Could ESPN leave Bristol? Is ESPN’s Bristol location becoming a detriment to the company?
Former ESPN talent Colin Cowherd shared some of his thoughts about the Bristol location earlier this year on his podcast.
Cowherd said “There are now 31 sports networks. The advantage for ESPN has dried up, as now people have options. Not only 31 sports networks Jason, we have 22 regional sports networks. And they are in cool places to live like New York, and LA, and Boston, and Detroit, and Dallas, and Chicago. What is undoing ESPN and is not spoken about, is no one wants to live in rural Connecticut”
“They used to have the hammer. They don’t anymore. Fox can offer you LA, Chicago, New York, Charlotte. The advantage was, you have to live here. Nobody — elite people — including Olbermann didn’t want to live there. Simmons didn’t want to live there. You didn’t want to live there. I didn’t want to live there. The seven bosses that worked for us at Fox, didn’t want to live there. It has become a huge unspoken disadvantage. Rural Connecticut as a whole is dying.”
It’s a turnoff said Cowherd.
Besides the Bristol location, another factor is ESPN’s personnel costs. Stars at the network often earn anywhere from $1.5 million to $3 million.
The changing media landscape is another factor.
In the month of October 2016, ESPN lost 621,000 subscribers who switched cable/satellite plans or dropped their plans entirely.
In the press release, Disney brought up a rise in programming costs and declining ad revenue as the main reasons for ESPN’s downward spiral.
According to a recent consumer survey conducted by the marketing firm Civic Science and highlighted in a note by BTIG, more than half of cable subscribers would be happy to drop ESPN to save $8 a month.
Disney recently announced that it acquired the majority ownership of BAMTech, LLC and will launch its ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018, followed by a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.
“The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.
“This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the Company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands.”
With this strategic shift, Disney will also end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning with the 2019 calendar year theatrical slate.
The new service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app. In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will include the news, highlights, and scores that fans enjoy today.
Consumers who are pay TV subscribers will also be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app on an authenticated basis.
For many sports fans, this app will become the digital destination for all their sports content.
So, what does all this turbulence mean for Bristol? Can ESPN survive the ever changing media landscape?
The future is unknown but with a new approach to reach an ever growing digital audience and continued expansion to their campus, it appears ESPN will remain in Bristol at the moment despite what some may say.
The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.
The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.
Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61
FOX61 first introduced you to the Wallingford Hawks, an under 12 hockey team that racked up several trophies en route to a New England Regional Championship. But it’s their tribute to their late assistant coach that has impressed so many. Scott DeFilio lost his battle with cancer during the season, but the Hawks rallied around the DeFilio family to dedicate the season to Scott’s memory. FOX61’s sports Kainani Stevens has their story.
STORRS— Napheesa Collier scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as UConn held off 10th seeded Buffalo 84-72 on Sunday night to move into the Sweet 16 for a 26th consecutive season. Katie Lou Samuelson and freshman Christyn Williams each added 17 points for the No. 2 seed Huskies (33-2). Cierra Dillard, the nation’s second leading scorer, had 29 points to lead Buffalo, which made a big run in the fourth quarter but could not overcome a 24-point second-half deficit. […]
DANBURY — A van crashed through a church rectory in Danbury Sunday. Fire officials said that they responded to 39 New Street on calls of a vehicle hitting a building. Once on scene, firefighters said that a full-sized van crashed through a building owned by the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church. The building was used a rectory. The van caused considerable damage to the structural supports to the second floor. Firefighters were able to use their rescue skills and specialized tool to […]
ROCKY HILL — Firefighters rescued a person from the roof of a hotel in Rocky Hill Sunday. According to the Rocky Hill Facebook page, firefighters were called to the Hampton Inn on Cromwell Avenue. A “stokes basket” was used to safely extricate the victim from the roof of the pool building. The victim was said to have sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the local hospital. Multiple crews were dispatched to the scene and helped with the rescue.