I completely understand what you are saying but I see a different result in the long run. Short term, everything you said is correct. But as the fees for ESPN continued to climb and more people dropped them, they'd be getting even less than they started out with. Then the decision is theirs, either stop making these ridiculous overpriced deals like MNF, keep doing so and have less and less people supporting it because their price continues to sky rocket, or go out of business. As I've said before, none of these stations like ESPN want a higher tier/sports tier/etc because when they see their $$$ decline as less people pay for it they will know how important they really are and lose their upper hand in any further negotiations making their threats worthless.
I'm with SR on this one for a couple of reasons.
The people in this country that are sports fanatics carry a big stick and they want their football, baseball, basketball, college sports, etc. If you pull back on the television contracts, the money for salaries, stadiums, etc takes a big hit. The money has to come from somewhere, right now it's television. Those salaries of players are not going to go backward in any meaningful way and television rights is the most efficient and least costly per consumer to pay for them.
If ESPN were to go out of business, someone else would step into the vacuum and pay it.
We could go back the last 40 years and see how many fans scream about player salaries and the costs of sports, but the ratings remain strong, the stadiums are largely filled and the train keeps on moving.
We can go back and read the threads here on DBS, I'd bet, and each year the price increases come and predictions of gloom and doom follow but never happen.
There is no alternative threat for sports right now. Netflix or Hulu or anyone like that isn't going to be able to offer sports with the $$$ needed to grab those products and distribute. Nor are the leagues going to cut off the money supply they get from the networks and the distributors.
I don't see this ending for decades, if at all.