From an interesting article:
--J.D.ESPN Firing Over A Hundred Employees Today
By Clay Travis
Apr 26, 2017 at 9:44a ET
For several years I have been writing on this site about the coming business implosion at ESPN. Today, with the announcement that over 100 on air talent at ESPN were being let go, many will finally come to realize what Outkick readers have read here for the past several years -- ESPN's business model is fundamentally broken and there is no saving it. The continuing collapse of ESPN is the biggest story in sports -- the sub-prime mortgage crisis with bouncing balls.
That collapse has been aided by ESPN's absurd decision to turn into MSESPN, a left wing sports network, but that's more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse. ESPN's business is collapsing and the network is desperately trying to find a way to stay above water. You know how a drowning person flails in the water before slipping under? ESPN's left wing shift is that flailing. They think going left wing will save them. The reality is the opposite, ESPN going left wing was like giving a drowning person a big rock to hold and thinking it would keep them from drowning. Instead, it just made them sink even faster. This is not a fatuous claim. ESPN does have a very stark double-standard on politics, even after Keith Untermensch was sacked.
That's why ratings are down 16% this year compared to last year and viewers are abandoning the network in droves.
Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don't want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football. ESPN made the mistake of trying to make liberal social media losers happy and as a result lost millions of viewers. They also do not really want to be lectured about Right-Wing/PsychoCon agenda either.
ESPN has spent the past several years disputing all of my columns about their business imploding, sending one person after another, and one website after another in wave after wave to argue that I'm wrong, that my numbers are off, that their business remains sound. As recently as seven weeks ago the head of ESPN PR was Tweeting me about this Outkick article, "Your number is vastly inaccurate, click-chasing, and irresponsible."
Your number is vastly inaccurate, click-chasing and irresponsible. https://t.co/WT7Er0gHsU
— Chris LaPlaca (@espn_chris) March 6, 2017
Today I fired back at him.
If anything the only way I was "wildly inaccurate" was by underestimating how many people at ESPN were going to be fired.Care to retract your "vastly inaccurate, click-chasing and irresponsible" Tweet to me? https://t.co/dnbJ6b77LK
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 26, 2017
As with most big stories Outkick has covered -- conference expansion, the fake Missouri protests, the Peyton Manning mooning incident, Ryan Lochte's peeing outside and being robbed -- this site has been 100% right and the worldwide leader in sports has been 100% wrong. That's why Outkick is growing like gangbusters and ESPN is firing people left and right. "Can I Have a Gloat?!" [Oh, you heartless gloater!--Ed.]
The simple truth of the matter is this -- ESPN spent way too much on sports rights just as its cable and satellite subscriptions began to collapse. On track for $8 billion in programming costs in 2017, ESPN will rack up its 15 millionth lost subscriber since 2011. Every single day so far in 2017 over 10,000 people have left ESPN. The numbers are astonishing and the collapse is rapid. All those lost subscribers add up to big money -- that's over $1.3 billion a year in money that comes off ESPN's books every year. Which is why the CowardlyCunt [Stop that.--Ed.] cannot watch Vancouver FAIL on ESPN. There is no listing for hockey since ESPN bought no rights for hockey. Instead, you can find information on--I am not making this up--WNBA, soccer, college baseball, and--for DanishDynamite--the Little League World Series. And ESPN is on the hook for billions and billions a year for all the years ahead. That's guaranteed payments to leagues that ESPN can't escape no matter how many employees it fires.
As I've written before, if the current subscriber loss trajectory keeps up ESPN will begin losing money by 2021. And if the subscriber losses accelerate it will happen even sooner than that.
[Discussion on how ESPN locked itself into rights fees to different professional sports. This has not prevented other networks, including non-cable-based, covering sports though. "Snipped"--Ed.]
From 1979 to 2011 ESPN was part of the greatest business in the history of media. But from 2011 on we're going to witness the biggest media collapse since AOL. It's creative destruction writ large and ESPN is a dead company walking. Today sucks for many employees, but it was inevitable because the sports rights bubble has burst and the fallout is really just beginning.
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