Why ESPN Is Going Down the Tubes – Opinion

Clay Travis at Outkick has penned a lengthy, detailed dissertation about ESPN’s dwindling audience base. ESPN saw a 10% drop in subscribers last year to eight million, which is a loss of 10 per cent. The cable subscribers lost via cord cutting are not the only ones that have been affected. However, subscribers to ESPN+ streaming services has provided a much-needed counterbalance.

First, ESPN’s existing cable contracts don’t allow them to move their top programming — the college football playoff, Monday Night Football, and the NBA playoffs for instance — off cable and on to streaming.

ESPN published their subscriber statistics for the second quarter 2022. Even though these numbers have been growing steadily, they are still very low at 22.3 Million subscribers.

Travis then goes into detail about the low revenue stream and concludes that ESPN has entered a tailspin which will not be reversible. It will also severely inhibit, if it does not stop altogether, its bidding for contracts with major sports.

What Travis doesn’t get into is how despite ESPN’s decreases, televised sports viewership is on the rise. Total viewership for this year’s Super Bowl was up 7.6M over last year, with 99.2M total viewers. The NHL playoffs ratings have been rising. NBA playoffs ratings are the highest they’ve been since 2014. There’s also this tidbit:

The return of the Golden State Warriors after two years off to the NBA playoffs was a big boost to ratings. Steph Curry (2015-18), Klay Thompson (2017-18) and DraymondGreen (2018-18) are back, bringing together core players from the NBA Champions. Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference semi-finals (Golden State at Memphis) were viewed by 7.71 million people on average, making them one of the top-rated games in postseason.

So it’s not like no one is watching live sports. They’re not watching ESPN. What is the problem?

All except the idiotic snarkers running ESPN (i.e. Disney), know that this is true. The purpose of sports is to provide entertainment, and not lecture on morality. The hard-left bias most sportswriters exhibit is as tone-deaf to reality as Washington bubble dwellers insisting such matters as inflation and a baby formula shortage aren’t a problem. The Sports You Must Care About is still a valid source of public opinion, regardless how heavy handed the debate. The WNBA and collegiate women’s softball are not registering in the public conscience.

One would think ESPN would follow Netflix’s lead in ditching the PC and going for giving people what they want. But, never underestimate the liberal mind’s inability, even as they are submerged underwater, to admit the boat is leaking.

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