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ESPN Subscribers Continue To Decline

Jason Barrett

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According to Nielsen, ESPN has lost 7.2 million subscribers over the past three years. That news is causing concern throughout the industry and leading to a decline in value on Wall Street.

The Disney company released their quarterly earnings on Tuesday and announced that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” helped the company’s earnings soar 32 percent, raking in $2.9 billion. However, its television profits dropped 6 percent due to the increasing costs of sports-programming rights. The combination of profit and decline marked the second time in the past four Disney quarters such a backwards spreadsheet has been recorded in the TV segment. As a result, Disney’s shares fell 3 percent to $89.48 during after-hours trading. It was the company’s lowest level in over a year.

In the coming years, sports rights will cost a combined $130 billion between all major media companies, and leading the charge in the cost department is ESPN and Disney who account for an estimated 29 percent of long-term sports-broadcasting rights, ranging from the NBA playoffs to “Monday Night Football.” If the current TV market declines faster than the current 1 percent annual rate, Disney’s overall profit for the next four years could be cut in half.

Disney CEO Bob Iger though remains a believer that sports programming will continue to be an attractive commodity to consumers. “This notion that either the expanded basic bundle is experiencing its demise, or that ESPN is cratering in any way from a sub perspective, is just ridiculous,” Iger said. “Sports is too popular,”.

Last month, ESPN’s subscriber base sat at 91.4 million. The latest data indicates that number is less than the 94.5 million subscriber base the network carried in January 2015. Additionally, about 78 percent of ESPN’s $9.5 billion in net operating revenue excluding ad commissions came directly from subscriber fees last year.

Credit to Examiner who originally provided this information

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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