ESPN Has Reportedly Lost 3.2 Million Cable Subscribers in Past Year

Ryan Glasspiegel

ESPN’s budgetary cuts have been well-chronicled in the past few weeks, as the network parted ways with Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann for reasons that were a combination of financial and editorial (more the former with Olbermann, and it’s impossible to weigh each side with Simmons). When the writing was on the wall with Olbermann, our site’s Jason McIntyre wrote that ESPN, which essentially prints money from cable subscription fees, was spooked by cord cutters.

Today, the Wall Street Journal cited Nielsen data that ESPN has lost 3.2 million subscribers in “a little over a year.” That story also says that the network’s cable subscription fee is about $6.61. If these numbers are accurate, that adds up to over $250 million per year in lost revenue. This comes at a time where live sports rights fees have been skyrocketing. And if this many people have already cut the cord, when the trend feels like it’s in its infancy, what happens in the next 10 years?

It will be interesting to see if these budgetary matters lead to an even bigger exodus of on-air talent. ESPN could look a lot different in a year or two.

[H/T Bryan D. Fischer]