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If you’re a sports fan and live in Canada, you’ve probably run into problems when trying to sit back, relax, and watch your favourite sports team battle it out on the pitch, ice, or court.
It can be difficult to find the game you want to watch as different networks and streaming platforms own the rights to different leagues.
Although Canadians have access to sports platforms such as DAZN, they are not as comprehensive as some of the American platforms, which is why it’s easy to understand why you might want to stream ESPN+ in Canada.
Here are two easy steps you can follow to watch ESPN in Canada:
1. Connect to a VPN
This simple tutorial explains how you can easily use a VPN to create an ESPN account and stream the most anticipated sports games in Canada.
Next, if you have an ESPN account, all you need to do is connect your VPN to an American server, sign-in to the streaming platform, and grab some snacks while you stream exclusive live sporting events.
If you don’t have an ESPN account, check out step 2.
2. Sign-up for an ESPN account
The rights to streaming sports matches can be a tricky topic and since ESPN content has regional locks on it, you need to you connect to a USA based server with the help of your VPN.
Once your VPN is active, just visit the ESPN site and create an account by following the steps on the page.
Next, there’s a few different ways you can go about getting your subscription in Canada, as explained by this guide.
Different methods include, reaching out to a a close friend or relative in the United States or using a virtual/prepaid card such as StatesCard.
To ensure our readers have the best streaming experience possible, we’ve curated a list of high quality VPN providers for Canadians, to help you choose a company that makes the most sense for you.
ESPN Plus Canada Overview
Are you a sports fan?
If you answered yes to that question, then you’ve probably heard of ESPN – it’s one of the top-rated sports channel around the globe.
Whether you’re tuning in to watch a Canucks or Raptors game, they offer the best coverage.
ESPN Plus is the company’s online streaming division, owned by The Walt Disney company.
ESPN+ doesn’t offer you all the same content as the ESPN app or the cable channel.
It focuses on niche sports, like MLS soccer, Euro league football, and rugby.
While Disney+ is available in Canada, you can’t get a subscription to ESPN+.
Why Isn’t ESPN+ Available in Canada?
The issue is with licensing agreements.
It’s for this reason that Canadians can’t access ESPN+ content and other Disney platforms like Hulu.
To avoid violating the contractual rights between sports content distribution networks and Disney, ESPN must enforce geo-blocking protocols on all content.
As a result of the licensing issue, the ESPN+ service not available outside of the United States.
That’s not great news for Canadian sports fans.
Is ESPN+ Different from the ESPN Cable Channel?
It’s important to reiterate that ESPN+ is not the same service as the ESPN cable channel or the ESPN app.
These platforms focus on the big NHL, NBA, and NFL games.
With ESPN+, you don’t get any SportsCenter, and no Stephen A. Smith (that might be a bonus depending on your opinion).
The official ESPN application, previously known as “WatchESPN,” gives you the option of watching thousands of live broadcasts across the widest variety of sports shows and events.
The ESPN app comes with sports news, real-time scoreboards, and access to an extensive library of content featuring highlight reels, archived events, replays, and breakdowns from the channel’s top analysts – like Stephen A. Smith.
The ESPN+ subscription isn’t an app or a core sports channel.
It’s an additional package offering a standalone subscription for alternative sports.
The channel focuses on a different market to ESPN, covering more European, Asian, and Latin-American sports events.
ESPN+ also offers a wide variety of alternative sports content not broadcasted on the primary ESPN network.
You get ESPN+ Originals and the “30 for 30” documentary series, and access to exclusive ESPN+ PPV events.
If you purchase the ESPN+ subscription, you won’t get access to the ESPN and ESPN2 channels or live streams.
These services are only for cable subscribers in the United States.
The ESPN+ service is available as a standalone product, meaning you can purchase it without owning a cable subscription to the channel.
How Much Does ESPN+ Cost, and Where Can I Register?
As mentioned, ESPN is part of the Walt Disney Company.
Therefore, you can expect top-quality sports entertainment at a reasonable price.
It’s not surprising to see the company offer a monthly subscription to the platform for $5.99 (USD).
ESPN+ is an upgrade to the former “ESPN Insider” service, offering its subscribers exclusive access to blogs and articles for a monthly fee.
ESPN added video content to the mix, and an incredible archive of live sporting events, creating ESPN+.
Now, subscribers get access to exclusive premium content not available on the main ESPN channels.
There are documentaries, live-streaming of events, and a stack of on-demand videos for subscribers to view.
American subscribers can access ESPN+ through their ESPN app.
It’s available on your favourite streaming platforms and mobile devices.
An ESPN+ subscription costs $5.99 per month for on-demand access.
You can save $21.89 (USD) if you opt for an annual subscription at $49.99.
Since ESPN is a Disney company, you also have the option of purchasing it as part of a bundle, including Disney+ and Hulu.
It’s important to note that these special deals are only available for the American market.
ESPN+ is not available for Canadians, even though Disney offers Canadians subscriptions to other Disney brands, like Disney+.
We think that the $5.99 for the ESPN+ channel is great value for money, especially if you like watching alternative sports.
ESPN+ also offers you the chance to give it as a gift for the holidays or as a birthday present.
The gift card sells for $49.99, providing an annual subscription to the recipient.
You save 30%, and it also gives you a workaround to the geo-blocks involved with getting your ESPN+ subscription.
Purchase your gift card online and enter the delivery date.
The system sends out an activation email to the recipient to open their account and enjoy the sports entertainment on ESPN+.
What are the Top Shows on ESPN+?
ESPN+ gives you access to world-class sporting events and live streams across a variety of sports.
While the main ESPN channel has the best coverage for NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL – you get plenty of live games available through ESPN+ as well.
However, where ESPN+ excels is in its coverage of niche sports.
You get access to a variety of exclusive events in the following sports.
- College sports
- Canadian football
- Track and field
- And much more
ESPN+ covers events in the NHL, MLS, and MLB.
You also get access to Top Rank Boxing, Series A Italian Football, The Emirates FA Cup, NCAA college sports, Grand Slam international Tennis, and so much more.
During the height of the pandemic in Q2 2020, most sports leagues closed worldwide.
One of the few sporting leagues to continue with closed operations was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
CEO Dana White signed an agreement for the UFC broadcasting rights with ESPN back in 2019, and the UFC was one of the only sport broadcasting live throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
ESPN+ also has the rights to broadcast the popular UFC Fight Night events, and it has the exclusive PPV rights to cover all UFC events.
In addition, they offer a vast archive of recorded sporting events.
However, where ESPN+ excels is with the original content and shows.
The channel offers original programs, such as “The Boardroom with JD,” “Ariel & The Bad Guy,” and “NBA Rooks with Zion Williamson.”
These shows are instant classics and have large followings, showing that there’s more for sports fans outside of just watching games.
ESPN+ is a top choice for any sports enthusiast, especially if you enjoy European sports and MMA.
Will ESPN+ Ever Come to Canada?
On the 2019 earnings call, Robert Iger mentioned that the company plans to extend Disney offerings into Canada.
We saw that happen in 2020 with the launch of Disney+ to the Canadian market.
However, due to the stringent licensing agreements involved with sports events, Iger states that the company is not announcing anything in terms of new markets for the ESPN+ service yet.
Sadly, it looks like Canadians won’t have the opportunity to register for ESPN+ and enjoy the platform’s content anytime soon unless you use a VPN.
If you are not interested in using a VPN for streaming sports, you should check out our extensive list on streaming services that are available in Canada.