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How to Watch ESPN & ESPN Plus in 2022: Stream Sports From Anywhere Without Cable

ESPN+ is a great way to keep on top of your favorite sporting events. However, it’s different from the regular ESPN channels and is only available in the U.S. This guide explains the differences between the two and shows you how to watch ESPN Plus with a VPN.

Matthew Martin
By Matthew Martin (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-05-10T17:04:33+00:00

Most of us love the ability to stream our favorite shows from anywhere in the world, and sports fans are no different. With the ESPN Plus app, you can watch the latest Grand Slam tennis, international soccer, NHL games, MLB, NFL and college football and PGA games, just to name a few. If this is your thing, keep reading. By the end of this article, you will know how to watch ESPN Plus from anywhere in the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • ESPN and ESPN Plus are separate services, but ESPN Plus is located within the regular ESPN app.
  • You have to pay a subscription fee to get access to ESPN Plus.
  • ESPN Plus is not available outside the U.S. If you want to watch it outside the U.S., you will need to use a VPN.

There is some confusion between the regular ESPN and ESPN Plus apps. ESPN is available for free and provides highlights and sports news. ESPN Plus is a stand-alone service that lives inside the ESPN app and provides exclusive live sports coverage with a monthly subscription. We’ll talk more about the differences later in the article, so let’s get into how to watch ESPN+ from anywhere with a VPN.

  • 05/08/2022

    Cloudwards updated the article to provide updated information on how to watch ESPN Plus with a VPN and define the differences between ESPN and ESPN Plus.

  • There are a number of ways you can stream ESPN Plus straight to your TV screen. You can cast ESPN from a mobile device such as Android or, for Apple users, via AirPlay. Alternatively, if you have an Android smart TV or Amazon Fire TV, you may be able to install the free ESPN app on it. You could also install the ESPN app on Apple TV or other streaming devices.

  • Unfortunately, the answer is no, as ESPN Plus is a stand-alone service that cannot be added to your Amazon Prime account.

  • Unfortunately, there’s no way to watch ESPN Plus for free.

  • ESPN Plus is not available with a TV provider — it’s a stand-alone service. You can sign up for ESPN Plus on the ESPN app or by going to the website.

How to Watch ESPN Plus From Anywhere

Due to licensing agreements, ESPN Plus cannot broadcast any of its content outside the U.S., making it near impossible to view in other countries unless you have a VPN. Using a VPN will mask your IP address and give the impression that you are in another country. In this case, by connecting to a U.S. server, it will fool ESPN+ into thinking that you are in the United States.

That said, not all VPNs are created equal, and there are plenty of VPNs that won’t get past the first hurdle. For instance, top streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max are just some of the services that implement geoblocks to stop people from watching the content in different countries. So, to access ESPN+ outside the U.S., you need a VPN that can get past the restrictions without being noticed.

ESPN+ Bundle With Disney+ & Hulu

Although you can subscribe to ESPN+ on its own, there’s also a Disney bundle option that includes ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu for the combined price of $13.99 per month. That provides a complete package in itself, including tons of sports to watch on ESPN Plus, and saves you up to $7.98 per month versus paying for each service separately. Plus, if you opt for the Hulu + Live TV package, you’ll also have access to the regular ESPN channels.

how to watch espn plus disney plus hulu bundle
You can also sign up to the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney Plus and Hulu.

How to Watch ESPN+ With a VPN

If you want to sign up or log in and watch ESPN Plus from outside the U.S., you will need a VPN to gain access. Follow the steps below to watch ESPN Plus using a VPN.

  1. Sign Up to a VPN

    Sign up to a VPNwe recommend ExpressVPN — and install it on your device.

    expressvpn get started
  2. Connect to a Server

    Browse the server list and connect to a U.S. server.

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  3. Go to ESPN.com

    Go to ESPN.com and click on “subscribe now.” 

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  4. Click on “Sign Up”

    Now click on “sign up” on the login page.

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  5. Create an ESPN Account

    Enter your details and click “sign up” to create an ESPN account.

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  6. Pick a Plan

    Choose either the monthly or annual plan and enter your payments details. Tick the box to acknowledge that you’ve read the terms and then click “buy ESPN+.”

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  7. Click “Get Started”

    Now click “get started” and it will take you back to the home screen.

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  8. Find What You Want to Watch

    Now browse the ESPN+ library and choose what you want to watch.

    how to watch espn plus content

The Difference Between ESPN and ESPN+

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ESPN+ is inside the ESPN app and includes exclusive content.

The differences between ESPN and ESPN Plus are simpler than you may think. The regular ESPN app is free to anyone — all you need to do is provide a zip code in an ESPN service area. You can find video clips, highlights, sports news analysis and more on the ESPN app, but for exclusive content and certain events, you’ll need ESPN+.

ESPN Plus is a stand-alone service that can be accessed online or through the regular ESPN app. ESPN Plus offers additional ways to watch live sports and you can pay for big sporting events such as UFC PPV events — which it has the exclusive rights to — and boxing and soccer. There’s also exclusive on-demand and behind-the-scenes content that can’t be found elsewhere.

How to Watch ESPN Live Without Cable

ESPN’s main channels can also be found on a bunch of streaming services. Keep in mind, though, that some of the services are only available in specific countries, such as the U.S. On top of that, what’s available on the ESPN channels may depend on where you’re based due to blackout rules. 

For instance, if you’re a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays and you’re based in Tampa, you probably won’t be able to watch them when they’re playing at their home stadium. That said, you can use a VPN to connect to a server in another state and watch the game that way. 

Below we’ve listed the streaming services that include ESPN channels, as well as a bit of information regarding pricing and free trials.

  1. YouTube TV — Includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPNews for $64.99 per month, plus it has a seven-day trial.
  2. fuboTV — depending on the package you choose, it includes ESPN, ESPN HD Deportes, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN 2. Subscriptions start at $69.99 per month, and there’s a seven-day free trial. 
  3. Sling TV — ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 are included in the Orange package, which costs $35 per month. The Sports Extra add-on, for $11 per month, includes ESPNU and ESPNews.
  4. Hulu + Live TV — You get ESPN 1 and 2,  ESPNU and ESPN College. This costs $69.99 per month and includes Disney Plus and ESPN+.
  5. Vidgo — Its Plus bundle includes ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes and ESPNews and costs $53 per month.
  6. DIRECTV STREAM — The Entertainment package includes ESPN and ESPN 2 for $59.99 per month. The Choice package includes ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, and ESPNews for $79.99 per month. ESPN Deportes is included in the Deportes add-on, which costs $5 per month. There is a five-day free trial.

How to Watch ESPN for Free

Unfortunately, there’s no way to watch ESPN for free, other than using a free trial with a streaming service. We’ve provided a how-to for watching ESPN for free using fuboTV’s free trial. 

  1. Go to the fuboTV Website

    Go to the fuboTV website and click “start free trial.”

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  2. Create an Account

    Enter your details to create an account and then click “continue.”

    how to watch espn plus fubo create account
  3. Choose a Plan

    Choose a plan and click “continue.” Keep in mind that the Latino plan does not include a free trial.

    how to watch espn plus fubo choose plan
  4. Choose Your Payment Frequency

    Choose between monthly or quarterly payments.

    how to watch espn plus fubo plan
  5. Enter Your Payment Details

    Enter your payment details and click “submit.”

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  6. Choose Whether You Want Any Upgrades

    fuboTV offers plenty of upgrades, but if you don’t want them, click “skip, I’ll do this later.”

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  7. Set Up Your Profile

    Click on “my profile” and go through the setup for favorite channels, etc. When you’re done, click “continue.”

    how to watch espn plus fubo profile
  8. Search for ESPN Channels

    Once your profile is set up, you’ll be taken to the main screen. You can use the search bar to find ESPN channels.

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  9. Click on the Channel You Want to Watch

    Click on the channel you want to stream.

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  10. Stream Content

    Enjoy watching the channel and, when you’re finished, you can click the “X” in the top-right corner to exit the channel.

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The Best VPNs for ESPN+

As we’ve already mentioned, you’re going to need a VPN if you want to watch ESPN Plus outside the U.S. If you don’t know which VPN is the right one for you, we recommend ExpressVPN because it has the ability to get past geoblocks easily. That said, if you would like to read a more in-depth comparison, then take a look at our best VPN for ESPN roundup.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn connect usa
ExpressVPN has fast speeds and plenty of U.S. servers to bypass geoblocks.

More information about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
  • Website: expressvpn.com

Pros:

  • Large network spread, including U.S. servers
  • Ability to bypass geoblocks
  • 30-day money-back guarantee 

Cons:

  • More expensive than other VPNs

ExpressVPN is a great choice to use with any streaming service, but its fast download speeds provide a fantastic experience for watching sports events online. That, combined with its unlimited bandwidth and the ability to get past almost any geographic barrier, makes it a top VPN for ESPN+. 

On top of that, ExpressVPN has a vast array of servers located around the world, with 24 locations in the U.S. alone. You won’t have trouble getting past blackout dates either, as you can easily switch to a server in another state.

how to watch espn plus get expressvpn
ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind.

ExpressVPN is, however, a little on the expensive side. That said, it offers the best all-around service and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can find out more by reading our ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn app
NordVPN is fast and has servers in 15 U.S. locations.

More information about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.99 per month (two-year plan)
  • Website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Fast NordLynx protocol
  • Great server network, including U.S. servers
  • Ability to bypass geoblocks

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds using OpenVPN

NordVPN just barely loses out to ExpressVPN, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it. Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN has the ability to bypass geoblocks that ESPN Plus has in place. It has accumulated 5,400 servers in 60 countries, with 15 server locations in the U.S., so you won’t be stuck when you’re trying to watch a game. You can compare the difference between the two VPNs in our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN review.

NordVPN’s NordLynx protocol, which is its own take on WireGuard, is set to optimize speeds to give you the best viewing experience while streaming online. Plus, it uses the new ChaCha20 cipher, which is faster than AES but still keeps you secure.

NordVPN for accessing YouTube
NordVPN is an affordable VPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you go for the monthly price, it’s quite expensive, but if you opt for the two-year plan, it becomes more affordable. Plus, you can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee if it’s not what you want. You can look into its features more by reading our NordVPN review.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that ESPN and ESPN Plus are two separate services. ESPN is home to a variety of sporting events from the NHL and NFL draft to soccer and MLB. However, you’ll need a VPN to watch all these events outside the U.S.

If you want to watch ESPN Plus, you need to set up a paid subscription. Similarly, since it’s only available in the U.S., you will need to use a VPN to get past the built-in geoblocks if you want to watch it outside the country.

We recommend using ExpressVPN due to its fast speeds, ability to get past geoblocks easily and great user experience. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.

Do you know another way to watch ESPN Plus? Have you watched ESPN+ outside the U.S. with a VPN? Which VPN did you use? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.