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Is ESPN the Culprit Behind Your High Cable Bill?

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ESPN HeadquartersThe one universal truth is that cable bills are one of the fastest growing expenditures that most households pay. So why is this? Many people are quick to blame sports, specifically ESPN, for those high bills. But what are the other factors?

Dedicated sports channels make up about $10 of the average cable bill per month, with half of that going toward ESPN alone. Sports organizations like Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the NBA know that they have a captive audience, so there’s really very little motivation to bargain with the channels, because someone else will always pay the money. And cable customers in the Los Angeles area are now paying a huge amount more for a sports channel, due to a special deal with the Dodgers.

So what can be done about it? Stop watching sports, or demand that your local municipality only give them money for new stadiums in exchange for an equal piece of the team. Slowly, they will actually be owned by the people of the city, and you will enjoy the same benefits the people of Green Bay Wisconsin do from their ownership of the Packers.

Now that we’ve rejoined the real world, the actual answer is, “pretty much squat.” Some cable companies have experimented with sports-free packages, but report that people usually dump them.

Time Warner Cable has offered cable packages without ESPN and other expensive sports networks to subscribers in the New York area. According to their press office, most of the people who started with cable-lite eventually upgraded to the full cable package, egregious sports programming and all.

Frankly, I find that a little dubious, and I’d like to know what else was missing from those packages that people might have found important. In the end, it will literally take an act of Congress to do anything about this (fat chance — politicians that stick it to sports teams should usually pack their offices immediately after). Channel bundling is a fact of life, and as long as 90% of America wants sports, and is willing to let themselves be walked over for them  on the municipal and broadcast levels, subsidizing $400 million stadiums that never pay for themselves instead of fixing bridges or buying schoolbooks,  there’s really nothing the rest of us can do about it. We’re stuck. And guess what? We have to pay for the sports you watch, whether we watch them or not.

Click the source link for a lot of information about how ESPN, and other popular channels factor into the price you pay.

Via: [The Atlantic]

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