By now you are probably aware that West Virginia’s game on Saturday at Kansas is being shown on ESPN+ as part of the league’s new “Big 12 Now” platform.
What does that mean? Well, for starters that means the WVU-Kansas game will not be shown on a traditional cable or satellite broadcast. There is no channel on your TV provider that will get this game. The only way to watch the Mountaineers take on the Jayhawks is by streaming the game, and it requires a monthly subscription to the ESPN+ service.
Read this from the Big 12 re: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
What does this mean for fans?
• In football, in addition to the Big 12 games continuing to appear on ABC & ESPN networks or FOX networks, one game per season from the participating programs will be available exclusively on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
• In men’s basketball, all regular season and exhibition games from the eight participating programs that are not distributed on ESPN’s traditional television networks will be available exclusively on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
• Additionally, Big 12 Now on ESPN+ will feature hundreds of events from other sports at the participating programs, including women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, softball, baseball and more.
• Select Big 12 Conference Championship events will also be distributed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
Which Big 12 programs Can I Watch on Big 12 Now on ESPN+?
• Eight of the conference’s 10 schools will produce and deliver live athletic events via Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
• Starting in 2019, there will be games from Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, in addition to select Big 12 Conference championship events.
• In 2020-21, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech will join the lineup.
• Due to existing long-term rights agreements, Texas (Longhorn Network) and Oklahoma will not produce and deliver programming via Big 12 Now on ESPN+ at this time. However, they will both be featured as road teams in games on the new platform.
How do I sign-up to ESPN+ and what does it cost?
• ESPN+, which will be the digital home of Big 12 Now, is available via the ESPN App, ESPN.com or espnplus.com for just $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year) and can be canceled at any time.
What do I need to have in order to watch ESPN+?
• Subscribers can watch ESPN+ on the ESPN App via most major mobile and connected-TV platforms, including iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Android devices, Roku, Chromecast, FireTV, XBOX One, Playstation 4, Oculus Go and Samsung connected TVs. It is also available via ESPN.com on the web.
Beyond live Big 12 events, what else does ESPN+ offer?
• ESPN+ offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.
• Live sport programming on ESPN+ includes: hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights, top domestic and international soccer, thousands of college sports events (across multiple sports, from 20 conferences), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, and more.
• ESPN+ Original programming includes:
o The full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films, plus new and exclusive series, including: Detail with Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Daniel Cormier; Sneaker Center; Peyton’s Places with Manning; The Equalizer with Alex Morgan; More Than An Athlete with LeBron James; The Boardroom with Kevin Durant; UFC: Destined, We Are LAFC, Declared, Year One and more.
o Acclaimed studio shows including ESPN FC, The Fantasy Show w/Matthew Berry, Ariel & The Bad Guy, Always Late w/Katie Nolan, In The Crease (NHL) and more.
Got it? Good.
Is it ideal? Nothing is.
Is ESPN+ widely available, easy to signup for and simple to use? For the most part.
Will this suck for people with poor broadband internet options (or none at all) in rural areas of the state who want to watch Saturday’s game? It absolutely will, but this is one of those “that’s just the way it is” situations.