It seems as though the Leftist political National Anthem protests has finally come back to bite ESPN right in the butt. It wasn’t too long ago that the sports network had to come forward and admit that allowing players and show hosts to shove their political views down fans’ throats wasn’t the best way to go about business. Revenue has been dropping, and ESPN was faced with the tough decision to eliminate staff members. They are now considering making a different kind of cut, and it will be much more dramatic.
The Hollywood Reporter has made reports suggesting that there may be signs that ESPN is struggling so much that they might be getting ready to abandon the NFL all together.
The contract ESPN currently has to play Monday Night Football games is set to expire pretty soon, and many experts have weighed in and believe that the network won’t be renewing their agreement for next year. If this is truly the case, it would be the first time in 30 years that ESPN didn’t show NFL games.
James Andrew Miller in the Reporter posed the question, “With so much of ESPN’s universe asunder, it’s not outlandish now to entertain a previously unthinkable prospect: Might ESPN elect to go without rights to NFL games after the expiration of its eight-year deal for Monday Night Football in 2021?”
The journalist explained that there were some important factors to take into account that would make this decision a possibility. One factor is that ESPN has been quiet about their contracts with cable companies. This may be setting them up to pull out of the NFL.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “There is no longer specific contract language that requires the cable giant to have NFL games in order to earn its lofty (and industry-envied) subscriber fees, currently more than $7 per household.”
Basically, the network has been getting ready for a situation like this one where they won’t be showing full games anymore at all.
There is also the change in viewership to take into account. The recent anthem protests has not helped viewership of NFL games at all. Monday night games used to be something that Americans really looked forward to, but it doesn’t seem to be the case these days. Sunday has become the better day to watch the best teams play in the league… that is if anyone is still watching the games at all anymore. Thursday Night Football has actually taken some viewers away from Monday nights now too.
ESPN also might be able to license highlight clips for commentary and replay, but without having to pay for entire football games.
Miller said, “Can anyone imagine the NFL turning down an offer from ESPN of $300 or $400 million for just those rights, even if ESPN didn’t have game rights? It’s doubtful.”