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ESPN Plus to raise monthly price by 40 percent

(Logo courtesy Walt Disney Company; Graphic by The Desk)

The Walt Disney Company is planning to raise the price of its sports-centric streaming service ESPN Plus by more than 40 percent, company officials affirmed on Friday.

The price of a monthly subscription to ESPN Plus will increase on August 23 to $10 a month — a 30 percent increase compared to its current price of $7 a month — with its annual plan soon to be priced at $100 a year compared to the current price of $70 a year.

In a statement, a Disney spokesperson said the price increase was intended to better reflect the type of programming and value ESPN Plus provides to subscribers, and that the revenue from the price increase will help solidify the streaming service as a “strong, long-term business.”

Interestingly, Disney will not implement a price increase on a package that bundles ESPN Plus with the company’s other two streaming services, Disney Plus and Hulu. That bundle remains priced at $14 a month if customers are willing to tolerate ad interruptions on Hulu content, or $20 a month for commercial-free access to Hulu shows and movies.

The price increase is, perhaps, unsurprising, given Disney’s recent commitment to include more live sports within ESPN Plus. This year, ESPN Plus began offering live telecasts of nationally-broadcast and out-of-market hockey games as part of a multi-year agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL). The service also offers live and on-demand access to programming from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and will soon offer some telecasts of National Football League (NFL) games.

In addition to live sports, ESPN Plus offers sports news and documentaries, including some programming that is exclusive to the streaming service. The core portfolio of ESPN cable channels are not available through ESPN Plus and still require a separate pay TV subscription.