ESPN Is Pathetic

Marciano490

Urological Expert
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Nov 4, 2007
62,937
I have to say, for all the shit that ESPN deservedly gets, I love the crap they put on the Ocho. The other night I watched the table hockey championship, last night the pillow fight championship. And the slippery stairs is always a highlight. The commentary for these things is the best.
They have some great dog competitions too. Jumping and obstacle courses and catching. It’s like my third favorite sport after boxing and football.
 

ifmanis5

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More details on the ESPN NBA broadcast crew announcements today.
https://deadline.com/2023/08/espn-new-on-air-nba-announcers-doris-burke-1235519292/

Greenie is out as studio host, Malika Andrews in.
Hubie Brown (90) has returned, somehow.
And the second team is all new:
ESPN also announced a second new broadcast team comprised of play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco, paired with former NBA players JJ Redick and Richard Jefferson. This new team will be ESPN’s second core NBA broadcast team and will call the NBA Sunday Showcase series on ABC, plus work together for other marquee events throughout the season and into the NBA Playoffs.
 

j-man

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happy for doris but tnt should always have the finals i hope in the next contact its just TNT NBA TV and NBC/USA cbs was better than ABC u could do CBS and CBS Sports network as well to me all ABC cares about is playoffs and finals
 

Mugsy's Jock

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This kind of shit by Spectrum is why cable absolutely fucked themselves and destroyed the greatest business model in the history of business models.

I'm not talking about their deciding to black out ESPN after protracted negotiations. That's totally their right, and I don't deny that ESPN may be asking for an inordinate rate boost.

What I'm talking about is they're complaining about "packages forcing you to take and pay for channels you may not want". The cable MSOs should've made the case 10 years ago that the bundle is a great fucking deal, and "paying for channels you don't want" also means "getting channels you do want for way less than you'd get them otherwise." The value is in the bundle. George Bailey had it right:

View: https://youtu.be/_Er69b4HMl8


The NCTA (the trade association for the cable distributors) completely fucked up the messaging by not making it clear to subscribers what a great deal they had. Instead, they led consumers to believe they could get exactly the channels they want at wholesale prices. You can have a bundle of a few hundred channels including ESPN for maybe 60 bucks/month. You want ESPN without a 100-million home footprint? It's gonna cost $35/month.

Yet Spectrum is trying to persuade its consumers that the bundle is the problem. Infuriating.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
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Why doesn’t Spectrum understand that live sports is the greatest reason to not cord-cut?

Everything else you can either get on the webYT or watch later and closer to a la carte.
 

ifmanis5

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This is no run of the mill dispute, this has the makings of a future of the business model deal. And that means we may see that slate for a while.
View: https://twitter.com/THR/status/1697697124484571284

Disney Fires Back At Charter, Says It Offered “Favorable Terms” For ESPN, ABC Carriage Deal
“We’re on the edge of a precipice. We’re either moving forward with a new collaborative video model, or we’re moving on,” Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said on a conference call with Wall Street analysts Friday morning. “This is not a typical carriage dispute. It’s significant for Charter, and we think it’s even more significant for programmers and the broader video ecosystem.”
 

PedroKsBambino

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His remaining credibility retired eight years ago, so it's about time he stopped cashing those checks.
 

Auger34

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His remaining credibility retired eight years ago, so it's about time he stopped cashing those checks.
Even removing the deflategate stuff, it was way past time for Mortensen to retire. He looked noticeably unhealthy the past few years and seemed to struggle to remember what he was talking about.
 

Patriot_Reign

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None of the replies to that Tweet mentioned Deflategate.
He blocked me years ago for replying to one of his tweets where I asked about deflategate. Thought it was remarkable that a high profile guy like him would bother to go through his replies. Forgot exactly what I said but it wasn't vulgar or anything like that. Some of these people have just the thinnest of skins.
 

The Social Chair

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I just looked it up, and NFL Live's ratings are pretty close to First Take during football season. Mina gets ratings



“NFL Live” on ESPN from 4-5pm on weekdays averaged 423,000 this season, matching last season for the program’s best average since 2016 (and up over 20% from 2020 and 2019). The program in November averaged 452,000, which is ESPN’s third-best monthly audience for the show since December 2018 (and up from 439,000 in November 2021).

The number of women watching is up nearly 10 percent this year from the last year of the show’s previous iteration. An average of 80,000 women watch “NFL Live” every day.
 

trekfan55

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I have no idea who Nick Adams is but this just irked me (and I don't watch EPSN Gameday).

View: https://twitter.com/NickAdamsinUSA/status/1699461578549014546?s=20


ESPN just gave a HUGE new contract to their "NFL analyst" Mina Kimes. Kimes has never played a down of football in her life, yet she will be paid $1.7 million a year to talk about it on woke ESPN. ESPN is no longer about sports, it's about promoting equity among the genders!
I know its mostly a Twitter hot take, but what drew me is her response

View: https://twitter.com/minakimes/status/1699527751878025696?s=20


I will refrain from any other comments so as to make this a V&N thread.
 

trekfan55

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This kind of shit by Spectrum is why cable absolutely fucked themselves and destroyed the greatest business model in the history of business models.

I'm not talking about their deciding to black out ESPN after protracted negotiations. That's totally their right, and I don't deny that ESPN may be asking for an inordinate rate boost.

What I'm talking about is they're complaining about "packages forcing you to take and pay for channels you may not want". The cable MSOs should've made the case 10 years ago that the bundle is a great fucking deal, and "paying for channels you don't want" also means "getting channels you do want for way less than you'd get them otherwise." The value is in the bundle. George Bailey had it right:

View: https://youtu.be/_Er69b4HMl8


The NCTA (the trade association for the cable distributors) completely fucked up the messaging by not making it clear to subscribers what a great deal they had. Instead, they led consumers to believe they could get exactly the channels they want at wholesale prices. You can have a bundle of a few hundred channels including ESPN for maybe 60 bucks/month. You want ESPN without a 100-million home footprint? It's gonna cost $35/month.

Yet Spectrum is trying to persuade its consumers that the bundle is the problem. Infuriating.
I think many cord cutters are finding out now.

Now that every company has their own service people may realize that to get the variety of programming they need they will pay through the nose. If all you want is some specific content that's fine but that's not the usual case in a typical household.

That being said, ESPN's (and other big cable outlets) model is and was to get in the basic tier and get an automatic $$ for every cable subcriber. This may be what cable companies need to change.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
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A la carte would be great (I would love to cut Disney but keep ESPN), also please cut Nickelodeon and a bun ch of other stuff I never watch. But I doubt it would ever happen.

Say I want ESPN networks, TNT, USA, Bravo, locals, MSNBC, CNN, TWC and maybe a couple more. And have DVR. How much should that cost?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Apr 12, 2001
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A la carte would be great (I would love to cut Disney but keep ESPN), also please cut Nickelodeon and a bun ch of other stuff I never watch. But I doubt it would ever happen.

Say I want ESPN networks, TNT, USA, Bravo, locals, MSNBC, CNN, TWC and maybe a couple more. And have DVR. How much should that cost?
A la carte would end up costing much more than just paying for a bunch of shit you don't watch. Those crappy channels help to keep the costs down on the channels you like (ESPN, for example) so that your cable company at least evens out. If you go a la carte, a majority will be like you where they want ESPN the most. This will allow ESPN (or the cable company) to charge a shit load more for that one channel, than if you wanted the Underwater Knitting channel or something. Cable companies aren't dumb (about this anyway), they know that a small percentage watch the niche channels and that a larger percentage watch the ESPNs on FoxNews or whatever, so they will price them accordingly. It's not like ESPN will be $5, MeTV will be $5, the Train Channel will be $5. ESPN will be really expensive.
 

8slim

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Nov 6, 2001
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A la carte would be great (I would love to cut Disney but keep ESPN), also please cut Nickelodeon and a bun ch of other stuff I never watch. But I doubt it would ever happen.

Say I want ESPN networks, TNT, USA, Bravo, locals, MSNBC, CNN, TWC and maybe a couple more. And have DVR. How much should that cost?
Right now you can get all that from YouTube TV for $72 a month.

Ala carte? ESPN nets will cost $30-35 alone. If you want the live sports on TNT and USA figure that dramatically increase the cost of Max (now $15) and Peacock ($10 I believe). Live news shouldn’t be as much of an increase (since the rights/production cost is far lower than sports) . But I suspect you’re looking at Max being $30 and Peacock $20.

There’s no future where ala carte is cheaper than a current bundle. The upside is more flexibility in cancelling/adding services, and a far better user interface.
 

ManicCompression

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A la carte would end up costing much more than just paying for a bunch of shit you don't watch. Those crappy channels help to keep the costs down on the channels you like (ESPN, for example) so that your cable company at least evens out.
This is what infuriates me about the "People who don't watch sports are subsidizing people who watch sports!" argument. The cable bundle is great because everyone subsidizes each other. I don't watch the Hallmark channel, but I make it cheaper for someone who does while they make it cheaper for me to watch ESPN. Same goes for E! and Bravo watchers and NatGeo, etc. Cable subscribers are a cartel using collective purchasing power to access entertainment that would cost more otherwise.

Yeah, you end up with a bunch of shit you don't watch, but as overpriced as it seems, it's much better than the alternative of buying 100 different streaming services that also force you to pay for a bunch of shit you don't watch (since my subscription $$ is paying for the production costs of Too Hot To Handle on Netflix). I swear, we're going to wistfully look back on the days of the cable bundle and wonder why we ever wanted a la carte.
 

8slim

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This is what infuriates me about the "People who don't watch sports are subsidizing people who watch sports!" argument. The cable bundle is great because everyone subsidizes each other. I don't watch the Hallmark channel, but I make it cheaper for someone who does while they make it cheaper for me to watch ESPN. Same goes for E! and Bravo watchers and NatGeo, etc. Cable subscribers are a cartel using collective purchasing power to access entertainment that would cost more otherwise.

Yeah, you end up with a bunch of shit you don't watch, but as overpriced as it seems, it's much better than the alternative of buying 100 different streaming services that also force you to pay for a bunch of shit you don't watch (since my subscription $$ is paying for the production costs of Too Hot To Handle on Netflix). I swear, we're going to wistfully look back on the days of the cable bundle and wonder why we ever wanted a la carte.
“Cable” could have survived if they dramatically improved their user experience a decade ago. They should have been launching streaming devices and taken the entire video operation to broadband.

Then they needed to cut deals with the programmers to make everything in-season available on demand. And do additional deals to make some elements of the programmers library on demand.

And of course the programmer should have stopped selling their stuff to Netflix.

There were people in the industry saying this in real time. But the operators didn’t want to make the investment, and the programmers were too interested in butting heads over ad inventory ownership in on-demand shows.

Now, they’ve both lost. As has the consumer.
 

ManicCompression

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“Cable” could have survived if they dramatically improved their user experience a decade ago. They should have been launching streaming devices and taken the entire video operation to broadband.

Then they needed to cut deals with the programmers to make everything in-season available on demand. And do additional deals to make some elements of the programmers library on demand.

And of course the programmer should have stopped selling their stuff to Netflix.

There were people in the industry saying this in real time. But the operators didn’t want to make the investment, and the programmers were too interested in butting heads over ad inventory ownership in on-demand shows.

Now, they’ve both lost. As has the consumer.
Totally agree the companies blew it (and their monopoly), but the model was the right idea for both networks and consumers. I think eventually consolidation/partnerships will produce "streaming bundles" where you can get sports + most of the other stuff you want, but for the time being we're stuck paying out the nose for probably worse content than we did 10 years ago.
 

sonofgodcf

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Jul 17, 2005
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The toilet.
I don't understand why a la carte would make ESPN/live sports channels more expensive. I thought that live sports was the only thing really generating ad revenue and thus why team value have skyrocketed. Why wouldn't they be cheaper when decoupled from advertising losers? Seems like there would be incentive to make them as cheap as possible and rake in the ad dollars over subscription fees.
 

8slim

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Totally agree the companies blew it (and their monopoly), but the model was the right idea for both networks and consumers. I think eventually consolidation/partnerships will produce "streaming bundles" where you can get sports + most of the other stuff you want, but for the time being we're stuck paying out the nose for probably worse content than we did 10 years ago.
I agree about the model. It was great value for the consumer, and made billions for the operators and programmers. Bundling will return, but the challenge is the lack of a middle man. There's very little incentive for Amazon, Apple and Google to use an intermediary.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
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“Cable” could have survived if they dramatically improved their user experience a decade ago. They should have been launching streaming devices and taken the entire video operation to broadband.

Then they needed to cut deals with the programmers to make everything in-season available on demand. And do additional deals to make some elements of the programmers library on demand.

And of course the programmer should have stopped selling their stuff to Netflix.

There were people in the industry saying this in real time. But the operators didn’t want to make the investment, and the programmers were too interested in butting heads over ad inventory ownership in on-demand shows.

Now, they’ve both lost. As has the consumer.
This is a great frickin post
You’re absolutely correct

As to the previous post, I like keeping things on DVR for years (like Pats SB’s)

Going in and out is cheaper indeed (well much much less if avoiding sports) but takes more work
 

kenneycb

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I don't understand why a la carte would make ESPN/live sports channels more expensive. I thought that live sports was the only thing really generating ad revenue and thus why team value have skyrocketed. Why wouldn't they be cheaper when decoupled from advertising losers? Seems like there would be incentive to make them as cheap as possible and rake in the ad dollars over subscription fees.
ESPN wants to maintain the same levels of revenue. Currently it can charge smaller fees per customer because the fee is spread out across all cable subscribers even if the customer doesn't care about ESPN. If it just sells to people who want to watch ESPN it is receiving revenue from fewer people so it will have to increase the price (likely dramatically) so it keeps the same revenue levels. Viewership is also likely to decline as people who currently watch ESPN "passively" because it's in their cable bundle would no longer watch and would lead to lower ad spend. There may be a short-term hit to revenue to gain viewership but they're going to want to maintain / grow that revenue figure so that means some combo (1) increasing the price to subscribe, (2) getting more viewers and (3) charging more for ad space. (2) and (3) are very far out so they'll likely try to control (1) in the short-term.
 

Ale Xander

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I agree about the model. It was great value for the consumer, and made billions for the operators and programmers. Bundling will return, but the challenge is the lack of a middle man. There's very little incentive for Amazon, Apple and Google to use an intermediary.
Government needs to step in and prevent those three from using streaming as loss leaders
 

8slim

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I don't understand why a la carte would make ESPN/live sports channels more expensive. I thought that live sports was the only thing really generating ad revenue and thus why team value have skyrocketed. Why wouldn't they be cheaper when decoupled from advertising losers? Seems like there would be incentive to make them as cheap as possible and rake in the ad dollars over subscription fees.
Math.

Right now ESPN is making well north of $10 for every subscribing household. 70 million HHs in the U.S. X $10 per month = roughly $8.5 billion annually. Advertising revenue is on top of that, and is dependent on the size of audiences.

Now, figure out what a monthly price needs to be to merely maintain that $8.5 billion. If 30 million subscribers decided tomorrow that they want ESPN directly, that's $28/month. And 30 million is probably a VERY aggressive forecast.

Also consider that viewing levels are going to drop given that ESPN would be without the ~40 million HHs that might tune in occasionally for a big game, but have no interest in being a direct monthly subscriber. So ad rates will suffer.
 

ManicCompression

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I don't understand why a la carte would make ESPN/live sports channels more expensive. I thought that live sports was the only thing really generating ad revenue and thus why team value have skyrocketed. Why wouldn't they be cheaper when decoupled from advertising losers? Seems like there would be incentive to make them as cheap as possible and rake in the ad dollars over subscription fees.
If ESPN gets more viewers, they can demand higher carriage fees from your cable provider. So Charter alone gives Disney $3.6 Billion a year just to carry ESPN, Disney channel, etc. That's before a single advertiser gives Disney a penny across those channels. DIsney is making those channels more expensive (they always could, we'll see if they can continue to do so), and then it gets passed onto the consumer.

And I think we're seeing the limits of live sports as entertainment. Ratings are mostly going down (NFL is the same essentially). A subscription ESPN package on its own would not earn enough money to pay for the ridiculous price tags of live rights. We could be staring at a scenario where the sports bubble starts popping. We're already seeing the effects in college football, and the NBA is negotiating its TV deal and the idea that it'll get double the previous deal (floated within the last year) is more fantasy at this point. At some point, it's just not profitable to pay billions to broadcast sporting events that are nice to haves instead of must haves.
 

8slim

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If ESPN gets more viewers, they can demand higher carriage fees from your cable provider. So Charter alone gives Disney $3.6 Billion a year just to carry ESPN, Disney channel, etc. That's before a single advertiser gives Disney a penny across those channels. DIsney is making those channels more expensive (they always could, we'll see if they can continue to do so), and then it gets passed onto the consumer.

And I think we're seeing the limits of live sports as entertainment. Ratings are mostly going down (NFL is the same essentially). A subscription ESPN package on its own would not earn enough money to pay for the ridiculous price tags of live rights. We could be staring at a scenario where the sports bubble starts popping. We're already seeing the effects in college football, and the NBA is negotiating its TV deal and the idea that it'll get double the previous deal (floated within the last year) is more fantasy at this point. At some point, it's just not profitable to pay billions to broadcast sporting events that are nice to haves instead of must haves.
Good post. What could keep the bubble inflated is the streamers. It's no coincidence that the NFL (the crown jewel in all of this) sold rights to Amazon. They desperately need them in play to get more money out of the traditional networks. Obviously the NBA is doing the same, floating talk that they will sell a major rights package to one of Apple, Google or Amazon.

As long as the streamers are out in the marketplace with their funny money, I don't think we'll see a crash.
 

Trapaholic

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He's an alpha male (says so in his description), so he must be correct!
Nothing screams "Alpha Male" more than getting upset about who is talking about football on the TV screen. 95% of what these type of guys rail against is related to who is on the TV or social media. It's funny because the NFL has the entire country in the palm of their hand. These guys will watch no matter who is on TV, who stands or kneels for the national anthem, or what products are being sold in commercials.

It is a great reminder to "Touch Grass" as the kids say. Sometimes we just need to disengage and enjoy the games for what they are.
 

ManicCompression

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Good post. What could keep the bubble inflated is the streamers. It's no coincidence that the NFL (the crown jewel in all of this) sold rights to Amazon. They desperately need them in play to get more money out of the traditional networks. Obviously the NBA is doing the same, floating talk that they will sell a major rights package to one of Apple, Google or Amazon.

As long as the streamers are out in the marketplace with their funny money, I don't think we'll see a crash.
I think that's true for the NFL, but other sports? I have a hard time seeing Apple, Google, or Amazon seeing the cost benefit of the comparatively small number of viewers vs. the high costs. If the value of live sports is advertising $$, but then the the sports wouldn't reach as many people because they're on a streaming service, and then advertisers are paying less to reach less people... see where I'm going? It's hard to see for me where that equals these huge rights deals for Tuesday night matchups between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves. These are loss leaders for big Tech, but outside of the NFL, what sports rights deal is going to move the dial enough for a commitment like that?

On top of that, it's a bad move for the league. They should have a vested interest in reaching as many fans as possible to grow interest in the league. If they take the bag from Apple and all of a sudden most of their games can only be seen by the 15 million Apple+ subscribers rather than 70 million cable subscribers, it'll be hard for the league to build a sustainable base of fans long-term. IDK - it's a tough position for the leagues, unless they're the NFL.