ESPN Multicast not working on Apple TV


ESPN is the go-to streaming app on my Apple TV to watch live sports events. But when I opened the app to stream the UFC live match on Apple TV, the ESPN app showed the “Playback Could Not Be Started” error message. Then, I headed to the Apple Community to learn more about the ESPN Not Working message on Apple TV. Luckily, I got the solution.

Along with the error message, there are a lot of error messages and performance issues with the ESPN app reported by Apple TV users. Thats when I decided to write a whole troubleshooting article to fix all the performance issues with the ESPN app on Apple TV. If you have the same error message as me or any other issues, follow this guide and fix it.

ESPN Issues on Apple TV

These are the common issues that I have found on the Apple Community page.

  • Unable to Activate ESPN+
  • No Sound in PIP
  • Playback Could Not Be Started
  • Black or Blank Screen in Multicast Streaming
  • Authorization Failed
  • 0066: No Account Returned from UPDA
  • Apple TV Not Showing ESPN+ Subscription

ESPN on Apple TV Not Working: Fixes

Try these troubleshooting tips if the ESPN app is having performance issues on your Apple TV.

1. Restart ESPN

You can restart the ESPN app for all the issues mentioned above. Restarting is one of the common fixes for all the software issues. If restarting the ESPN app does not fix the issue, you can restart the Apple TV. Now, check if the issue exists on the app. If it is not fixed, go to the next fix.

2. Check your Internet

As provided by the ESPN+ Help Center, you need to have at least 5 Mbps internet to stream HD content. Use any of the speed test tools to check your internet speed. I suggest the Speedtest tool by Ookla. If your internet connection does not meet the requirements, you will get error messages like “Playback Could Not Be Started” and “0066: No Account Returned from UPDA”. You can also reset or reboot the router to get a better connection.

1. Unplug the WiFi router from the power source and keep it the same for thirty seconds.

Restart router to fix ESPN Not Working on Apple TV

2. After thirty seconds, you can connect the power cable back to the power source.

3. Check if the issue exists on the ESPN app.

3. Check if the ESPN Server is Down

ESPN on Apple TV may not work if the ESPN server is down. You need to check if the ESPN server is down or not. You can use the Downdetector website, as it instantly updates you about server outages. If there is any server issue, you will get the error message Authorization Failed on the ESPN app.

Check ESPN server

4. Re-install ESPN

1. Uninstall the ESPN app on your Apple TV.

  • Highlight the ESPN app tile and press and hold the touch surface or clickpad center until the app jiggles. Press the Play/Pause button and choose Delete.

2. Restart your Apple TV by unplugging it from power and re-plugging it after 30 seconds.

3. Once the device is turned on, open the App Store.

4. Search for the ESPN app and install it on your device.

5. Finally, sign in to your account and check if it works properly.

5. Disable VPN

If the ESPN app is not activating on your Apple TV, you need to disable the VPN. If you have a VPN connection enabled on your Apple TV, it might put an extra load on your Apple TV. Check if the ESPN app works fine after disabling your VPN.

6. ESPN+ AirPlay Not Working

If the AirPlay feature is not working on the ESPN or ESPN+ app, make sure that your iPhone and Apple TV are connected to the same WiFi connection. Also, check whether the devices are updated to their latest firmware.

7. Check Your ESPN Subscription

If Apple TV is not showing the ESPN+ subscription, check if the subscription is still active. Update your ESPN+ subscription if it is necessary. Sometimes, the Bundle subscription (Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN) needs more time to be activated. Wait a little more and check if the subscription is showing. If not, check with the subscription provider to fix the issue.

Check the ESPN+ subscription

8. Update Apple TV or ESPN

If the Multicast is not working on the ESPN app, you might be using the older version of the app. In the older version of the ESPN+ app, you will get a black screen during Multicast and no audio output during PIP streaming. If you have any such issues, update the ESPN app on your TV.

You can also update your Apple TV to fix the issue.

1. From the home screen, open the Settings menu.

2. Click on the System option.

3. Choose the Software Updates option and then the Update Software option.

Update Apple TV to fix ESPN app

4. If there is a pending update, click on Download and Install.

Those were all the possible ways to fix the ESPN app streaming issue. You can try out all of them individually to fix the ESPN app. If none of the fixes is working for you, you can contact ESPN+ customer support.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I activate ESPN on Apple TV?

You can visit https://www.espn.com/watch/activate from your browser to enter the activation code displayed on the Apple TV. Click Continue and it will activate the ESPN app.