Breitbart‘s Dylan Gwinn reports, Oct. 29, 2017, that “the NFL’s early games featured plenty of empty seats”.
And although fans have clearly decided they have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than watch bad football and activist players “take a knee,” there’s still no indication the NFL is listening.
Meanwhile, decline in viewership has led ESPN to lay off more employees by year’s end.
Robert Jonathan reports for Inquistr, Oct. 26, 2017, that ESPN, the self-named Worldwide Leader in Sports that’s drowning in red ink and dragging down parent company Disney, reportedly is planning to lay off more employees before year’s end. Even ESPN’s flagship SportsCenter broadcast could be included in the downsizing.
ESPN’s previous layoffs included:
- About 100 employees let go in April, many of whom were familiar public faces and names, including on-air anchors, commentators, and website writers.
- Hundreds of production support staff were laid off in the summer of 2013, and again in October 2015.
According to insiders, the upcoming layoffs in late November or early December will affect the entire organizational chart, with 40-60 positions potentially being impacted. The layoffs could hit both on-air TV/radio talent and behind-the-scenes production staffers.
ESPN has lost millions of subscribers (and thus, an enormous amount of revenue from cable and satellite providers) through cord-cutting, and overall viewership is also down significantly. The sports network also overpaid for telecast rights fees to pro and college leagues, which is crushing the bottom line. Altogether, ESPN is struggling from the triple-whammy of:
- A shrinking subscriber base.
- Expensive billion-dollar TV rights for the NFL, NBA and other sports. The network pays $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football and another $1.4 billion for the NBA.
- Bloated talent costs
ESPN has also alienated many politically conservative viewers through its emphasis on social justice issues rather just delivering games and game highlights. Examples include:
- Pulling Asian-American broadcaster Robert Lee from a University of Virginia football game because his name is similar to that of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
- Not suspending Jemele Hill after she accused President Trump of white supremacy.
- Cancelling Barstool Van Talk after just one episode in a sexism flap with Barstool Sports.