Opinion: ESPN not dying soon

By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of twitter.com | SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross donned a Xavier hockey jersey last week.

A Washington Post article discussed the results of a recently conducted survey regarding the health of ESPN, which did not bode well for the Disney-owned network. More than half of the respondents said they would drop the network if it meant saving $8 a month, according to BTIG Research.

The article mentions 2015 is the first time in nearly 10 years that ESPN has less than 100 million cable subscribers, with many dropping cable in favor of streaming services. In turn, ESPN has had to make budget cuts and lay off many employees as it attempts to find an avenue to re-establish its viewing audience. One such proposition is to become entirely subscription-based (i.e. paying $20 a month for access).

The public often criticizes ESPN for its work. Yes, it may put too much emphasis and attention on certain players. Yes, there have been many cases of ESPN personalities who have left the network and vented about their negative experience during their time, such as Bill Simmons. It does not matter, though, how much heat ESPN takes, because there will be no “death” of ESPN anytime in the near future. It is still the go-to channel for sports news in America.

If we were to do away with ESPN, how would we be able to go from one game to the next to the next on a Saturday afternoon? Sure, another network could fill in, but Fox Sports 1 tried to break into the scene, and ESPN still essentially holds a monopoly on the sports broadcasting industry. As long as there are sports, there will be games to be watched. With those games, there will be a need for commentators. You might not like the commentator, but it still beats silence any day.

ESPN may need to look into some drastic changes, but this does not mean it will disappear. People are still going to tune into SportsCenter for their highlights and for the Top 10 plays of the day. There will be no “death” of ESPN anytime soon.