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ESPN+ climbs to 7.6m paid subscribers following Disney+ launch

ESPN+, ESPN’s direct-to-consumer sports streaming service, now has 7.6 million paid subscribers, Disney chief executive Bob Iger revealed in a quarterly earnings call.

That is a huge climb from 3.5 million subscribers in November 2019 when figures were last announced.

It is believed that many of the new subscribers have come via a new $12.99-per-month bundle for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ which was offered last November to coincide with the launch of Disney+, rather than the traditional $4.99-per-month offering for ESPN+ alone.

The entertainment-focused Disney+ had amassed an incredible 28.6 million subscribers as of February 3 after just three months in business. About a third of these subscribers are believed to have come from telco Verizon, which has offered a free one-year subscription to select customers in a deal with Disney. Hulu, meanwhile, has 30.7 million subscribers.

Nonetheless, the ever-increasing content on ESPN+ has also played a huge role in its growth. ESPN+ had 6.6 million subscribers at the end of the last quarter but one million more people purchased the Colin McGregor-Donald Cerrone UFC fight last month and became instant subscribers, albeit on a possible short-term basis, Iger revealed.

“I believe we’re now well positioned to not only withstand the disruptive forces of technology but thrive in today’s increasingly dynamic media environment,” Iger said.

The platform, which launched in April 2018, also recently acquired the exclusive US media rights to Spanish soccer cup competition the Copa del Rey as part of a new multi-year agreement with the Royal Spanish Football Federation. ESPN+ is also reportedly close to agreeing a streaming rights deal with golf’s PGA Tour.