As I posted earlier about how Verizon is taking the first shot at ESPN, ESPN has responded and they are claiming Verizon is contractually obligated to force their unwanted channels down customers throats. Verizon is holding their ground and ultimately this will end badly for ESPN as more carriers follow suit. It used to be that a company couldn’t play hard ball with ESPN because basically it was all of ESPN’s terms or nothing.
For instance, this has always been the ongoing struggle with ESPN and their skyrocketing carriage fees. If 10 years ago Comcast, for example, said hey ESPN your channels are getting way too expensive and we are moving some of the poorest rated ones to the Sports tier (which means ESPN would only get carriage rates for Sports tier subscriptions) ESPN would respond by saying then we will just remove all our channels from Comcast. In that case they would lose a huge amount of subscribers. Even if the average sporting game’s ratings are abysmal, there is enough spread out interest that nobody is going to choose a provider that doesn’t even offer ESPN on any tiers when everybody else does.
So in 2015 Verizon does it and what is ESPN’s response now? Please don’t or no, no, you CAN’T! 10 years ago they would have yanked their cartel of channels so fast for even thinking about that. Today the tide has turned and they NEED the carriage system to stay afloat. People are leaving cable left and right and ESPN’s biggest claim that YOU NEED US is starting to fall upon hollow ears. Something about the emperor and his clothes… They have gotten so rich off of a flawed dvr system that they bought up everything for way too much money and then wielded incredibly too much power, way too irresponsibly, never believing the welfare checks would stop. I hope those ESPN Zones and the Mag are cranking in the bucks, because they have a lot of money to keep paying out and their largest source of revenue is turning their backs to them.