ESPN+ raises streaming subscription price by $3 per month

ESPN+ is implementing a price hike next month, raising its monthly subscription rate by $3 to just under $10.

The jump from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month goes into effect August 23 and marks a nearly 43% increase. Subscribers will be officially notified starting next week. It’s a change that Disney said in part reflects “the significantly increased scope, scale and value of ESPN+ as we continue to add significantly to both live sports and original programs & series...”

ESPN+ launched more than four years ago with a $4.99 price point.

It also looks like Disney is looking to secure ESPN+’s financial position, saying the increase “is part of an established plan to ensure ESPN+ is a profitable and strong long-term business.”

The ESPN+ annual subscription price will go from $69.99 to $99.99 per year. Notably, the change won’t impact those subscribing to the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle, which costs $13.99 per month. There also won’t be price changes for ESPN+ UFC pay-per-view events.  Both of those option prices “remain the same at this time,” according to a Disney spokersperson.

In a new Q2 U.S. SVOD tracker report from MoffettNathanson, the firm highlighted that the lower-cost Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle looks to be benefiting from a heavy marketing push.

“Penetration of Disney+ and Hulu users both reached their highest levels [in Q2] with ~63% percent of Disney+ users using Hulu and ~49% of Hulu users using Disney+,” wrote analyst Michael Nathanson.

As of April 2, ESPN+ had 22.3 million subscribers, a significant bump from the 13.8 million Disney reported for the service a year prior. In the quarter ESPN+ added 1 million net subscribers. Disney reports its fiscal third quarter 2022 results on August 10.  

In terms of value on ESPN+, Disney noted that “virtually every deal our Company does for sports now includes ESPN+ in some form.”

In roughly the past year and half that includes adding, including more than 1,000 out of market games, and PGA Tour Live, which expanded coverage hours by 3x. Both existed as standalone subscription services previously and are now part of the ESPN+ lineup. It also added some NFL rights such as an exclusive game each season and simulcasts of some Monday Night Football games, exclusive NHL games and LaLiga soccer and expanded college sports with SEC and Big 12, among other additions.

In June ESPN was reported to have retained Formula 1 rights, with a small but undisclosed number of races expected to be available exclusively on ESPN+.

Overall, ESPN+ offers more than 22,000 live events.

Other streamers have also been raising prices, including sports-centric virtual MVPD FuboTV – which dropped its lowest cost Starter plan earlier this year and migrated existing subscribers to a $70 per month Pro plan (which costs customers about $5 more per month).