I've read many threads lately with complaints about the rising cost of TV service. Many of these complaints are then followed with a rant about the high cost of sports programming and the age old "why should I have to pay for ESPN (and the like) when I don't even watch sports?" While I understand this argument to some extent, I would like to present a different viewpoint here: Sports programming is what's keeping pay TV viable in today's economy. I could make the argument that, if not for exclusive sporting events and programming available through pay TV subscriptions, we would see a much larger number of people cutting their cord, so to speak. With so many more viable options for TV today (Hulu, Netflix, OTA, just to name a few), there is very little reason to shell out $80+ a month just for the ability to watch a show without having to wait a few days or, worst case, a year to see through other mediums. But, what's one thing you can't do on a Roku? Watch Monday Night Football or an out of market NFL game. Advertisers have already shown us the future by their willingness to a invest more advertising $$$ into live sporting events than any other programming. The biggest reason? Those events are more likely to have real-time viewers as sports are not a good candidate for our DVR/on-demand world. I'm not suggesting that without sports we would have no TV subscriptions, but I do think that sports keep a lot of would-be cord cutters from jumping ship. That, in turn, keeps pay TV costs from skyrocketing even more as companies attempt to make up for the mass exodus from TV subscriptions. So, the next time you feel like ranting about the fact that you have to pay for sports you don't even watch, consider these points and perhaps change your tone to a thank you instead. If not for sports you may not have a pay TV option to complain about.