Beginning Aug. 23, 2022, the monthly price of an ESPN+ subscription will rise from $6.99 to $9.99, while the annual subscription will increase from $69.99 to $99.99.
The 43% price hike for ESPN+ only impacts the standalone service and will not increase the cost of the Disney Bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu. It will also not affect the current cost for UFC pay-per-view events on the app.
In a statement to TheWrap, an ESPN representative said, “While it is a significant change to the price, it’s reflective of the increased scope, scale and value of ESPN+ as we continue to add significantly to both live sports and original programs and series, and it is part of an established plan to ensure ESPN+ is a profitable and strong long-term business.”
The statement continued: “I think you’ll also find, if you look across the sports streaming landscape, ESPN+ clearly remains the best value – in virtually all other sports streaming, you pay this price or more, and get less.” (ESPN+ rivals such as DAZN cost $19.99 per month.)
The last ESPN+ cost increase came in July 2021 when the company upped the price from $5.99 per month to $6.99 per month. That move was made after the streamer added 8.5 million new customers year-over-year. This new price hike may imply another successful 12 month growth period for the service. For the fiscal quarter ending in April 2022, ESPN+ boasted 22.3 million subscribers and an average revenue per user (ARPU) of $4.73.
This latest price increase comes after Wall Street’s dramatic 180 on the streaming business model earlier this year caused Netflix shares to plummet. The Walt Disney Company hasn’t been immune either as its share price has fallen nearly 40% year-to-date despite a growing streaming business, high demand for its theme parks and a recovering theatrical industry. As a result, most media companies are seeking to further monetize their assets. Squeezing out a few more dollars of value from ESPN+ subscribers is one such effort.
Disney commits significant resources to sports broadcast rights across the NFL, NHL, PGA Tour, Wimbledon, the Australian Open and college football. Live games, coverage and additional original content revolving around these sports can all be found on ESPN+, which is also the exclusive home of the UFC.
The news was first reported by Variety.