"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Insane Cost of ESPN's Monopoly Bowl

Why do we think the monopoly that the Disney company has on television broadcasting rights for 38 of the 39 college football bowl games this December and January must end?  Of those 38 games, 35 are broadcast only on ESPN which is owned entirely by Disney.  Let’s say you wish to watch just one game – 1 out of 35.  Do you think you should be forced to pay for the other 34?  Your government does – at all levels.  Obviously ESPN, ABC and Disney think you should.  Please read on.

·         Most of these games are being played by colleges and universities that are receiving significant taxpayer funds.  Those funds are collected by the states in which the schools reside.  These same schools get more taxpayer funds from the federal government which forcibly collects money from taxpayers across the United States and sends funds to these schools.  In other words, all American taxpayers are already funding various educational and sports activities at these schools.  We are also financing the schools via deductions taken by taxpayers who make contributions to these schools.  Simply put, the American taxpayer already has an ownership position in the schools activities – we just have no claim on any broadcasting rights associated with such ownership.

·         These “bowl games” are not being televised commercial free.  Oh no, not by a long shot.  Some of these bowl games will last 3 hours; maybe even 3 ½ hours.  The game time is one hour.  What fills the other 2+ hours?  Lots of commercials paid for by products and services which the American consumer purchases.   So, American taxpayers/consumers are now paying for these games, even if they choose to not watch them, a second time  – by an unknown amount added to the cost of the advertised products/services when acquired by the consumer.

·         And then we come to the mandatory payment to buy access to ESPN.  ESPN is paid by the cable/dish provider $5.54 per month per subscriber, regardless of whether the subscriber ever watches ESPN.  Then the cable/dish provider adds their fees, costs and profits to that $5.54 and the local government franchisor adds their fees and taxes along with any other government entity that figured out how to pile on.  Most likely these costs are buried in a catch all called – taxes and fees or some such thing.  Wonder why your cable bill is so high?

The end result makes the Mafiosi and its “vig” or other forms of corruption look like pennies in the gutter.   Here is a chart published at - http://www.thewrap.com/cable-bill-battle-subscribers-providers-carriage-fees/  comparing the top viewed pay channels and a ranking of the costs charged by the most expensive pay channels.  No, the most viewed channels are not getting paid the highest monthly fees.  Look below:

USA  Network is watched by more subscribers than ESPN.  They only get paid $0.71 per subscriber.  ESPN gets EIGHT TIMES AS MUCH - $ 5.54.  And, remember, their broadcasts are subsidized by taxpayers as well as by so many commercials that one must devote the better part of the day to watching a couple games.
Closing comment - Monopolists are smart.  Americans love college football.  Female lacrosse games have not been targeted.  But, the question stands:  Should media, government and a few very rich special interests line their pockets at our expense?  Here is a link to a recent article analyzing the game ESPN is playing and why and who is paying for it.  Please go to:  http://nybw.businessweek.com/articles/2015-01-06/the-insane-price-of-espns-college-football-ratings-triumph#r=rss




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