Disney Plus to Add a Tile for ESPN Later This Year

The move follows the streaming service's addition of a Hulu tile.

Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
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Move over, Hulu on Disney Plus. The next addition to the Disney Plus streaming service will be a tile for ESPN, and it's arriving by the end of the year, CEO Bob Iger said during the company's second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

"By the end of this calendar year, we will be adding an ESPN tile to Disney Plus, giving all US subscribers access to select live games and studio programming within the Disney Plus app," Iger said. "We see this as a first step to bringing ESPN to Disney Plus viewers, as we ready the launch of our enhanced standalone ESPN streaming service in the fall of 2025."

The debut of the ESPN tile follows the launch of the full version of Disney's Hulu on Disney Plus experience. In December, the beta version of Hulu on Disney Plus brought an influx of Hulu titles to the streamer, confined within a Hulu tile, for Disney bundle subscribers who paid for both services. With the arrival of the full version in March, titles now appear on Disney Plus outside of just that tile.

During the earnings call, Iger said the ESPN tile "will have a modest amount of programming. But it's a start in terms of essentially conditioning the audience, or subscribers to Disney Plus and Hulu, to the fact that sports is going to be there. And it also will help us in terms of overall engagement with our bundle." He also said that "our current plan is ... if you're an ESPN Plus subscriber, you'll be able to get ESPN Plus through that tile."

Disney offers four bundles -- two come with Hulu and Disney Plus and the other two combine subscriptions to Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. The latter bundles cost $15 a month (which includes the ad-supported versions of Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus) and $25 a month (which includes the same, but Hulu and Disney Plus are ad free).

The news of the ESPN tile inside Disney Plus comes as a standalone ESPN service and a separate sports streaming service from Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are on the way. No pricing or launch details have been revealed for either service, but the standalone ESPN offering is expected in 2025, and the sports streaming service joint venture is expected to arrive this year. 

A press release announcing ESPN's partnership with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, mentioned that there will be bundles that tie that new sports service with Disney Plus and Hulu as well as with Warner Bros. Discovery's Max. 

During the earnings call, Iger said that "as I look ahead, I think ESPN is going to make a pivot toward digital, but without abandoning linear. So it will remain on linear. If people want to get ESPN and its different channels through a cable or satellite subscription, that's fine." 

Iger said there will "be many different access points to get the digital product" if customers want to pivot.