers to rise to 48 million subscribers, while Disney+ dropped 2.4 million subscribers on a decline of 3.8 million customers in the India-based Disney+ HotStar service. The new numbers mean that Disney’s collective streaming total of 234.7M customers — combining with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ — is again above Netflix's global subscriber count of 230.75M. Disney’s numbers do not account for overlap from the Disney Bundle, which the company claims accounts for over 40% of its total subscriber count.
ESPN+ still serves as the streaming home of the UFC, whose parent company Endeavor would reportedly be interested in renewing the rights agreement between the two sides soon. ESPN+ streams UFC fights in a pay-per-view format, and fans were likely not thrilled to see pay-per-view prices increase at the end of 2022.
The service went a long way toward proving that sports can be successful in a streaming-only format in 2022. ESPN+ streamed more than 27,000 sporting events last year, and 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.
Disney is clearly hoping ESPN+ is able to build on that success in 2023. The platform will host more than 200 hours of professional pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, this year. ESPN+ will also offer 23 games from the 2023 Clearwater Invitational College Softball Tournament, which features some of the best college softball teams in the nation.
The upcoming year will be one to watch for ESPN+. Disney is looking toward any and all solutions to stem its climbing streaming losses, and some analysts think that could lead to the company spinning off ESPN. If that happens, it would make for a seismic shift in both the sports and entertainment worlds.
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 / month per month or annually for $99.99 / year.
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 and 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.