ESPN Closer to Going Away for Good?

Submitted by xtramelanin on August 10th, 2017 at 6:10 PM


Article just out about how Disney is dealing with its new reality.   Along with the earlier reported bit about Netflix, the shift to streaming content has affected ESPN too.  They report 'a mass subscriber exodus' starting in 2015 and added, "One reason Disney took so long to take ESPN direct to consumers is because the bundle was great business for the network. ESPN has the highest affiliate fees in the industry."

The article ends with what most of us probably think is a confirming opinion on where the industry is headed:" If Disney’s direct-to-consumer platforms are successful, Greenfield anticipates that will accelerate ESPN’s demise.

“The more content that consumers can obtain without a multichannel video subscription, not to mention more and more content without advertising, the less interest they will have in subscribing to the big multichannel video bundle."

Full article link here:…

The only reason we have TV for a few months a year is because of football, and if ESPN goes bye-bye, the TV will too.   

Your thoughts?



** On a completely unrelated note, what happened to everyone's avatar?  No more 'Naughty Dentist' for LSA, 'former KGB' for Putin, and no explanation for why Everyone Murders is a murderer.   What happened? **




August 10th, 2017 at 7:48 PM ^

I cut the cord about 2 years ago. I'm not sure that it saved me all that much money, but it didnt cost me money, that's for sure. And I'd rather give my money to Sony, Amazon, Netflix, SlingTV etc than fucking Comcast. 


Between the networks (digital antenae), ESPN 1/2, BTN, PAC12, FoxSports I get enough to watch more football than I should and you can get that with one of the packages and then cancel after football is over. 


August 11th, 2017 at 12:33 AM ^

Yeah, Playstation Vue for $45 for me. Was $35 last year. 


SlingTV is probably a better value overall, but sadly does not carry BTN. 


Will have to look into the Youtube thing. 

Monthly I pay $60 for Comcast internet, $10 for netflix, $10 for Prime and $15 for Vue (on an annualized basis since ~4 months and cancel). I'd pay for Prime anyway just for the 2 day/ Prime Now 2 hour delivery, and restaurant delivery etc. So $85 by reckoning. 


I've had numerous customer service nightmares with Comcast over the years so I'd prefer to pay them as little as I can though you cant avoid them for internet really due to the monopoly. Plus I much prefer the flexilbility of being able to just cancel or order service online etc than dealing with Comcast contracts and processes. Just my opinion. 


August 10th, 2017 at 6:24 PM ^

huge subscriber fees and thus no longer able to create enough revenue to continue operations.   i don't know the numbers, but the article seems to indicate that.   they probably don't think they are going to make billions in streaming fees which is what it takes to buy all the sports programming. 


August 10th, 2017 at 6:34 PM ^

With respect to revenue, I'm not going to pretend to have a sense of what Disney needs, but I think it goes without saying that if Disney starts a Disney corollary to HBO Now, ESPN would be at the heart of it. Maybe that business model is less profitable than what the last twenty years offered and they will have to pare back, hopefully on anything involving idiot personalities like Skip Bayless, but they certainly aren't about to disappear. 


August 10th, 2017 at 10:47 PM ^

They could very well see a serious reduction in revenue in the coming years and many of the contracts for sports are locked in. Trouble is on the horizon for both ESPN and the sports it supports.

I Like Burgers

August 10th, 2017 at 11:51 PM ^

For one, Disney isn't going to start a service that's going to accelerate ESPN's demise. That's just dumb business -- especially because they have no reason to do a Disney only streaming service.

For two, while ESPN won't be getting sub fees from cable they will be getting the same exact fees from everyone that signs up for their service.


August 10th, 2017 at 6:34 PM ^

Significantly less people will subscribe to bundles. Many more will just have a streaming sports service. Those people will not be tuning into the bullshit talk shows that comprise the rest of ESPN's programming, nor will a large fraction of their cable subscription bill go to ESPN.


August 10th, 2017 at 6:27 PM ^

As someone born in the 1960s, TV networks and cable TV seems like the only logical way to deliver the content.  But I look at my teenagers, and they almost never watch 'broadcast' TV (well, cable TV, with airing times etc).  They exclusively watch (1) Youtube, (2) Netflix, and (3) On Demand.  There is no TV by appointment for them.

Now, they aren't sports fans.  It seems the only two types of TV to watch live are (1) news and (2) sports.  But that's a minority of the TV put on "air" (er, cable) at any moment in time.  It's not going to drive the bus, it's going to be stored under the bus.

So it's all headed towards streaming services.  Disney has now figured that out, and ESPN will just have to follow along.  It's not the "demise" of ESPN; it's the demise of their cable network.  But they already have ESPN360 / ESPN3 ("THE TRI"???), so pretty much that will be everything for them.

For me... streaming services like Netflix sometimes FREEZE up.  Internet glitches, bandwidth, etc.  Cable TV virtually never has that problem (I have FiOS).  There is a real quality downgrade to cutting the cord.


August 10th, 2017 at 6:40 PM ^

I'm 33 and I haven't had a cable subscription in 5 years; even then it was only for march madness. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, which allows you a completely a la carte approach to television, without commercials, which I find to be disgusting and bad for humanity.


The only gap is sports, which I access with either my parents' log in for (kinda lame), pirated sites (also kinda lame), or at a bar (kinda expensive). When the Tigers were good I had an subscription. But I'm not going through the bullshit of having a cable box and paying outlandish fees just so I can watch college football and March Madness.


I'll happily subscribe to their streaming service each fall though.


August 10th, 2017 at 9:25 PM ^

I have divorced myself from the business model of subscription cable services. I will not provide money to the model. I will continue to use it when it is the only way for me to access content, but I will not pay for it.


If you wanna say I haven't cut the cord, that's fine. 


August 10th, 2017 at 6:42 PM ^

It's hard to teach the love of sports to kids these days. A big part of it is the enormous (and seemingly increasing every year) numbers of ads combined with a shorter attention span from all the devices out there. Yet they somehow waste hours on Youtube.

Things are changing rapidly as the base audience for sports on television gets older and older. And if our kids don't get into it the way we did with our parents, the future is hard to figure.

I'd like to cut the cord, but probably about the same time it becomes a sensible decision to drop cable and still consume a lot of sports programming, cable itself will disappear from its current form.

Will this affect professional and major college sports? Seems inevitable.


August 10th, 2017 at 9:39 PM ^

that we've allowed them to play, and some of them are pretty good at the various sports.  one of the ways i think they have developed that has to do with our take on sports (i played a lot of them, and for a long time), how we play them at home, and one other thing:  their near complete black-out on the TV/video entertainment thing or any TV/video thing other than the college football and a bit of college hoops.  

they do not look at the TV for anything other than college football as it sits dark otherwise.  no video games, either.  they will throw about any type of ball you have, they will ride our bulls/steers, they will do foot races around various parts of the farm, they will read or be read to (i'm about to start that in 60 seconds or so), but TV just isn't part of the deal.  


August 11th, 2017 at 11:16 AM ^

I had the pleasure of meeting John Bacon a few months back, and one of the topics that came up was the layoffs at ESPN. He mentioned that the biggest reason was the obivious, that ESPN overpaid for rights to NBA and NFL, and cable subscribers were going away at a high rate. But he also mentioned that kids aren't into watching sports near as much as when he was a kid. He mentioned how the airing of sports programs are on too late, and games are taking to long. He used the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship game as an example (Because this was within a few weeks of that event). It didn't start until 9pm EST on a Monday. Most 8 - 14 year olds can't stay up to watch a game that late on a school night. This may push more younger kids away from watching big games, which will decrease the likielyhood of them being fans.

He didn't mention this next part, but kids now a days have so much more content to watch, that sports aren't always their first choice. I was born at the beginning of the 80's, so when I was was a kid we didn't have many choices and we only had 1 tv (until I was 9 or 10). So we were typically watching one of only a few shows like Magyver, Cheers, Who's the boss or Sports. There wasn't endless programing on the Internet (what's that??), 100's of channels, or multiple devices to watch content on. I know I am a bigger fan of sports now because we didn't have all of those choices and only 1 tv. So when my dad watched sports, I either had to mind my own business or sit there and watch sports with him.


August 10th, 2017 at 6:43 PM ^

I don't know why everyone is so gleeful for the demise of ESPN.

They cover college football better than anybody else.

And as far as bundling, it benefits me tremendously as a college football fan.  Other cable subscribers are subsidizing me, not the other way around.

I watch college football all through the week on many different netwroks / outlets.  If a game is on I will watch it.  On Saturday, it's a feast . . . Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac 12, Big 12, etc.  From 9:00 AM to 2:00 AM Sunday morning.

It's effortless.

If I had to piece all of that together a la catre, possibly via pay-per-view, I could not afford it.

My college football party would be over.

Even if it is streaming, they have to make money from it somehow.  If they are not making it from grandma paying extra cable bundling fees for ESPN that she never watches, they will need to make it up elsewhere.  From me.

Mark my words, the current environment and setup will go down as the golden age of college football.  

I'm not in a hurry to get rid of it. 



August 10th, 2017 at 6:57 PM ^

And just to piggyback of that thought.....if it would be the "demise of ESPN" that would mean a WHOLE lot of channels would also go bye bye because let's not get it twisted....a lot of these channels are around because they were able to be bundled with ESPN. 

I mean I get it....some of the programming on ESPN turns some people off. Some people don't like this talking head and some people don't like this or that format. I get it. But ESPN has been a linch pin in sports for how many decades now?!? They have to change the formay model sure...but its the only channel where we can get all our sports in one place almost. They have NBA, NHL, NFL and college sports. Now unless Fox is going to make a bid on all ain't happenin. And sure you can get the individual packages for all those sports ...but how much is that going to cost you. 

I think a lot of people would pay 10.00 a month to have ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS as long as they were able to get live action sports when they aired. Hell Disney as a stand alone is going to clean up when that streaming service starts. How are parents going to say not to their kids and as parents....they figure i can get the disney stream and not have to worry about any inappropriate movies or shows coming on because....well its Disney.

One thing is for sure....times are a changin....


August 10th, 2017 at 8:00 PM ^

Man I could not agree more with you guys. Nothing better than being able to simply flip between games in crispy HD. ESPN has the best HD, the best game coverage, the best announcers. 

I don't understand the super anti-ESPN crowd, because they have some lame studio shows? Who cares, I watch for the live sports. 

It does appear bundled cable as we know it is dying a slow death, but I'm not sure the product will be better going forward. I pay a very reasonable fee for a nice cable package, where I can easily watch a ton of games with no hassle. Will be pretty bummed when that's gone.