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Why Did ESPN Layoff Hundreds of Employees?

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ESPN recently cut 300 employees and this layoff is just the first round with a few more anticipated. There are two main reasons for ESPN’s struggles: Losing subscribers and spending large amounts on sports broadcasting.

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In regards to losing subscribers, the chart above shows ESPN is declining in regards to households with subscriptions to the company. Cable companies are composing packages that exclude ESPN, resulting in a loss of 8.5 million subscribers over the past 4-5 years.

Additionally, ESPN is spending egregious amounts on the rights to broadcast certain sporting events. The new deal concerned with airing Monday Night Football for the NFL equates to $1.9 Billion. The amounts for other major and non-major sports or events are not far behind. ESPN predicts an amount of nearly $6 Billion combined from all major commitments by 2018 and beyond.

Essentially, ESPN is overpaying for many of their events including Monday Night Football. Fans and critics alike are concerned that there may not even be a bidder within $500 Million of that number (Sports Business Daily).

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The rights to air Monday Night Football games will undoubtedly earn ESPN a profit. However, overpaying is not a smart business decision. This set the template for overpaying for the rights to air NBA and MLB games. ESPN is competing with itself when it comes to bidding for rights.

The moves, including layoffs, continued a troubled period for the sports media giant that started when Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC, “The business model may face some challenges over the next few years.” Consequently, these concerns raised eyebrows and advised many to sell-off media stocks during the past summer.

Disney’s sports media arm is trying to right the ship and pivot on certain aspects of their business plan. Let us all hope that they remain afloat.

Credit to the Urban Twist who originally published this article

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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