Disney Launches New ESPN+ Streaming Service

Courtesy of ESPN

Courtesy of ESPN

The streaming is at up to HD, 60fps quality, bandwidth depending, and there's the ability to pause, rewind, and restart both on-demand and live content. ESPN+ will offer add-ons, too, initially for those who want to add MLB.TV to their service.

The new subscription service will cost $4.99 and offer MLB, NHL and numerous other sports that don't normally appear on ESPN, according to an ESPN press release. A 7-day free trial is available, extended to 30 days for users who sign up before April 18th.

According to ESPN's official statement, ESPN+ is a "direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and worldwide in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content".

"I, personally, am incredibly excited about the potential", new ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro told reporters at the company's CT headquarters. Instead, he suggested that it's created to appeal to a variety of sports fans, including "core ESPN fans" who are "hungry for even more sports", as well as those who follow sports like cricket, rugby and soccer, which have been "historically underserved". With this launch, fans will find a re-imagined, easy to use and increasingly personalized experience that puts all of ESPN's incredible content at their fingertips like never before. There's one free Major League Baseball and NHL game a day during the regular season, but you can only watch them if you're out-of-market.

The ESPN+ launch is part of a broader redesign of the ESPN app that's also launching today. Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney's direct-to-consumer and worldwide unit, has said that ESPN+ may lose money for "some number of years, not huge". "This new product reflects our direct-to-consumer strategy focused on combining our beloved brands with our proprietary, industry-leading technology to give users unparalleled access to our world-class content". And then there's PGA Tour live golf, Grand Slam tennis matches from Wimbledon, US Open and the Australian Open, as well as rugby and cricket - the latter two are some of the most popular sports globally and will appeal to certain groups of people living in the US.

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We've been saying this for a long time; more recently, executives from ESPN and its owners at Disney have been saying it as well.

ESPN is getting in on the streaming wars. You will be able to view ESPN documentaries, and an original National Basketball Association show called Detail that will be written and hosted by Kobe Bryant.

But the app has a whole new look ("Let's get out of the way of the content and let the content really show", Pitaro said). The powerful technological platform surfaces ESPN content based on favorite teams, sports and leagues, as well as ESPN's award-winning journalism and personalities.

Apple: iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. As of today, ESPN+ can be viewed on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and the web, though the lack of Roku support is going to be a turn off for many cordcutters.

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