Will ESPN Abandon Monday Night Football?

ESPN pays billions of dollars a year for Monday Night Football and a playoff game. With the network losing thousands of subscribers a month currently, James Andrew Miller lays out why it’s not unthinkable to think that ESPN could abandon the NFL.

Via The Hollywood Reporter

In a span of less than five years, industry giant ESPN has seen its narrative transformed from that of a mighty colossus into the hard-luck tale of a ragtag warrior.

As it struggles to regain heretofore heroic heights — levels of growth that are probably no longer attainable — ESPN has had to endure a slew of significant workforce layoffs (with more reportedly on the way) and a once-doting Wall Street that has turned a skeptically cold shoulder. Astonishing increases in earnings, previously viewed as faits acomplis, now seem like fantasies from another world, thanks to the now-familiar combo of cord-cutting and burgeoning rights fees.

​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?!

​“Impossible”? Yeah, we know — NFL games have been the backbone of ESPN’s existence since 1987, and the biggest, most critical element of its financial dominance ever since. The network basically can’t exist without an NFL rights package.

​Well, think again — like some execs at the network have started to do — and consider the following:

First, quietly, ESPN has been able to pull off a dramatic judo move in recent agreements with its affiliates, one whose importance cannot be overstated: 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. This means the network would not face automatic decreases in that vital artery of its dual revenue stream. Sure, distributors would be aghast, demanding to negotiate lower fees probably immediately, but the point is, there would be negotiations, enabling ESPN to do everything it could to keep those numbers as high as possible.

​Second, when ESPN agreed to pay $15.2 billion for its current Monday Night Football deal, some of its key executives believed they were buying the schedule of the previous MNF package, i.e., more often than not, the best game or at least one of the top games of the week. But Sunday Night Football got that pedigree, and Fox and CBS games since then have also generally been more desirable than ESPN’s matchups. With the advent of Thursday Night Football several years ago, ESPN’s Monday night schedule has been further diluted of quality matchups, and the network hasn’t been shy about voicing dissatisfaction.

Read more here.

While other studies show that if you listen to music while exercising, your brain will probably work better, a new study shows that listening to a podcast while exercising will make the brain work harder and could impact performance.

Read about the study at this link.

Thursday Night Football Ratings Continue Downward Trend

Liberal politics is destroying the NFL brand. Not only are the ratings suffering but, attendance is down as well partly because of the progressive agenda of the players. Politics needs to stay OUT of sports.

Via Deadline

Ending a four-game losing streak for the Bay Area team, that 31-30 victory on Thursday Night Football also came as Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was booted out of the game for bumping hard into a line judge. In the first NFL game since the league issued its non-rule on whether players would be made to stand for the national anthem or not on October 17, Lynch along with the Chiefs’ Ukeme Eligwe ignored the likes of Donald Trump and sat during the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ in protest.

With all that drama and the competition of the MLB National League Championship series clincher on TBS, Thursday Night Football snared a 9.9/17 in metered market results on CBS and the NFL Network.

In Week 7 of a season that has seen NFL ratings down over 15% on CBS from last year, that’s down 7% from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 28-23 October 12 win over the Carolina Panthers in the early numbers – which was down 5% from the week before.

Last night’s TNF matches the season low for the CBS and NFL Network-aired September 28 opener, which was down 13% from the year before. As NFL ratings overall have slumped about 8% this season so far, last week’s Week 6 TNF went on to score a total viewership of 14.6 million, which was down 5% from the week before and even with Week 6 of the 2016-2017 season.

Read more here.

Deadspin rightfully takes the Washington Nationals to task for firing Dusty Baker as well as the entire coaching staff. The piece references this excellent Thom Loverro piece on the move.

The Nationals have essentially one (1) more year with Bryce Harper. You think Harper will stay with Washington beyond 2018? This hire better be the best one ever to convince Harper to stay.

Read the Deadspin piece at this link.

Why Puerto Rico Can’t Turn the Lights Back on After Hurricane Maria

Via Reason TV, a well done video on why Puerto Rico can’t get the lights back on after the Hurricane Maria devastation. As the video notes, government & regulation set the stage for a post-hurricane catastrophe.

GWU Students LOVE Donald Trump’s Tax Plan – When Told It’s Bernie’s

Via Campus Reform, recently, President Donald Trump released his proposal for comprehensive tax reform which was almost immediately shot down by his political opponents.

However, using the Trump tax plan, when George Washington University students were asked what they thought of Senator Bernie Sander’s plan, they thought the plan was terrific.