The answer is here. Sporting fans are willing to stream. Disney took a huge jump and launched the long-awaited ESPN+ just five months ago. Offering exclusive content that coincides with hot events like the NFL Draft, Disney has seen huge success with the new service. The House of the Mouse touted that ESPN+ has already topped one million paid subscribers in under half a year.
What is ESPN+?
As we were following, ESPN+ is an over-the-top venture crafted by Disney. They created ESPN+, not as an alternative to the ESPN we are accustomed to on cable networks. Instead, ESPN+ offers original content discussing games on local networks and ESPN.
In addition, ESPN+ offered coverage on events that aren’t aired on their cable networks. This allowed fans of more niche sports to find an outlet to enjoy the games they know and love.
ESPN+ fans have been treated to content such as:
- UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night
- Canadian League Football (CFL)
- Exclusive Rights to Chicago Fire Soccer Matches
- Tennis Grand Slams
- Rugby Union
- Cricket New Zealand and Ireland
While you can’t watch traditional National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) through ESPN+, they do have add-ons for some sports fanatics. You can upgrade to get NHL.tv and MLB.tv services through the ESPN+ app.
Where Did ESPN+ Get So Many Subscribers So Fast?
ESPN+ is extremely affordable for those who can’t get enough sports. At just $5 per month you not only get all of this niche content but also access to some of ESPN’s back catalog. This includes archives of the network’s critically acclaimed 30 for 30 series.
While ESPN is touting they have one million paid subscribers, the number they actually have is closer to two million. That’s because about million who were apart of the ESPN Insider service prior to the launch of ESPN+ were offered a subscription.
Since, then some have converted to more expensive tiers, such as the add-ons we discussed above.
Disney addressed the subscriber count, releasing a statement that concluded,
“The vast majority of the 1 million are new subscribers, who’ve signed up for ESPN+ since its launch in April. Adding ESPN Insider to ESPN+ did add some subscribers, but they account for a significant minority of the total.”– Disney
Seeing the success that niche services offering CFL and cricket can be gives Disney more hope for their financial future.
ESPN+ and the Disney Streaming Service
While sports fans are a big market, there isn’t a more devoted fan base than the House of the Mouse. Adults love their Mickey and children love their Stitch. Disney has a huge and highly-regarded video vault and they have been looking to launch their own streaming service for quite some time.
As the Disney and Netflix relationship comes to an end, ESPN+ has been sort of the company’s guinea pig as to how OTT works. Clearly, they have a handle of the situation. So, expect great things when the Disney streaming service finally launches.