ESPN is moving much of its written feature and analysis content to subscription video platform ESPN+, it announced.
News reporting, investigative stories, and “select other written content” will not be moved behind the paywall. That will mean that some top reporters will likely have both paid and free content.
“Beginning Nov. 9, the stellar collection of talented ESPN+ writers will expand, with ESPN+ subscribers having exclusive access to the insider perspective, analysis and insight-driven work by some of the most recognized experts and in the industry,” ESPN said in an announcement.
ESPN+ will now include content from writers including Malika Andrews, Kevin Arnovitz, Bill Barnwell, Stephania Bell, Matthew Berry, Michael Collins, Bill Connelly, Heather Dinich, Kirk Goldsberry, Alden Gonzalez, Dan Graziano, Baxter Holmes, Zach Lowe, Jackie MacMullan, Jeff Passan, Dave Schoenfield, Kevin Seifert, Ramona Shelburne, Andre Snellings, Wright Thompson, Seth Wickersham, Brian Windhorst and Greg Wyshinski, ESPN said.
Top news breakers Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter are not listed among the writers included in ESPN+ — as expected based on their territories.
ESPN has previously waded into paid written content. For two decades, “ESPN Insider” put some of the site’s top names behind a paywall, but the service was rolled into ESPN+ when it launched in April 2018 — leaving select content, including much of the outlet’s sports betting and fantasy analysis, as paid. ESPN Insider and ”ESPN The Magazine” had also long been packaged together, but the magazine was sunset in September 2019.
“The strength of its subscription-supported editorial has been a key component of ESPN developing the broadest, deepest and furthest reaching digital sports offering in the world,” ESPN said.
ESPN+ will also become the exclusive home for the live and replay telecasts of ESPN Radio shows “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Greeny,” “The Max Kellerman Show,” “Chiney & Golic Jr.,” and “Jorge Ramos y Su Banda.” The audio broadcasts and the podcasts of each show will still be available without a subscription wherever fans have previously listened.
The moves are in line with ESPN parent company Disney’s recent plans to restructure its media and entertainment divisions to focus on direct-to-consumer content.
Since its launch in 2018, ESPN+ has advertised that it airs 12,000 hours of live sports per year — it surpassed 8.5 million paid subscribers earlier this year. As of August, Disney said it had 100 million paid subscribers across all of its streaming offerings, more than half of whom are subscribers to Disney+.
Many ESPN+ subscribers have it as part of a popular $12.99 per month bundle with Disney+ and Hulu. As a standalone service, ESPN+ costs $5.99.