ESPN is in the news a lot the last year, but avid sports fans have noticed the channel becoming very political in the last five years.They are losing subscribers continuously because of cord cutting and fans just not interested in them at all. The ESPN tribalist’s are in complete denial over this and will scold you any mention of their downfall.
An article by sports radio host Clay Travis caught my eye and covers this perspective from a business side. Travis has been very critical of ESPN in the past and has been attacked for it in the media world. His predictions have been spot on.
Here’s his article and it should be read. Travis covers the issue of the channel probably not be able to bid on Monday Night Football in 2021 and even entertains the idea Disney is tanking the channel on purpose. (Travis notes the October numbers are out and the channel lost 15,000 subscribers a day!)
ESPN presently pays $1.9 billion a year for Monday Night Football. (This is a wild stat, but did you know that every cable and satellite subscriber who has ESPN is paying $21.50 a year just for Monday Night Football games?
Will ESPN be able to afford to keep the NFL and pay more money despite having lost nearly 30% of its subscriber base in the ten years of the existing MNF contract? That seems highly unlikely doesn’t it? But can ESPN exist as a network without NFL games? Remember, it’s not just the NFL games, it’s all the ancillary content that ESPN builds around the NFL games, think about the hours of studio programming that ESPN devotes to pro football. ESPN justifies its sky high cost per month to cable and satellite companies based on the games it provides exclusively on cable, can ESPN extract an increase in subscriber fees from cable and satellite companies when its deals expire without the NFL games?
ESPN’s business is collapsing so rapidly that they are now trying to figure out which would be more destructive — losing billions on the NFL or losing billions in cable and satellite revenue because they don’t have the NFL.
Travis goes into a long layout of how ESPN business operates and Disney’s business involvement. I urge you to click on the link above and read it, but I found this next part interesting and entertain this thought about the channel more so everyday.
As ESPN’s business collapses Disney is going to draw more and more of the money off the network to use on growing businesses elsewhere as it slowly winds down the ESPN business. Instead of investing in a money-losing business Disney is going to take all the money out of ESPN it possibly can and use it more effectively. The end result? My best guess is that ESPN will end up auctioning off the latter years of its existing rights packages to the tech companies.
ESPN is the sports version of Blockbuster Video.
As the channel continues its plunge, they’ve excepted their fate and just want to piss sports fans off on the way down.