Disney Sets ESPN+ Price Hike After Influx of Sports Rights Deals

But cost of Disney Bundle, with Hulu and Disney+, will remain unchanged

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Disney’s sports-centric streamer ESPN+ is raising its prices. Beginning Aug. 13, the streaming service, which last quarter had 13.8 million subscribers, will cost $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.

Top line

It’s an additional $1 per month, or $10 per year, compared to the service’s previous price point, which had been $5.99 monthly or $59.99 yearly. But the price increase for ESPN+ won’t affect the cost of the Disney streaming bundle, which combines subscriptions to Disney+, ESPN+ and the ad-supported tier of Hulu for $13.99 a month.

The price hike also won’t affect pay-per-view prices of UFC matches, a spokesperson for the company said.

Between the lines

The price hike comes just five months after Disney+ raised its own prices from $6.99 a month to $7.99 a month (or $79.99 a year) to pay for a huge investment in original programming that Disney hopes will help it stand apart in a fiercely completive landscape.

It also comes as ESPN+, Disney’s smallest streamer, is getting its own injection of original programming, including an influx of live sports rights. Earlier this year, Disney announced that more than 1,000 NHL games would be available on the service, including 75 exclusive national games; additionally, a new seven-year deal between ESPN and the MLB gives ESPN+ the ability to simulcast 30 exclusive regular-season MLB baseball games.

Disney also struck an eight-year deal to make ESPN+ the streaming home of LaLiga soccer matches beginning next month, and has expanded its streaming rights with the NFL to allow for flexible programming that may favor the streamer.

Bottom line

For ESPN+, the price increase is the second such move in about a year. In June 2020, Disney announced that ESPN+ would raise its monthly price from $4.99 to $5.99. At the time, the company opted not to touch the $49.99-a-year annual subscription price; however, by the end of 2020, ESPN+ had raised the price of its annual plan to $59.99.