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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ESPN unloads staff like viewers unloaded ESPN

Having lost 12 million "subscribers" in the past five years, ESPN is dumping staff like a falling airplane dumps cargo.

The Sporting News reported, "The Worldwide Leader in Sports could cut around 70 TV/radio anchors, reporters, analysts and online writers over coming days and weeks, sources said."

Since ESPN regularly cans anyone who dares utter a conservative thought, I have little empathy for the network that politicized sports. I watch its football games with the sound off. I am pretty sure I can tell a forward pass from a run by now.

ESPN bullied cable networks into charging what is now $6 a month per customer to carry its channel regardless if said customer actually watched ESPN.

Meanwhile, Disney -- owner of ESPN -- lobbied Congress and the bureaucracy to keep cable customers from picking and choosing which pay stations they really want.

Frankly, I want none of them. Not Fox News. Not ESPN. If I have to pay you to watch you, I won't. I can watch "Green Acres" reruns on Antenna TV for free, and enjoy myself.

The high charges by ESPN and others are why people are cutting their cable cords. Hence the loss of 12 million "subscribers," most of whom seldom (if ever) watched it.

From Sporting News:
Some ESPN stars are earning from $1.5 million to $3 million, according to Miller. They're not going to make that kind of scratch at other networks. To save their jobs, some of these talents are renegotiating their deals for lesser pay, said sources.
It's no coincidence the layoffs are taking place before ESPN parent Disney's release of its 2nd quarter financial results on May 9.
From Yahoo Finance:
ESPN will cut more than 100 employees today, Yahoo Finance has learned.
That number is much bigger than the 40-50 that was initially reported. ESPN aims to notify all of the people today, if it can do so.
It has been widely reported for weeks that big cuts are coming to ESPN — so widely reported, and dissected, and gossiped about, in fact, that ESPN moved up its schedule and is notifying people earlier than it originally planned.
The 100 people getting cut are all “on-air talent,” a label ESPN uses for TV personalities, radio hosts, and writers who regularly appear on TV and radio. (ESPN says it has 1,000 such people, prior to these cuts.)
A thousand on-air personalities?

They were burning money.

ESPN grew rapidly in the first 30 years of the cable explosion, roughly from MTV's beginning to five years ago when the cord cutting began in earnest.

Now ESPN has no growth potential in the United States, competition, and the wrath of many conservative sports fans. I suggest losing the Social Justice Warrior attitude, and getting back to the basics of sports.

Maybe losing half the talk shows, re-running games in the daytime, and the return of Australian rules football would cut expenses and end the slide in paying customers.

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  1. Sad thing is they (ESPN) will not learn from the mistake of politicizing their "product."

    1. Hear, hear! The NFL is following the example of the Especially Stupid People Network as well. They'll keep doubling down on the stupid because that's what lefties do.

  2. Adios. Maybe we can get to ala carte cable now that there is a new sheriff in town.

    Sound is off on all football games, regardless of network. Back in the 70s or 80s, one station did a game without announcers - just the sounds from the field. It was awesome. Wish they would do that again.

    1. It was NBC in '83, I believe. I can't imagine any network doing it now.

    2. I saw a basketball game accidentally broadcast in that way about fifteen years ago when the transition to HD was going on and some technician forgot to hook up the announcers properly.
      Also, once when I was on a cruise there was a football broadcast picked up by an overseas operator who for some reason only included the stadium noise with no announcers.
      I've stopped watching sports except when someone else wants to. Not even a super bowl this year.

    3. You've been able to get ala carte cable for years. Get a Roku box and pay for only what you want to pay. If you're interested in sports get a VPN and stream it from your computer. The only sports I regularly watch is the Olympics. I haven't watched those on NBC for years. I watched them on the BBC, NHK (Japan), ARD ZDF (Germany), Canal+ (France), CBC (Canada), Seven Network (Australia) ESPN India (in English and Indian commercials are fun), etc. using a VPN.

    4. Unfortunately the only high speed internet I can get it via cable provider. And it is not reliable - many 20-30 second blips that prevent me from streaming shows. Worth the hassle to live where I do.

  3. About the only sport I'm interested in is baseball, and ESPN does such a lousy job with it I'd just as soon listen to games via MLB Gameday. Maybe if more people realized the size of the chunk ESPN is taking from their cable bill, we'd have a lot more cord-cutters.

  4. Eva Gabor commentating an Aussie Rules game, now that'd be something.

    "Oliver darling, why are the playing ping-pong with the football?"

  5. The ESPN business model reminds me a bit of the big medical systems. Lots of fixed costs with no way out other than subsidy if times get tough, alternatives come around, or people's tastes change.
    The analogy breaks down if you try to make direct comparisons, but consider what happens when a hospital buys up a ton of practices with expectations of things being based on what has happened in the past and things change in unexpected ways. An internist I once knew once said that general surgery was four drugs away from being eliminated as a medical specialty. This has never happened, but the hospital I used to spend most of my time at has seen a large drop in the number of procedures performed there, just after they bought up nearly all the docs in the area. Ooops.
    They guaranteed all of those salaries. Now say a few of these docs, with their new contracts, realize that they have a bit more time off coming to them, or because they no longer have to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from drop off in productivity. Sure, you can penalize them and cut their pay, but that productivity loss remains. Maybe you have to bring in a locum tenens doc to make up the difference. Ouch, expensive.
    Say one of your subspecialists quits or retires and now all of his old partners are upset about the increase in work load and threaten to move away? Gotta find a way to make them happy. Maybe pay them a bit of a premium for something they already do? Ouch, again. Maybe bring in another partner or a locums to make up the difference. Ouch.
    How about this? Maybe we buy the hospital across town or in the next town, or build a new one and grow our way out of the problem? Uhhh, come again?

  6. Lose the talk shows? But where will I go to hear two men discuss what Johnny Tweeted about Bobby and Oh! How Bobby is going to be so steamed!


    -Mikey NTH

  7. Infusing politics back into sports ignores one of the main reasons people watch sports - to get away from politics.