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ESPN+ Adds 4.2 Million Subscribers to Hit 21.3 Million - Up 76% Since Last Year

Jeff Kotuby

After a strong 2021, ESPN+ today reported a gain of 4.2 million subscribers by the end of Q1 2022, putting them at 21.3 million in total.

2021 was a banner year for ESPN+, as it added a wide variety of sports content throughout the year. Among the biggest was the return of the NHL to ESPN airwaves, which has a critical presence on ESPN+, offering what seems like one or two games every night. ESPN+ also added the PHF (formerly NWHL,) Russia's KHL, and college hockey federations like the ECAC too.

Last year also saw ESPN extend its rights with the MLB, including more games coming to ESPN+. ESPN will air 30 MLB games per year, including 25 Sunday Night Baseball games, the national MLB game of the week, and the MLB Little League Classic. We’ll also be able to watch some alternate broadcasts similar to the wildly-popular “ManningCast” (which was also available on ESPN+), including the “Kay-Rod” broadcast featuring former MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez and announcer Michael Kay.

The UFC factored heavily into ESPN+, as the platform aired some part of 45 UFC events, including 13 numbered events and 17 “Fight Night” events. We also saw another price increase for UFC PPVs in January 2021, which then happened again in January 2022. Now, UFC PPVs cost $74.99, which started with UFC 270.

We also saw PGA Tour Golf receive expanded coverage on ESPN+ which started in 2022. In December, ESPN and the PGA Tour announced an expanded streaming agreement, including the inaugural season of PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+, which tripled the total coverage available previously. The new initiative added more than 3,200 new hours of live streaming available for a total of more than 4,300 exclusive hours.

Additionally, ESPN+ will now be the home of LaLiga soccer, NLL lacrosse, Wimbledon tennis,

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine for ESPN, though, especially when it comes to its linear cable service. ESPN announced last November it lost another 10 percent of its cable subscribers but ESPN+ steadily grew throughout the year. ESPN+ grew 66 percent from 2020 to 2021, and Disney hopes the “little streaming platform that could” will grow even more throughout 2022. With a full year of dedicated sports coverage coming right to ESPN+, anything short of a massive growth spurt would likely be seen as a disappointment.

ESPN+

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 $6.99 / month per month or annually for $69.99 / year.

You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL and MLS game with NHL.TV and MLS LIVE.

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.

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