Now, more than ever, is great time to be a sports fan. Being a sports network, however- not so much.
Thanks to the internet and social media platforms, we as fans now have access to our favorite teams and players like never before. Anyone with a smart device or computer can now watch games online, find scores through their Twitter feed, or find out just how adorable Chase Utley’s son and dog are. This, however, is not the best news for most tradition television sports networks, the original keepers of access to our favorite pastimes. For a prime example, look no further than the decline of ESPN.
In 2013, ESPN saw a subscriber base of over 99 million homes. Three years later, according to Fox Sports, that base has dropped by 10 million, with 1.5 million having left since the end of February. Statistically, that means that “over the last four months ESPN lost an average 10,400 subscribers a day,” or, in “dolla-dolla bill, y’all” terms, over $800K daily (each subscriber represents $80 a year for the company).
ESPN is not the only network that is seeing major losses in viewers, however, as NBC Sports Network, NFL Network, and others, leading to the belief that cord cutting could be a major culprit. Cable packages have been under fire for some time now, with companies such as Netflix and Youtube looking to challenge the idea that someone has to pay for content they don’t want in order to enjoy the few things they do. Is ESPN’s dilemma the sign that cord cutting requires change from cable companies? Will networks be able to adapt? And who will make the funny sports commercials with Lebron James if they don’t?
Photo (front): Tech Times
Photo (top): Fast Philly Sports