“Would you be willing to pay $25 or so per month for ESPN?”

Andy Staples looks at how college football broadcasts will be delivered to consumers in the future and asks a lot of questions that the people running the P5 conferences ought to be asking themselves today…

It’s quite possible that rights fees have hit their zenith, and athletic departments need to prepare for the fact that their revenue is not going to grow at the rate it has over the past 15 years. It might even dip as viewers adjust to a new world and figure out how they want to pay for it.

Chances are we’ll end up paying about what we pay now to watch college football in 10 years. But we’ll be far more aware of how much we pay, and we’ll be sending that money to different places. That’s why Iger’s comments should have every athletic director and conference commissioner thinking about how their leagues are positioned for their next deals.

… but probably aren’t.  Hey, it’s not like there’s a crisis this second, right?


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

19 responses to ““Would you be willing to pay $25 or so per month for ESPN?”

  1. Most of the athletic directors and conference commissioners will be sitting at their retirement homes at the lake or the beach when this happens. They won’t care one bit because their 401(k) plans will be just fine.

    To make up for the declining TV revenues, we’ll raise ticket prices and contribution minimums. Of course, we’ll have a 32 team playoff purely made for TV even though no more than 8 really have any business in the playoff.

    Regarding $25 a month for ESPN, no thanks … I’ll use that money for my golf game or give it to UGA to improve my seats.


  2. Macallanlover

    I welcome the a la carte opportunity to target my spending dollars. I need ESPN for the four months of CFB, one week in April, one in June, and one in July but I doubt I will be able to turn it on and off that precisely so yes, I would pay $300 per year for that much entertainment. I think it will be more once the majority of the public bails.


    • PatinDC

      My feelings are the same. I find I never watch ESPN after CFP is over.
      I wanted to watch some of the British Open on ESPN and I couldn’t even remember the channel. I will remember it next month though.


      • Macallanlover

        British Open and the first two days of The Masters, that’s why you put that channel in your favorites guide. Don’t need that help in CFB season because there is always one TV that stays on that channel.


  3. Walt

    I’ll pay the man. I prefer watching games on TV. Since I live in 5 Points in Athens I can go to a tailgate, then head home and watch the game in my living room. I’m thinking of switching to SlingTV and paying $25 a month (with sports package) for ESPN and about 20 other channels. Cable and DirecTV are giving me too many channels I have no interest in and cost more than $50/month.


  4. Otto

    I might, I only watch ESPN for college football and a few SEC Storied/ 30 for 30s episodes which I could wait until football season rolls around to watch. I am tempted to try out Sling TV and if it works, change up my cable package.


    • tess

      A lot of the 30 for 30s are on Netflix streaming. It’s a much more pleasant experience, though also much shorter, minus all the ads.


  5. Aladawg

    No to paying. This is going to affect many other channels that are “tacked on” like HGTV, Discovery’s multiple channels etc. You will no longer see people with 150 channels. More like 15-20.


  6. Doubledog09

    Ok, so I took the leap a few months ago and cancelled my cable subscription. I was paying over 90 dollars a month for a fiber based service. I just couldn’t see continuing the cost when I mostly use Netflix and amozon prime for entertainment outside of football season. Really all, I needed cable for was my football fix, which is a must.

    I signed up for sling TV and it is indeed $25 a month for all of the ESPN channels, including the sec network. I am combining the sling service with an over the air HD antenna to get the content I need (over the air offers an amazing, uncompressed image btw).

    I wanted to offer a brief review of Sling for anyone that might be interested. First, let me say that I do have a blazing fast internet service, so mileage could vary based on your speed at home, but overall sling pretty well works as advertised. The image quality is quite good, even on my 60″ TV. The only real problems I have seen with it are thus: it operates on a 1 minute delay vs cable (1 minute is kind of a big deal for sports, so if your phone is telling you UGA just scored and then 1 minute later you see it happen, that will suck. I’m planning just just airplane mode my phone during the games on ESPN I guess. Also, the picture seems to lake the same smooth frame rate of cable. It’s not a deal breaker, but it just looks a little off in motion and seems to blur ever so subtly. Other than that, it works well and offers me the ability to watch on the computer, on my phone and on my tablet, which is great for flexibility.

    Just wanted to give a real world perspective on the service for anyone that might be considering it.

    Hope everyone on the blog is doing well. Can’t wait for the season to start!!!


    • Okay – we are about ditch DirecTV so I want to pick your brain. Currently we have a fairly old AppleTV but the sports options are limited (ESPN/NBCSports/CBSSports) but you have to have an email account tied to either a satellite or cable subscription in order to access. Also, the email address has to have the correct cable/satellite package (we have Comcast Xfinity for hi-speed wireless but it doesn’t allow access to watch via AppleTv)

      Do you get FoxSports with Sling? I looked into Roku etc and it has some sports but no on seems to have all of them and Fox seems to never be on any of them.

      If so, I will probably get one for the main tv in our house and then wait on the new AppleTV service for everything.


      • Doubledog09

        No, sling does not have fox sports. Only ESPN. One thing you should also consider is that the account can only be used on one device at a time. So if you have a large family or want to watch multiple games in multiple rooms this is a no go. I’m planning to use this season as test run for the functionality of this. It makes sense for me now because It’s just my wife and two young children who don’t watch tv on their own, so as time moves forward I would have to find another option outside of sling or pay for some kind of multiple account access I guess


    • Walt

      Great review! I also noted that SlingTV doesn’t have any “over the air” channels such as NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, etc. I added the USTVNow channel to my Roku, and get these live “over the air” in standard def for free. I want to see if I can get some of the network sports coverage once the season starts. Seems that all the channels are out of Pennsylvania. Might be good for Steelers fans.


      • Goat Balls

        So if I switch to sling TV can I watch the tv and listen to Larry Munson on the Georgia Football Network?


        And how is is Munson’s replacement faring? I can’t get the Georgia network out here in Mexico.


  7. Joe Schmoe

    This supposes that TV channels will still exist as such as the content-delivery model completely changes over the next several years. The internet continues to bring content creators and content consumers directly together without all the middle men that have been jacking up the costs of it for years (channels and cable providers). This means that creators make more (a plus which creates incentives to create more and better content) and consumers pay less as they aren’t paying for a bunch of crap they don’t watch. I for one can’t wait until 80% of the TV channels and bullshit content that is created today doesn’t exist. I foresee a model where we are able to continue to purchase just the content we want in more and more granular forms, so that eventually I can just pay $3-5 / per UGA game that I want to watch rather than needing to pay some monthly fee to ESPN.


    • Years ago, I had thought that satellite sub channel would be the way for conferences to deliver individual school programming. Now it appears it will come via hi-speed internet delivery. It seems to me that the SEC and other conference will be better served to just go ahead and make the investment in sub channels now. I would love watching our games on our channel with our announcers. It certainly would make sense for the less visible sports that you only get to see every once in awhile.

      Perhaps the only thing holding them back are the schools individually negotiated local rights (mostly TV and coaches shows) packages? You would have to have some carve outs – or – allowances for national broadcasts and post-season games but its not like the national are not already doing this right? I believe the Final Four games carried the national picture with the local radio feed on alternative channels right?



    I’ll pay for the convenience….multiple TV’s in my abode makes it much easier. I am not convinced “unbundling” is going to make anything cheaper.


  9. Athens Dog

    I’ll pay whatever………..but I’m at a point in my life/career where paying my cable bill is not even an iota of concern…………..

    But i can see my boys (both in college) potentially stressing over this in the next decade.


  10. W Cobb Dawg

    With our AT&T cable bill having ballooned to over $100 per month, I’ve been looking at our options. I work from home. When I’m home, it seems I’m either working or sleeping. So I usually can’t wait to get out of the house to watch a game at a nearby pizzeria, which doubles as a de facto sports bar and hangout with cheep drinks. I’d chuck the TV in a N.Y. minute if the wife would let me. Since I rarely watch any TV at home, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop espn. With a little effort I’m quite sure I’d find some other vehicle for watching the Dawgs and cfb.


  11. Bazooka Joe

    Pay the $25 for the 5 months of football (and playoff) season, then dump it until the next September….because, we all know outside of football season the WWL pretty much stinks.
    Rinse and repeat.