An ESPN Section is Coming to the Disney+ App

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Key Takeaways

  • An ESPN tile will be added to Disney+ ahead of the full streaming launch for the sports channel next year.
  • Disney+ subscribers will have access to some ESPN broadcasts.
  • Bob Iger has welcomed the addition as the company prepares to “condition the audience."

Disney will add an ESPN tile to Disney+ ahead of the launch of a standalone streaming service for the sports broadcaster. 

The addition will be implemented on the platform by the end of the year for all US subscribers, with the dedicated ESPN service anticipated late in 2025. 

Speaking on the company’s Q2 earnings call, Disney CEO Big Iger revealed the tile will bring access to “select live games” and studio programs to watch on Disney+. 

Earlier this year, Disney added Hulu to the same subscriber service and updated its logo to embrace the combination of media brands available. Unlike the Hulu addition, ESPN will not be subject to a bundle subscription, so existing customers can enjoy a perk as part of their current service. 

However, bundle subscribers will have the full array of content on offer from ESPN+ through the tile, including NFL, NHL, international soccer, college football championships, and NCAA championships.

Iger hailed the beginning of a new phase for Disney+ with this initial venture representing the arrival of sports on the platform. This will only be enhanced with the full launch of the Disney-owned ESPN streaming service next year.  

He noted it would be the start of “essentially conditioning the audience or subscribers” to the presence of sports, and touched on expectations for gains in subscribers as well as overall engagement with the bundled service.

The Disney chief said  ESPN would “make a pivot toward digital” without abandoning conventional broadcasts, with ambitions to secure a long-term NBA deal in the best interests of the channel and its customer base.

Disney is inching toward profitability in streaming. Disney+ and Hulu posted a $47 million profit, while ESPN recorded a loss of $65 million.