ESPN now supports SharePlay and lets iPhone users watch live sports games with friends — how to use it

SharePlay
SharePlay (Image credit: Apple)

Apple teamed up with ESPN, Disney's subsidiary company, to offer sports fans the opportunity to co-watch live sports games with friends and family. Distance is no longer a hindrance for those who yearn to have an ESPN-viewing companion.

Thanks to Apple's beloved SharePlay and FaceTime features, ESPN fans can cheer on their favorite players — and taunt the opposing team — while loved ones watch in sync via videoconferencing and picture-in-picture mode.

“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, Disney's VP of Sports Products & Strategy, said in a press release. “We are thrilled to provide a unique opportunity for friends and family to come together to root for some of their favorite teams."

If you're an avid sports fan, you may be wondering how you can put this cool new feature to the test. Check out the step-by-step instructions below to enjoy shared viewing experiences with fellow sports fanatics.

How to use SharePlay-supported ESPN app to watch live games with friends

Before creating a shared streaming session with an ESPN viewing buddy, you must have the following: 

  • An active ESPN account with an eligible TV provider subscription (opens in new tab). ESPN+ subscribers can also gain access.
  • A supported iOS or iPadOS device that runs 15.1 or later.
  • ESPN app must be installed and updated

Once you have your prerequisites set up, here's how you can start a SharePlay session to co-watch live ESPN games.

1. On your iPhone or iPad, launch a FaceTime call.

2. Swipe from the bottom edge of the FaceTime call.

3. Open the ESPN app.

4. Choose the event you'd like to watch with your viewing buddy (e.g. an ESPN+ Original or a live game). Tap Play.

5. If prompted, press SharePlay.

If a SharePlay prompt doesn't appear, don't fret. The update is rolling out gradually to the public; it should reach 100% of ESPN users by the end of the week.

It's worth noting that ESPN's short-form clips and replays are not supported. In regards to ESPN+ pay-per-view content (e.g. UFC), each participant must purchase the event before everyone can co-watch in sync.

SharePlay sessions can include up to 32 people and the feature is only accessible to U.S. residents.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!