Disney Plus will start offering live sports at no extra cost — here's what's we know

Disney Plus
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Disney’s already been forging links between Disney Plus and Hulu, its other streaming service. Now the company has announced it’s taking things a step further, and will be rolling ESPN content into Disney Plus later this year. This means live sports is coming to Disney Plus.

This news was announced by CEO Bob Iger in the latest Disney earnings call. According to Iger this will be the “first step to bringing ESPN to Disney Plus viewers'' ahead of the launch of an enhanced ESPN streaming service in the fall of 2025. The specifics of what content will make the transition weren’t clear, only that a “modest” amount of ESPN content would be available to Disney Plus subscribers.

However, it was confirmed that anyone with an ESPN Plus subscription would be able to access the rest of the service’s content on Disney Plus. It sounds like this will work the same as accessing Hulu content through Disney Plus. Meaning subscribers with a bundle, or a linked ESPN Plus subscription will be given access to an ESPN tile that lets them watch sports without switching apps.

This is all separate to the other sports streaming service Disney is involved with, which is being done in partnership with Fox Sports and Warner Bros Discovery. That’s supposed to arrive later this year, and has already caused some ire, including legal action from competitors as well as congressional scrutiny.

The earnings call also revealed good news for Disney Plus, with the streamer posting a $47 million profit in the first quarter of 2024. This was after the service was expected to lose $100 million. Sadly, the company’s streaming business, which includes Hulu and ESPN Plus, lost $18 million.

So it’s a very bittersweet announcement, and you can bet Disney will be pushing to promote both services within Disney Plus and get people subscribing to multiple services. Plus, the long-gestating password sharing crackdown may help bring in money from new subscribers. After all, that tactic worked for Netflix. While the rules forbidding password sharing on Disney Plus and Hulu are already in place, the crackdown isn’t expected to kick off in earnest until June.

Of course, none of this really matters if you couldn’t care less about sports. But if you are the kind of person that can’t get enough of watching people hit and chase balls, but also love the likes of Star Wars and Disney movies, then it means it’s going to be slightly easier to enjoy it all without having to bloat your phone with so many apps.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.