When ESPN+ launched there were a number of predictable headlines along the lines of “Cord-cutters can now get ESPN without cable” The people writing those headlines had apparently not explored the offerings from ESPN+ ahead of penning the incorrect statements. No ESPN+ is not like some of the other plus services in that it is not a replacement for the service one would access via a pay-tv subscription. Disney considers ESPN+ a supplemental offering.
It is a separate service with a lot of sports to offer but not one that replicates the programming found on the main ESPN channel, nor its siblings like ESPN2, ESPNU, and the like. What it does have is a goodly amount of Major League Baseball, Access to out-of-market NHL games, college sports from Football and basketball to Olympic sports and a lot of other stuff in between including the Canadian Football League.
ESPN+ is also the home of ESPN’s film library including programming like the 30 for 30 documentaries and original shows from Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.
Now if you are looking for something inexpensive that will feature plenty of sports to watch ESPN+ fits the bill. There is college football and basketball on ESPN+. The difference between it and the main ESPN channels is that ESPN+ does not have the rights to stream top-tier games. For instance. If it’s Saturday afternoon and Notre Dame is playing USC on ABC, ESPN+ may be airing Elon vs Iona. Is it a college football game? Yes. But it is not the one everyone will be talking about on the morning sports show Monday unless something really Amazing or horrible happens during the contest.
ESPN+ and the ESPN app may one day be a whole other animal if Disney decides its time to take its powerful pay-TV-based product directly to consumers. But that day has not come yet and does not look like it is on the horizon anytime soon.