Last week, ESPN, the number one cable sports network in this country announced several layoffs to cope with their dwindling subscription base. Among the layoffs were several prominent on-air personalities and where this will end is any ones guess. These layoffs signal what is fast becoming a sign of the times; cable television is fast becoming a complete and expensive ripoff for many households and people are cutting the cord in record numbers. While I have not yet canceled my cable, I often wonder why I even have the cable in this first place. It is becoming more and more expensive every year and what do I get out of it?
I used to be addicted to ESPN during my younger days, especially during my college days. I scheduled my day around watching Sports Center at night and in the morning. That enthusiasm towards the sports network has rapidly diminished in recent years. I now get several all-sports networks dedicated to a particular sport. For example, I get the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL networks along with the golf channel so anytime I have a craving for some hi-lights or analysis of a particular league, I just tune on one of those channels and I get my sports fix. No need for ESPN anyone. I have plenty of sports channels. However, as most cable subscribers already know, it is impossible to get rid of ESPN if you have a sports package. You are not allowed to pick just one sports network, they are all included in one package; one of the many downfalls of having cable television. You get several channels, but how many do you actually watch? I know I probably only watch less than 10 channels of the over 100 channels that I receive.
So the question is this, why should people like us pay these ridiculous prices for cable? What do we get out of having ESPN when I can go to my computer or smartphone and get the latest updates along with good analysis on a sports league. Times are changing my friends and ESPN better wake up too before the network starts losing even more viewers. So same can be said about those cable companies. People are starting to find alternative ways of entertainment and cable television may become a thing of the past in the very near future.
There has been some talk about ESPN turning off some viewers because they are becoming a leftist sports network and I think there is some truth to that. Many of us sports fans do not want to be constantly lectured on how inclusive we must be. When ESPN gave out their courage award to a transgender person a few years ago, I was extremely turned off by the network. They bypassed several more deserving athletes who exhibited far greater acts of courage. And how much more coverage are they going to have for Michael Sam? Does anyone really care that he is a gay football player? The political correctness on other issues has been rather nauseating to say the least! Sports and politics do not mix well and ESPN has lost some viewers because of their insistence to cover social issues. Please leave that to the talking heads at Fox and CNN.
I believe many lessons can be learned from these unfortunate layoffs at ESPN. Would anyone really miss ESPN if they went out of business and became an extinct network? Most sports fans these days probably would not. We have other alternatives to rely on. Why does that network insist on covering NFL football games and paying that extremely high rate for the rights thus making the network more expensive to cable providers. There are other networks that do a much better job of covering the NFL. ESPN does a great job of covering major college sporting events, perhaps they should stick with that.
Hopefully the brains behind the network can come up with some creative solutions in the near future or else they will not last. All businesses in any field have to adapt to the times and ESPN is just another business struggling to find solutions to stop the hemorrhaging of subscribers. Every day, I am finding that ESPN is nothing special in my viewing habits. The cost of paying for that network is not worth it anyone.