A lot has been already reported here about the still in-development streaming service options by Disney for its wide variety of program content. There is the entertainment service set to debut by 2019; then there is the sports counterpart tied to ESPN, which we now know when it will launch.
It was revealed on a Monday press release by Disney that ESPN+, the sports event streaming service will start operations next week, on April 12. The online platform and its library of live sports game streams, original programming and related content will be accessible to subscribers for $5 a month.
Despite what the announcement says however, there have been concerns about what sort of live sports events that ESPN+ will be able to offer for streaming subscribers. After all, most of the major sporting leagues have given streaming rights to major broadcasters already, leaving base ESPN with a reduced selection.
What ESPN+ does have to show is still rather formidable however. They have lined up over 180 Major League Baseball games for a regular season, guaranteeing one MLB game every day. The NHL will also be available in a similar scheme, plus games from Major League Soccer, PGA and more.
In addition, Chicago-area ESPN+ subscribers will get some extra home team support with the inclusion of in-market Chicago Fire matches within the MLS. Meanwhile, a $25 add-on will get subscribers an out-of-market MLB.tv packages. ESPN+ can be availed of via ESPN.com or the ESPN mobile app, which is being renovated.
The ESPN cable sports network has been part of the Disney umbrella since The Walt Disney Company acquired it in 1996. Its success or otherwise could have an impact on the 2019 launch of Disney’s family-oriented entertainment streaming service, which also includes viewing content from Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and Pixar.