ESPN’s app gets SharePlay support for co-viewing live sports over FaceTime

A few months after making the feature available to Disney+ users, Disney is now rolling out Apple’s SharePlay co-viewing experience for FaceTime to its ESPN app’s users. The feature will allow U.S. users who are either ESPN+ streaming service subscribers or logging in with their TV Everywhere credentials to co-view live sports and ESPN+ original content in sync with friends while on a FaceTime call.

Notably, this is the first time Disney has offered a co-viewing experience for live sports fans.

SharePlay was introduced with iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 after being announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last year as an upcoming iOS feature. Apple lined up several launch partners for the experience, including TikTok, Twitch, NBA, Paramount+, Showtime and others, in addition to supporting SharePlay in its own apps like Apple TV+, Apple Music and Apple Fitness. Disney was among Apple’s partners on the effort, but didn’t have SharePlay support available to Disney+ users until this past December.

SharePlay sessions allow up to 32 people to co-view content at the same time while on FaceTime, where each can choose the audio and subtitles in the language of their choosing. To work in the ESPN app, users must be logged in either via their TV Everywhere credentials or be an ESPN+ streaming subscriber. Their device must also run iOS 15.1 or iPadOS 15.1 or later in order to use the feature.

The feature will arrive with the ESPN app’s latest update, which will be more broadly publicized starting on Thursday. The update is being rolled out gradually, but Disney expects the feature to reach 100% of the ESPN app’s users by the end of the week. While SharePlay support is initially available only to those on iPhone and iPad, Disney notes that it will roll out to its ESPN app on Apple TV. At that point, users who prefer a big-screen experience can co-watch sports with friends who are on iPhone or iPad.

“By adding SharePlay support to the ESPN app, we are bringing a live sports co-viewing experience to fans for the first time,” Brian Marshall, vice president of Sports Products & Strategy, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement about the launch. “We are thrilled to provide a unique opportunity for friends and family to come together to root for some of their favorite teams and players, no matter the distance between them.”