Because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is such a weak leader and refuses to tell players to stand for the national anthem, ratings are in the tank. In fact, ESPN might get rid of Monday Night Football altogether.
Massive Subscriber and Ratings Losses Could Force ESPN to Dump Monday Night Football
As ratings for the NFL continue to fall across nearly every network currently broadcasting games, one analyst is noting that it would make good business sense for cable sports network ESPN to simply give up its $15.2 billion commitment to broadcast NFL games.
With TV ratings across the league cratering at the same time that player protests during the playing of the national anthem increase, it might end up serving ESPN’s bottom line to dump the NFL, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s James Andrew Miller.
In fact, adding to the NFL’s ratings woes, despite years of ratings dominance over other sports, baseball’s World Series ratings came roaring in again this year making it the second year in a row where Baseball’s Fall Classic pulled more viewers than the NFL’s regular season games.
Indeed, Miller points out that ESPN may have already quietly set up the move to dump the NFL by removing from its affiliate agreements a former requirement that it retain NFL broadcast rights in order to keep its high subscriber fees intact.
This is quite a coup on affiliates, and it may have been a move that slipped unnoticed past ESPN’s partners. But, Miller notes that if ESPN does dump the NFL because it is no longer lucrative enough for the network to keep, the affiliates will likely be shocked by the sudden loss of NFL broadcast rights. Affiliates will likely scurry to renegotiate fees, but as Miller notes, that still puts ESPN in the driver’s seat.
“This means the network would not face automatic decreases in that vital artery of its dual revenue stream,” Miller says of the new provision and how it might save the network if it dumps the NFL. “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.”
I have a solution: tell players to stop disrespecting the country. Boom – I just saved the NFL.