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ESPN Stranglehold

By on December 26th, 2016 in Football, Member Post 17 Comments »

secespnIt was about 10 years ago, and I was speaking with my father about the Super Bowl. He made the statement that in a decade or so ALL championships would be on ESPN.  I in my naive way said, “Can’t happen.” There’s too much money in the networks to allow it to happen. 

Today as I look at all the bowl games, 98 percent are on the four-letter viper. This includes the NCAA football playoffs and national championship. A lot of MLB, NFL, (sorry don’t care about NBA), and college hoops are also on “that channel.” 


Am I the only one that sees the shrinking number of cable/satellite subscribers and wonders how long this can continue? I must be missing something. Let me know what you see happening.



  1. sparkey sparkey says:

    Their mighty empire has reached its maximum growth potential. The only place left for them to go is down and they have Fox Sports battling them every step of the way these days. They no longer will control college sports to the extent they do now. I think that will improve college football especially.

  2. AETiger AETiger says:

    The whole televised sports model is about to under go changes as I just do not see how the escalating TV rights fees can continue. By all measures, consumers are getting sick and tired of paying for channels they do not watch.

    ESPN commands the highest fee per consumer for cable vendors; I think I now pay approx $5 for "sports programming" on my Comcast cable bill. I guess I do not mind paying it. However, I do not watch much sports other than AU football and the Braves/Falcons.

    There have to be hundreds of thousands of people in metro ATL alone (maybe a million?) that do not watch any sports & must hate that extra fee. Note, Comcast did not ask me to accept this fee, it just showed up one month. This is not a sustainable economic model.

  3. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    ESPN has assumed de facto control of not just airing college football, but of determining, to a large degree, the ranking of teams, which often determines who ends up in the playoffs.

    They control the monologue about which teams are worthy and establish a pecking order before the season begins by publishing their pre-season rankings. Once these teams are ranked, they maintain their place unless they are defeated by opponents who are anointed by ESPN as being worthy of displacing the pre-season ranked team. ESPN front loads the pecking order, and thereby forces their biases on the football viewer.

    ESPN’s control of the college football monologue is so pervasive that even the people who vote in the polls are steered in the direction of ESPN’s analysts. This is unavoidable. The only information voters and fans receive about college football is expounded by ESPN. And this trickles down into local media outlets who also get their information from ESPN.

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..My gut feeling is that the old broadcast networks are struggling a bit. I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched a prime-time series on ABC, NBC, CBS or even FOX. I was gonna say Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that was on the WB.

    • audude audude says:

      I hear you Acid. However look at these broadcast numbers:

      Michigan at Ohio State (Nov. 26, ABC, noon) — 10.4 overnight rating.
      Notre Dame at Texas (Sept. 4, ABC, 7:30 p.m.) — 7.0.
      Louisville at Clemson (Oct. 1, ABC, 8:00 p.m.) — 6.0.
      Mississippi vs. Florida State (Sept. 5, ESPN, 8:00 p.m.) — 5.3

      There is definitely a shift in the way we consume our sports. The shift for a few years now has been away from cable and satellite and towards lower/no cost alternatives like Netflix, Hulu (and a load of other services) as well as broadcast.

      Thanks to all for your thoughts. All good takes.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..The means of delivery of sports is changing. I watched an Auburn basketball game this month on a streaming broadcast from Facebook, for instance!

    • AETiger AETiger says:

      Netflix and to a lesser extent Amazon are blowing up the traditional TV model. Amazing the quality of series they are putting out such as: “House of Cards”, “Man in the High Tower”, “Stranger Things”, “Orange is the New Black”, “Master of None”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, etc (even “Last Chance U”). What they are doing is quite remarkable.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..My wife dials a lot of these things up. Me, I barely have time to catch “local on the 8’s” while I’m getting ready for work! Until I get an off day, and then there’s more on the DVR than I can possibly watch…

  5. B-REAL says:

    ESPN is the most annoying channel on TV unless there showing a ballgame.Sportcenter is nothing but people giving opinion’s the majority of the show from people that have worn out there welcome an have been wrong so many times that I can’t believe they still have jobs.Gameday is steal a good show but has lost Fowler and just don’t feel the same.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..There was a time when I was a daily Sportscenter devotee. I'd try to tune out the announcers, unless there was a clip that caught my interest, and pay attention to the scoreboard scoll at the bottom. And invariably, I would miss the game or games I was interested in!

      …..What's funny is that ESPN's web scoreboard has eliminated me as a Sportscenter viewer. From football to basketball, and even Wimbledon/Tennis scores, I can look it up quickly, there. Australian Open will be coming up soon!

  6. neonbets says:

    If Track ‘Em Tigers decided to begin focusing–not on Auburn sports–but on the social issues surrounding Auburn sports, it would get a lot more ‘clicks’, and Ad revenue.

    Then, if TET decided to take an editorial stance by hectoring its readers into bowing down before the Altar of the Politically Correct, it would ramp up those clicks even more. People would become more inflamed as the respective culture warriors dig in.


    TET’s long-standing, loyal readers began to say, ‘The hell with this. I came here because I love Auburn sports. But I have better things to do than come here and allow myself to get my button pushed with this pandering nonsense.’ And they would leave.

    TET, meanwhile, would then be left with a bunch of readers who don’t really care about TET’s original purpose–sharing Auburn sports with fellow Auburn fans. In response (soon-to-be-desperation), TET would double-down on the social/culture garbage…only nobody would really care anymore. The original readers, having departed, would put TET in the position of having nothing but a tedious echo chamber that either bores or annoys everyone in its path.

    And this is what’s become of the Worldwide Leader. Throw in a ton of new entertainment options, people getting tired of being ripped off by cable companies…and you have a perfect storm that I am rather enjoying.

    Thank goodness, TET is what it is–the best damn blog on Auburn sports.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Heh! Not to worry. I’m kind of a creature of habit. I do tweak what I do, but I have to be convinced that the world is blowing up, before I make major changes!

      …..I try to be as politically correct as I can, but I don’t expect others to be that way. My mission online was always to it so that my parents could read it and not be offended.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      We all appreciate the compliment Neon; we try to do our best for the family. It’s truly a labor of love. Happy New Year!

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      TET editors and readers all appreciate what we have – and that, for a number of reasons, is the best AU blog on the internet, period.
      I don’t at all see that changing!! Too many of us are on the same page!! (Which is a good page to be on…)

      And, Neon, the “IF, THEN, and UNTIL” simply isn’t gonna happen!!

      WAR EAGLE!!
      May God bless!
      And, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  7. […] of the problem lies with ESPN. The sports media giant holds the television rights to 98 percent of bowl games. It’s difficult for second-tier bowl games to build any sort of hype when the network is […]