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How to Watch Live Sports on ESPN+: MLB, UFC, Hockey, Soccer, and More

ESPN+ is a good option for sports fanatics looking to watch live sports without cable. Read on for more information about live sports on the service.

Hedy Phillips

ESPN has been one of the biggest names in American sports broadcasting for decades. ESPN+ is essentially a companion service to the main networks. For those without cable TV, this is a good way to watch live sporting events. However, ESPN+ is somewhat limited on which live games you'll be able to see.

ESPN Plus iPad

ESPN+

The streaming service doesn't broadcast the same events you'll find on other ESPN networks. Instead, ESPN+ airs an array of select games from across pro and college leagues. Devices like Roku and Fire TV Stick with the ESPN+ app allows you to watch ESPN live sporting events in the comfort of your own home.

A subscription to ESPN+ runs $10/mo., or you have the option to sign up for an annual plan for $100/yr. Unfortunately, there's not an ESPN+ free trial at the moment. But, if you want to save some cash and you're interested in streaming other titles besides sports, you can also check out the Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu bundle. The bundle including Hulu is $14/mo., and the bundle with Hulu (No Ads) is $20/mo. 

For casual fans looking for an inexpensive and widely available way to watch live sports, this service gives you access to daily MLB and NHL games during regular seasons, but it doesn't carry any live NFL or NBA events at the moment. However, ESPN+ holds contracts with a variety of leagues, some of which are international, so you may be surprised at how many ESPN live stream games you'll be able to watch using the service.

What Sports are on ESPN+?

If you're looking for access to pro leagues, ESPN+ carries a solid lineup of live games from the  MLB, NHL, and MLS during each league's regular season. The service airs at least one game from each league daily, but you won't be able to choose which game you want to watch. And just like other streaming services, ESPN+ is subject to local blackout restrictions. While most of the titles on ESPN+ is ad-free, the streams of live games have advertisements, just like regular TV. 

ESPN+ shines when it comes to college sports coverage. You'll be able to stream games and tournaments of all kinds from many different conferences around the country. You'll be able to catch popular college sports like football and basketball, and ESPN+ also includes coverage for many of the more esoteric college sports like gymnastics and lacrosse. And international soccer fans can also see many hard-to-find matches streaming from Europe.

Baseball

One of the best features subscribers get is the ability to tune in to over 180 MLB games during the regular season. ESPN+ broadcasts an MLB game live seven days a week. However, you might not be able to watch some of the games, depending on the blackout restrictions where you live. The games ESPN+ airs feature different teams, so fans should have the opportunity to see matches with their favorite clubs a few times in the season. 

Aside from MLB games, ESPN+ carries hundreds of live college baseball and softball games every year. The games that ESPN+ airs include titles from a variety of conferences, so you'll probably be able to see teams playing for a college in your area. 

MLB New York Mets baseball

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Dominic Smith #2 of the New York Mets celebrates with Francisco Lindor #12, and Kevin Pillar #11 of the New York Mets after hitting a three run home run in the third inning against the Houston Astros in a spring training game at Clover Park on March 16, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Mark Brown/Getty Images

Hockey

ESPN+ features more than 1,000 out-of-market live games, along with 75 "exclusive" games for NHL fans. ESPN+ features a mix of games, so you should be able to watch teams from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. But due to streaming blackout restrictions, if the game is broadcast locally in your market, then it probably won't be available on ESPN+. If you're a college ice hockey fan, ESPN+ will also broadcast live games from different schools.

Soccer

ESPN+ advertises over 350+ live out-of-market soccer games. Blackout restrictions apply here too, but fans should be able to catch a good number of matches. If you're interested in the European leagues, ESPN+ features 300+ live matches from Germany's Bundesliga league and Italy's Serie A league. The service will also carry the DFL Supercup and Relegation Play-offs. Aside from pro soccer, ESPN+ also has live coverage from U.S. college soccer leagues.

Football

If you're looking for college football, ESPN+ broadcasts hundreds of live games every season. You can catch college teams from over a dozen conferences, including MVFC, Ohio Valley, Southern, and Southland. Thankfully, ESPN+ college football coverage spans both the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Football Championship Subdivision, so fans of colleges in most regions should have some games to look forward to throughout the season.

Basketball

ESPN+ includes more than 200 live college basketball conference tournament games from 18 different conferences spanning the country. These include six women's college basketball championship games. ESPN+ also features a "Bracket Predictor" for matchup analysis. You can also use the tool to project how many correct picks you have in your bracket, as well as the survival odds for each round. 

Boxing

Boxing fans can enjoy fights broadcasting live throughout the year from Top Rank Boxing. You'll be able to catch main event fights, as well as undercard matches. ESPN+ will also include re-airs of all of the Top Rank events on ESPN and re-airs of PPV events.

Golf

In 2022, ESPN+ will stream holes live from 35 PGA Tour events. You'll also have access to footage from previous PGA championships to fill your time while the current events aren't on. If you're interested, you can check out the entire list of PGA Tour coverage on ESPN+.

Tennis

Each year, ESPN+ carries hundreds of tennis matches from Grand Slam tournaments. Subscribers will be able to watch coverage from Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open, including men's and women's singles and doubles. ESPN+ doesn't appear to have streaming rights for the French Open at the moment. But the service does carry U.S. college tennis matches from different conferences.

Novak Djokovic

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Other Live Sports

College sports fans can tune into ESPN+ for live coverage of gymnastics, lacrosse, swimming and diving, track and field, and wrestling. If you're looking for rugby, ESPN+ will stream matches from SANZAAR, which includes coverage from Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the Lions Series, Mitre10 Cup, Currie Cup, Bledisloe Cup. And cricket fans can enjoy matches from New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Ireland.

How to Watch UFC PPV and Fight Night Events on ESPN Plus?

UFC Pay-Per-View (PPV) events and UFC Fight Nights are both available to stream with ESPN+. Fight Nights are generally available with the regular subscription, but the UFC PPV events must be purchased separately. Subscribers can buy PPV events through ESPN+ for $75 each. However, if you're a new subscriber, you can sign up for the ESPN+ annual plan and get one UFC PPV event for $125.

Meanwhile, all of the PPV events stream in HD.

What's Not Included Live on ESPN+?

While ESPN+ gives subscribers a lot of live games to choose from, it's a separate service from the main networks, so you won't be able to watch the games broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you're looking for live coverage of NFL or NBA games, as ESPN+ does not carry pro football or pro basketball live games right now.

Our Final Take

Considering how many live games come with the service, ESPN+ is a good deal at $10/mo. But for the big American pro leagues, this service will not grant you comprehensive coverage for any team.

Instead, there's a little bit of everything in both the on-demand library and live sports offerings. As for how to watch ESPN+, you can sign up for ESPN+ year round. 

If you want to follow a team throughout their season, we recommend trying out Hulu + Live TV or fuboTV. Both of these live TV streaming services have many sports networks available. But if you're just looking for an occasional MLB or NHL game to watch, ESPN+ will do the trick.

Though there isn't an ESPN+ free trial right now, there has been in the past and there could be again in the future if you're willing to wait it out. And if you want other streaming services as well, the Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu bundle is definitely worth your time.