Minium: Here's a short primer on ESPN+, which will broadcast a lot of ODU football and basketball in the near future

October 19, 2018
By ODU Athletics
ODU Athletics

If you’re planning to watch Old Dominion’s football game at Western Kentucky Saturday night, as I am, you may be wondering how to watch ESPN+, the network set to broadcast the game. 

If not, and you’re an ODU fan of any sport, keep reading. Because ESPN+ is going to be a big part of ODU athletics. 

Four of ODU’s next five football games, including the final home game against VMI, will be on ESPN+, as will at least 13 men’s and two women’s basketball games.  

And that’s just the initial schedule. More games are likely to be added, and I’d expect you’ll see ODU baseball in the spring. 

So what is ESPN+? It’s not on cable TV and unlike ESPN3, the popular streaming service, you can’t access it because you subscribe to cable or satellite TV.  

It’s a separate streaming service that you can watch on your smart phone, computer via Wi-Fi or on your TV with a streaming device, such as Roku or Apple TV.  

It’s a pay service, though it’s relatively inexpensive. It costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 if you pay annually (but there is a seven-day free trial period, which I started this week). 

To watch ESPN+, you need the ESPN app, which you can download for free.  

Click here for the ESPN app

Once you’ve downloaded the app, simply hit “play,” and it will take you to ESPN+.  

This is a pay service because the content it broadcasts is only available on ESPN+. 

ESPN has moved a lot of programming to ESPN+ to drive viewers there, and it’s working. More than 1 million households subscribed in its first five months, an astounding number for a new streaming sports service. 

ESPN+ is the only place you’ll find the entire archive of the network’s “30 for 30” documentary films (my favorite is “Catholics vs. Convicts”) and original programming, such as “Draft Academy,” which looks are the nation’s best college football prospects at the NFL draft approaches. 

There are also two shows called “Detail,” one hosted by Peyton Manning that focuses on football and another hosted by Kobe Bryant, that, of course, covers the NBA. 

ESPN+ won’t give you much in the way of live major league sports, but you can stream one free Major League Baseball and National Hockey League game per day. Honestly, do you want to watch more than one game per day? 

For the most part, you’ll get niche sports - hundreds of international pro soccer games, college soccer and field hockey, a lot of Major League Soccer games, the Canadian Football League, golf, boxing, tennis and rugby. 

You’ll also get a ton of mid-major football, such as Conference USA, which has been hurting for quality TV exposure. And I emphasize the word “quality.” 

Not all mid-major football broadcasts have been professionally produced. That’s in part because it does not draw the ratings that enjoyed by Power 5 leagues. 

Every broadcast on ESPN+ is supposed to be up to ESPN standards. And you have to pay for quality. 

Whether ESPN+ is worth $4.99 is up to you. 

But for me, having access to most ODU basketball games and four football games is worth a few bucks per month.

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