Broadcast Bubble Bursts, ESPN Cuts…

Arizona Sports News online

ESPN has lost 12 million subscribers over the past five years.


That was one term being used on Wednesday as a reported 100 TV and Print reporters were told they were done working for “The World-Wide Leader in Sports.” Ed Werder, Jayson Stark, Trent Dilfer, Danny Kanell, three hockey writers(right in the middle of the playoffs) were among scores who were shown the door. You don’t have to go very far to see why the Disney owned company went through their second round of layoffs in the last two years. Mickey Mouse and Disney share holders can’t be pleased with these broadcast contracts.

ESPN committed to an eight-year, $15.2 billion deal extension with the N.F.L. in 2011; a nine-year, $12 billion deal with the N.B.A.; and a $7.3 billion deal for the college football playoffs.

Taking each deal one by one. THe NFL 15.2 BBBBBillion dollar deal. Look at the broadcast schedule that ESPN has been given through the last few years when it comes to the Monday night package of games(not the best games each week). The over-saturation of a good product(The NFL) being available Sunday nights, Monday nights, and Thursday nights lessens the value of the MNF package. This isn’t your dads NFL anymore. No reason to be tied down to a TV on Monday Night Football when Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are around.
No reason to watch hours and hours of NFL Network programming before and after a game, when your mobile device has everything you need, and the same story lines have been told over and over and over and over etc, etc, etc
Why did the NFL drop Twitter after just one season of carrying Thursday night games, to go with Amazon starting this Fall? How many of you MAY sign up for Amazon Prime while checking out the Thursday night games? Calling my shot here, ESPN v Amazon, NetFlix, and Facebook for the NFL rights when this deal expires in 2021.

The NBA contract? Let’s see, ESPN is dishing out $15.2 BBBBBillion dollars to have Lebron say he needs the night off a ESPN or ABC game. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are sitting rather than playing. Coaches are resting their starters from a ABC/ESPN Saturday night game in March because they want their players fresh for the playoffs. How’s that deal working out? 5 nights a week of prime time games between TNT, NBA TV, ABC, and ESPN. Again, too much of a good thing. Go out to dinner, get a score on the phone, no reason to invest two and half hours sitting at home watching ESPN.

College Football Playoffs? $7.3 BBBBBBillion dollars for games to be played on New Years Eve, while the masses are out partying and NOT watching the two semi-final games. Makes perfect sense, right?

How can they recoup these types of right fees? Cut innocent bystanders of course.

Look, I don’t work there, I just see what’s happening on the outside and it’s pretty clear why “The World-Wide Leader in Sports” let so many talented people go.
I was let go once from a media job here in Phoenix, I was told “You’ve been here too long, you’ve been too loyal, you make too much money, your ratings are great, but we have to let you go”…I might use the “you’ve been too loyal” for a chapter in the book i’ve been working on. It’s part of the media biz. Veteran broadcasters told me when I was cutting my teeth, “you haven’t arrived in the biz until you’ve been let go”. So true. Most of the people shown the door today will end up better off in the long-run, they just don’t know it yet. This isn’t the end of media as we know it. Seen and heard alot of gloom and doom today that our industry is a dying field to be in. Nope…not true…Story-telling and talent will ALWAYS win out.

Media personality Brad Cesmat first rose to fame in Southern California with the launching of "The Mighty 690" all-sports radio station in the late 1980's and early 90's. Brad came to Arizona in 1993 to begin a 10-year run at KTAR Radio followed by nine years at KTVK-TV in Phoenix. Brad is the Founder/ CEO of His vision of multi platform content marketing through sports began in September of 2011. Cesmat has served on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army for the last 18 years. He and his wife Chris have four children.