Credit: ESPN

If you’re a sports fan, ESPN is something you almost can’t do without. The networks air so many games, and following a sport without access is nearly impossible.

For the first time soon, you’ll be able to watch ESPN without buying a cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscription. Instead, you’ll be able to simply pay for ESPN (and its related networks).

Below, we look at the three ESPN streaming products that are in the works.

ESPN Direct To Consumer (DTC)

When will it launch? Fall 2025, perhaps as early as August

What is it? Details remain sparse, but it’s envisioned as a service giving subscribers access to all networks under the ESPN umbrella.

How is it different? This is the first time someone could receive access to ESPN cable networks without a cable, satellite, or virtual multichannel programming distributor bundle subscription.

How much will it cost? A price point has yet to be announced. Estimates start at $25, but some have been higher.

What sports would be included? Everything on ESPN networks, including MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL games, along with college basketball, football, and so on.

What else would you potentially need to have in addition to this? Even with access to all the ESPN networks, you’d still need a cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscription if you wanted to watch live games on cable networks such as FS1, TBS, TNT, or USA. An antenna would take care of watching games on broadcast networks CBS, Fox, or NBC.

Some of these games can be bridged with subscriptions to Max, Paramount+, and/or Peacock, which give access to games on cable (in the case of Max, with an extra subscription to the B/R Sports Add-On) or broadcast networks (Paramount+ for CBS, Peacock for NBC).

What people would be interested in this product? Due to the exclusivity ESPN has over both the ACC and SEC, fans of teams in either conference would be prime targets to subscribe. NBA and NHL fans are also prime targets, assuming the NBA signs a new rights deal with Disney, due to the sheer amount of exclusive national games airing on ESPN networks. Given that both sports share the same national partner in TNT Sports, fans would be covered with subscriptions to both the ESPN DTC service and Max.

What could you cancel if you got this? The only thing you could reasonably cancel is your cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscription.

ESPN/Fox/Warner Bros. Discovery joint venture

When will it launch? Fall 2024

What is it? A new streaming bundle that will give subscribers access to all ESPN, Fox Sports, and WBD Sports networks.

How is it different? This is the first time someone could receive access to ESPN or Fox Sports cable networks without a cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscription.

How much will it cost? A price point has yet to be announced. Estimates start at $40,

What sports would it get? Everything on ESPN, Fox, and TNT Sports networks, including MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL games, along with college basketball, football, and so on. International soccer will also be included through Fox’s rights deals with FIFA and UEFA and WBD’s deal with U.S. Soccer.

What else would you potentially need to have in addition to this? Without NBC or Paramount involved, you’d still need access to their content via Paramount+ or Peacock or an antenna. Without a cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscription, you’d still be out of luck for content on CBS Sports Network or USA.

What people would be interested in this product? Pretty much all sports fans! Everything airing on ESPN, Fox, or TNT Sports networks would be covered. Big Ten fans would still miss several games due to the conference’s deals with CBS and NBC, while Notre Dame fans would also miss out on a lot of content.

Premier League fans and fans of elite European soccer teams would also miss out on a host of games due to the Premier League’s deal with NBC and UEFA’s deal with Paramount. NFL fans would lose out on games airing on CBS, NBC, and NFL Network, but the games on the two broadcast networks can be watched in several other ways, including on each network’s streaming service, NFL+, and with an antenna.

What could you cancel if you got this? Your cable, satellite, or live-streaming subscriptions. ESPN+ content will be included, so you won’t need a separate subscription there. Max subscribers could also axe their Live Sports Add-On (which is currently still free).

ESPN+

When will it launch? ESPN+ has been live since April 2017 and has over 25 million subscribers, a number hit early last year.

What is it? A streaming service offering live games and other content, much of which was previously available on ESPN3 or WatchESPN with an authenticated login (or not offered at all).

How is it different? Nearly all of the content is exclusive to ESPN+ and does not air on traditional TV.

How much does it cost? $10.99 per month or $109.99 per year, with discounts available in bundles.

What sports would it get? There are a lot of college sports from smaller conferences on ESPN+. The service also exclusively streams several international soccer leagues, including Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s LaLiga. UFC content is a significant part of ESPN+, which exclusively offers the company’s pay-per-view events. The NHL’s out-of-market package, NHL Power Play, is also exclusively housed on ESPN+.

What else would you potentially need to have in addition to this? A cable, satellite, or streaming subscription. ESPN+ isn’t, and has never been intended to be, a replacement for a traditional television package.

What people would be interested in this product? College sports fans from non-power conferences. ESPN has plenty of rights deals with smaller conferences, and nearly all games from baseball, basketball, and football are behind the ESPN+ paywall. Additionally, NHL fans are a prime target for ESPN+ due to many games exclusively airing on the platform and the NHL’s out-of-market package (NHL Power Play) exclusively living on ESPN+.

What could you cancel if you got this? Nothing. Content on ESPN+ is exclusive and the service is generally considered complimentary to existing cable offerings.