Published on April 2nd, 2018 | by Brad Gibson2
ESPN+ service to launch on updated Apple TV app April 12th, sources say
Disney announced Monday that ESPN+, the network’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, is launching on April 12th – priced at $4.99 per month – and sources have confirmed it will be available on Apple TV.
While the company did not officially comment in a press statement on what platforms the previously-announced service would support, BESTAppleTV.com has learned it will be available through the existing ESPN app on Apple TV with an update to be released sometime on launch day.
BESTAppleTV.com has also learned through reliable sources that the service will offer a free seven-day trial. A 12-month subscription price of $49.99 will be available, a savings of $9.89 over the monthly rate for one year.
The programming of the existing eight ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, the Longhorn Network, and the SEC Network) will be integrated together with ESPN+ into one experience on the same app. Customers with a paid subscription authentication will still be able to watch all the programming they get today from ESPN regardless if they subscribe to the new service or not.
ESPN+ will include live sports, original shows and films (like its 30 for 30 documentaries that were all recently removed from Netflix), exclusive studio programs and an on-demand library. It will offer one Major League Baseball game and one National Hockey League game per day throughout the regular seasons for each sport, amounting to more than 180 baseball and hockey games each season, with blackout rules applying.
The service will also include a year-round boxing schedule, more than 250 Major League Soccer matches and college sports including golf, gymnastics, football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, and more from conferences including the America East, ASun, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, WAC and others.
The service is also promising more than 100 days of coverage from 31 PGA Tour events, hundreds of tennis matches from tournaments like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open as well as hundreds of rugby and cricket matches.
Users can add on MLB.TV through the service for an additional $24.99 per month. Add-on access to the NHL.TV out-of-market package will debut with the 2018 season, the company said.
What was not announced is just as important as what was. ESPN made no mention of National Basketball Association or National Football League content, such as Monday Night Football or the two weekly NBA games that are part of the ESPN broadcast networks. That content will be off-limits on the app to ESPN+ subscribers who do not have a paid subscription authentication to those eight networks.
The launch of ESPN+ comes at a time when the broadcast industry is suffering from consumers cord-cutting of cable and satellite services in favor of cheaper, smaller bundles of programming and consequently less live sports viewing. ESPN+ doesn’t appear to be targeting cord-cutters, but instead are trying to entice its existing viewers interested in more sports, not less.
To ensure the ESPN app is updated on April 12th, the automatic update mode must be activated on Apple TV devices by going to Settings>Apps> and making sure the ‘Automatically Update Apps’ setting is turned ‘On’.