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Should Disney Investors Worry As ESPN Plus Underwhelms?

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. On this week’s episode, we break down Disney’s (DIS - Free Report) brand new ESPN+ streaming service, which might fail to impress investors at a time when the sports broadcasting giant really needs a boost.

Disney officially launched ESPN+ on Thursday, April 12 after nearly two years of anticipation. ESPN+ might not be exactly what investors hoped for, but it is Disney’s first real streaming offering as the company begins to compete against the likes of Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) and Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) .

ESPN, under the guidance of its new boss Jimmy Pitaro, launched the streaming service in conjunction with an updated ESPN App. The $4.99 a month ESPN+ streaming service—which is available on Amazon, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , and Google (GOOGL - Free Report) devices—hopes to complement ESPN’s linear television offerings as the cord-cutting revolution leaves ESPN weakened.

ESPN+ will offer users the chance to watch live streaming coverage of MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA Tour Golf, as well as an array of college sports. The service also hopes to entice fans of globally popular games such as rugby and cricket. Furthermore, users can binge ESPN original programming, including the 30 for 30 documentary series, along with new offerings such as a Kobe Bryant NBA show.

However, many investors and sports fans will notice that ESPN+ does not currently offer users the chance to watch ESPN’s premier coverage. This means sports fans must still have a cable or streaming subscription of some kind that includes ESPN in order to watch Monday Night Football, NBA games, as well as big-time college football and basketball.  

With that said, ESPN+ might not help Disney make much money just yet and will likely leave investors wanting more. But the silver lining is that ESPN+ gives the entertainment powerhouse the ability to work out any kinks before it launches its stand-alone Disney streaming service that aims to become a serious streaming player, even if Disney’s deal with Fox (FOXA - Free Report) doesn’t go through.  

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