The 2018 NBA Finals fell flat with a four-year low in TV ratings, as the fourth consecutive match-up between the Cavs and the Warriors resulted in an anti-climactic four-game sweep for Golden State. The Warriors became the first team to sweep the series in four straight games since 2007 when the San Antonio Spurs downed the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Deadline Hollywood. But, the shortened series certainly did nothing to help Disney-owned ESPN in the ratings. While Game Four earned an 11.2 in metered markets and saw 19 million viewers, that was an eleven percent decline from last season’s Game Four. Worse, compared with the final game last year, the 2018 final game was down a whopping 30 percent over Game Five from 2017 (which itself brought 24.5 million pairs of eyes to their TV sets). Indeed, as Richard Deitsch noted, this year’s 17.65 million viewers for four games is down 2 million even from the last lowest rated broadcast back in 2015 when the finals averaged 19.9 million viewers. Still, the numbers are reflective of a general decline in TV ratings across the board.
ESPN lost half-a-million subscribers in the month of April, adding to a massive hemorrhaging of customers which now hovers around 14 million over the last seven years. While the numbers were catastrophic across the board for the national networks, only NBCSN lost more households than ESPN. According to Awful Announcing, “ESPN (-500,000), FS1 (-328,000), NBCSN (-544,000), TBS (-490,000), and TNT (-495,000) were all hit hard too. And that’s perhaps especially concerning considering that it’s prime playoff time for NBCSN (the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs), as well as ESPN and TNT (the NBA playoffs). These are not out-of-season drops, but drops at a time while those networks have some of their best content. So there are certainly some things to worry about there.” Those worries are exacerbated by the fact that ESPN launched their brand new morning show Get Up! in April. A show which takes place in a studio that reportedly cost $35 million to build, and is hosted by three personalities who make nearly $15 million a year. Most networks consider launching an expensive new show while losing 17,000 subscribers a day, to be less than ideal. Yet, while April’s loss of 500,000 subscribers is certainly bad, the network hasn’t lost households in those numbers over the last 15 months. ESPN has lost roughly 1.6 million subscribers from February of 2017, until now. That rate of loss comes out to just over 100,000 subscribers each month. No one wants to lose customers in any numbers, though, that kind of loss is sustainable for an immensely wealthy network operating under the Disney banner. However, if April’s losses of 500,000 become the new normal over the next year or so, that would cause ESPN’s new leadership to downsize the “worldwide leader” in a way that would dwarf the layoffs of 2017.
The NFL is still getting tackled in the ratings and this week is no exception, as Monday Night Football seems to have once again taken a knee with numbers approaching a season low. The Atlanta Falcons, defending NFC Champions, pulled out a 24-21 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Monday. And just as fans avoided attending the game at the stadium, leaving tons of empty seats, TV ratings were similarly anemic; bringing in a low 6.5 percent with 11.7 million viewers in metered markets, according to Deadline. Monday’s game took a 24 percent hit in the ratings over last week’s Monday night game, Deadline said. Matched against last year’s Week 15, Monday’s game saw a 19 percent loss of viewers. Deadline also notes that the game earned only slightly better numbers than last year’s game in the important 18-49 age demographic bringing in a 3.8 rating this year compared to 3.6 last year. The networks have stopped showing the playing of the national anthem, and fewer players are still protesting. However, despite the smaller number of protests, the NFL’s TV ratings are still falling to all-time lows. Ratings for Week 15’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football, for instance, crashed to a season low. And last week’s edition of Monday Night Football was down double-digits from the 2016 season. Things have gotten so bad for the NFL that a chicken wing company has blamed its falling profits on fewer fans munching down during games, and one Saints season ticket holder even sued his favorite team over the year-long anti-American protests.
There are a variety of ways, in which businesses judge whether they’re having a successful business day. However, if you’re losing over 15,000 customers a day, that is generally frowned upon. No doubt, there are many frowns being worn on the faces of ESPN executives after reviewing the October Cable Coverage Estimates. ESPN lost over 15,000 subscribers for every day ending in “y,” during the month of October. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of losing Sacramento, California, the 35th largest city in the country, in a month. While many would welcome the loss of Sacramento, for a variety of reasons, when discussing losing a city of that size in a ratings context, it’s horrifying. Of course, ESPN isn’t the only cable sports giant to lose massively among subscribers. FS1 584,000 households in the month of October. Though, it is noteworthy, that FS1’s ESPN-esque decline has coincided with their efforts to repeat the mistakes of ESPN. In October, FS1 brought the Reverend Jesse Jackson on Undisputed, the network’s flagship debate show, featuring Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe. Not surprisingly, Jackson bashed President Trump and used slave references to describe how players are treated in the NFL. This move, straight out of the ESPN playbook, seemed really odd considering that FS1 has branded themselves as being everything that ESPN is not. However, considering that incident, in addition to the daily drum beat of liberal insanity coming from Shannon Sharpe; and one gets a pretty clear picture of why the network which branded itself as the alternative to ESPN, has suddenly become just like ESPN. Still, these numbers are particularly disastrous for ESPN. Who, due to its ever shrinking subscriber base, will likely no longer be able to afford Monday Night Football after 2021. That will leave the self-described “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” without any broadcast partnership with the biggest sports league in the land. Put this together with ESPN’s daily dosage of liberal activism, their disastrous handling of the Jemele Hill controversy, the Robert Lee fiasco, coupled with the likelihood that NFL games might soon disappear from their network; and it’s very hard to see why anyone will be watching the network in the next few years. Of course, at the rate in which the NFL is alienating its fan base, there’s every chance that the NFL won’t be the biggest sport in the land in 2021. And that’s fine, ESPN and the NFL deserve each other.
Monday on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” co-host Mike Wilbon likened Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to a slave owner because he said Cowboys players will either stand for the national anthem or not play. “[T]he word that comes to my mind, I don’t care who doesn’t like me using it, is ‘plantation,’” Wilbon told co-host Tony Kornheiser. “The players are here to serve me and they will do what I want no matter how much I pay them. They are not equal to me. That’s what this says to me and mine.”
That’s because you’re a self-righteous, nauseating, ignorant, black racist, liberal tool! The NFL requires it’s players to wear certain clothing, certain labels, and on and on.. That doesn’t make the NFL or it’s owners “plantation” owners. It’s called business. I’m sure Mr. Wilbon is required to wear certain clothing while at work. And, if the NFL ever decides to pull it’s collective head out of its ass, and requires the players to show a little respect and stand during the playing of our National Anthem, then it’ll be good for that business. Oh.. and someone ought to explain to Mr. Wilbon that slaves are not paid. Obviously he wasn’t a history major. These obnoxious players, who claim they’ve being “oppressed,” and have been disrespecting the flag and our National Anthem are paid millions. Can I please be that “oppressed?!?” This is yet another reminder of why I don’t watch ESPN.. Unreal..
ESPN host Jemele Hill is back on the air after calling President Trump a “white supremacist” who has surrounded himself with “other white supremicists” — remarks that earned her a reprimand, but not a suspension, from the network. The Twitter-taunting and subsequent fallout comes as the sports network’s ratings have taken a significant hit over the last year, starting with players’ social justice protests at pre-game festivities. Both the TV networks and the NFL are paying the penalty. As of July 2017, ESPN’s ratings already dropped 9 percent compared to the same time period last year. Add that to an already bruising 2016 — in November 2016 alone, more than 600,000 subscribers dropped the network. Viewership for the entire NFL is down 14 percent this year, according to Pivotal Research. It represents an eight-year low. Last year, ratings fell 9 percent. Advertising spending is also down. The NFL is experiencing the worst advanced ad sales in a decade. Not since the recession started in 2008 have revenues been this dismal. CBS’ Les Moonves claims the lower ratings, and thereby falling revenues, are due to this year’s hurricanes. A storm of politics, maybe. Ratings began to slide last year as then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, which set off a contagion of other players in the NFL who chose to follow suit with similar game-time protests. A recent J.D. Power survey shows that the national anthem protests are directly to blame for the drop in ratings. The group surveyed a stunning 9,200 fans (a sample of 1,000 is usually used in political polling), and 26 percent of them said they had turned the games off due to the national protests alone. Since the protests began, the NFL hasn’t been able to contain their players nor the damage caused by their political diatribes. It comes at a time when other media are experiencing the same political outbursts and subsequent drop in ratings. The Emmy Awards on Sunday night got political from the opening number and as a result, tied with last year’s program for its lowest ratings ever. The one person who could normally stop the bleeding is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who organized the league’s crackdown on domestic violence in the wake of the Ray Rice video showing him clocking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. Goodell realized the crisis of confidence it was creating and held a press conference pledging, “We will get our house in order.” But Goodell has his hands full now with his own contract negotiation. His contract is up in 2019 and he’s fighting to stay on as commissioner during a tumultuous time, while at the same time asking for a pay increase. That’s a tall order, even for Goodell. Whether the NFL can get its house in order and contain the political outburst remains to be seen. If they can, Americans are a forgiving people; they’ll come back to the pastime they’ve known and loved for more than 100 years. However, if they can’t keep their players in line, the NFL risks losing millions upon millions of dollars and worse, the trust of the public. After all, you can only offend your customers so long before they go elsewhere. So, can the NFL and sports networks regain the trust of their viewers, or will they fumble? Only time will tell. Until then, players would be wise to shut up and play while they are still gainfully employed and still have what’s left of their audience.
Agreed!! And, we said, Jennifer. Jennifer Kerns is responsible for that spot-on op/ed. It also is a great follow up to another article we posted (scroll down about 12 articles) about a recent LA Rams game where tickets were only $6, and the couldn’t fill the stadium….for many of the reasons that Jennifer mentions here. Until the NFL, and the uber-liberal sports media (i.e. ESPN, etc.) put an end to all of their extreme liberal political correctness, and get back to just football, they’ll continue to turn off a very large percentage of their customers. Jennifer is exactly right when she says that “you can only offend you customer so long before they go elsewhere.” Indeed…
In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Va., ESPN decided to pull one of its announcers from calling a University of Virginia football game — because his name is Robert Lee. Lee, an Asian-American sportscaster who started with the network in 2016, was moved to a different game “simply because of the coincidence of his name,” ESPN said, referencing the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. ESPN, which has faced accusations of liberal bias that some observers believe has led to a downtick in viewership, said it moved its announcer to the Youngstown State game at Pittsburgh. The network’s full statement: “We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.” ESPN notes that assignments are switched all the time.
No, this is NOT the Onion.. You really can’t make this stuff up, folks. No wonder ESPN’s subscriber membership is WAY down.. Unreal..