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How to watch ESPN+ in Australia
ESPN Plus is an American sports-streaming service that’s unavailable in Australia. Thankfully, there are ways around that.
We’re fortunate to have a handful of sports streaming options in Australia, including Kayo and Stan Sport. But if you’re a fan of American sports in particular, you may have met the dreaded geoblock message when trying to access ESPN Plus from Australia. Thankfully, there’s a way around it.
What is ESPN Plus (and how is it different from ESPN)?
ESPN is an American-owned cable sports channel that offers a wide range of sports and sports-related programming. The easiest way to access regular ESPN content in Australia is via Foxtel, which includes Kayo and Foxtel Now. Subscribing to any of those Foxtel sports services means you get access to the 24-hour ESPN and ESPN2 channels.
Where ESPN Plus differs from regular ESPN programming is it’s a separate monthly service that offers live sports streaming and exclusive programming, including the full library of 30 for 30 documentaries. At time of writing, there isn’t currently a way to stream ESPN Plus from an Australian streaming service, but there is a way around this with a virtual private network (VPN).
How to watch ESPN Plus in Australia
You can either watch ESPN Plus as a standalone streaming service or as part of a Hulu channel add-on. Either way, you’re going to need a VPN that’s renowned for sidestepping Hulu and ESPN+ geoblocking. The table below shows a list of the best VPNs for handling Hulu (from the ones we’ve reviewed).
|NordVPN||From US$3.29/mth||60/83||Best VPN||View plans|
|ExpressVPN||From US$8.32/mth||94/160||Very user-friendly||View plans|
|Hotspot Shield||From AU$11.99/mth||99/135||Fast speeds||View plans|
|Surfshark||From US$2.49/mth||65/131||Unlimited connections||View plans|
|Windscribe||From US$4.08/mth||63/110||Lifetime subscription||View plans|
|VPN Unlimited||From US$5.00/mth||57/80||Lifetime subscription||View plans|
|Private Internet Access||From AU$2.89/mth||84/110||Stacks of servers||View plans|
|PrivadoVPN||From US$4.99/mth||48/60||Cheap monthly pricing||View plans|
|PureVPN||From US$1.99/mth||78/96||10 connections||View plans|
|TunnelBear||From US$3.33/mth||49 countries||Free version||View plans|
Watch ESPN Plus as a standalone service
Even though this is the most direct path, it’s also the trickiest. With your VPN connected to a US server, head to the ESPN+ website and sign up for a plan. It defaults to an annual plan, so switch to monthly if you prefer. Now comes the tricky part.
You need to pay with either a credit card or PayPal, but ESPN Plus was on top of sniffing out an Australian debit card and an Aussie PayPal account in my tests. That means you either need to have a US credit card (physical or virtual) or an ESPN Plus gift card, which are as tricky to find online as HBO Max gift cards these days.
You’re better off going with the next option.
Watch ESPN Plus as a Hulu channel
Hulu is a lot easier to pay for in Australia, thanks to how straightforward it is to buy Hulu digital gift cards from online outlets like MyGiftCardSupply. Hulu gift cards are available in $25, $50 or $100 increments, but those are US prices, so expect to pay more and factor in a conversion fee.
Once you have a Hulu gift card, connect your VPN to a US server, then visit the Hulu gift-card renewal page and input the digital gift card, then set up an account. Hulu offers a one-month free trial, so the gift card should only be charged after the first month. After you’ve signed up, head to your account settings, then ‘Manage add-ons’.
This add-ons page is where you can add channels, including ESPN Plus (US$9.99 a month), HBO Max (US$14.99 a month), Showtime (US$10.99 a month), Cinemax (US$9.99 a month) and Starz (US$8.99 a month). The only catch here is to ensure you have enough money on the gift card (or stacked in gift card credit) to cover the cost of Hulu and the channel add-on. Basic Hulu costs US$7.99 a month with ads or it's US$14.99 a month for the no-ads version.
Once you’ve added ESPN Plus, you can access its content as long as you’re using a device that supports a VPN connection.
What content is available on ESPN+?
ESPN Plus has bragging rights to thousands of live events from some of the biggest sporting leagues and tournaments around the globe. Here’s a list of the sports you can find on ESPN Plus:
- MMA (UFC, PFL)
- Boxing (Top Rank)
- Baseball (MLB, Little League, World Series, etc.)
- Hockey (NHL)
- Soccer (LaLiga, Bundesliga, EFL, Emirates FA Cup, etc.)
- Golf (PGA Tour, Masters)
- Basketball (college)
- Tennis (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, WTT)
- Cricket (IPL, Indian Cricket, New Zealand Cricket)
- Lacrosse (National Lacross League)
ESPN Plus also includes access to the full 30 for 30 library, in-depth UFC access, ESPN Plus Originals, daily sports talk and thousands of premium articles each year.
How much does ESPN Plus cost?
To buy ESPN Plus as a standalone service, you’ll pay either a monthly or yearly fee, both paid in American dollars. It’s US$6.99 per month for ESPN+ or US$69.99 a year. Alternatively, Disney also offers a bundle that includes Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ for US$13.99 a month.
What platforms does ESPN Plus work on?
As long as the device you’re using supports a VPN connection to a compatible US server, the following streaming devices are compatible with ESPN+:
- Android (phone, tablet, TV)
- Amazon Fire TV and tablet
- Apple (TV, iPad, iPhone)
- Google Chromecast
- Facebook Portal TV
- Oculus Go
- PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
- Samsung smart TVs
- Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X
Required download speeds for ESPN+
ESPN Plus needs either 5Mbps download bandwidth for HD streaming or 25Mbps for 4K streaming. To comfortably hit both, it’s best to go with an NBN 50 plan as a minimum, especially because a VPN connection to a US server will be slower than typical speeds. If you’re in the market for an NBN plan that can comfortably handle ESPN Plus streaming, check out the daily updating list of popular NBN plans below from our comparison engine: