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Stand-alone streaming service ESPN+ launches, offering sports on the go

In November, Disney finally announced its new ESPN+ streaming service after teasing it in August, but didn’t confirm what it would cost or when it would arrive. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed in February during an interview on CNBC’s Closing Bell that the service would cost £5 per month. Now the service is available as part of the updated ESPN app.

At launch, the updated app is available for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast devices, with others assumed to follow. You can also watch via the ESPN.com website. A seven-day free trial of the service is available, and if you sign up before April 18, the trial is extended to 30 days.

The plus sign in the name is telling, in that there isn’t currently much content at all that you would find on ESPN on TV that is also available on ESPN+. For the vast majority of content on ESPN, ESPN 2, and the network’s other channels, you’ll still need a pay TV subscription.

So what is available via ESPN+ then? When it comes to live sports, you’ll find MLB, NHL, MLS Games, Top Rank Boxing, PGA Tour Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, thousands of college sports events, and more.

As for the on-demand library, ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series is available, with some available exclusively through the service like The Last Days of Knight, which premiers tomorrow. Other original content includes Detail, a basketball analysis series hosted by Kobe Bryant. For NFL fans, Draft Academy is another piece of original programming that offers “a behind-the-scenes look at top prospects leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.” Other planned content includes NHL highlight show In The Crease and daily soccer news show ESPN FC.

One extra bonus for baseball fans is that they can buy the entire MLB.tv out-of-market package via ESPN+ for an extra £25 per month. Starting with the 2018-2019 season, this will extend to hockey fans as well, who will be able to purchase the NHL.tv out-of-market package the same way. Of course, this is just the start of Disney’s streaming strategy.

In November, the company announced it would pull Disney and Marvel content from Netflix as it was launching its own streaming service in 2019. ESPN+ is likely at least partly intended to help the company work out the kinks of launching a streaming service before the Disney service launches. While ESPN+ won’t let you watch Sportscenter without a pay TV subscription, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with cable.

If you’re looking for a switch, make sure to check our guide to the best live-TV streaming services.

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