Prices can't go up. They're already as high as the market will allow at any given point in time, and they keep pushing it higher every negotiation.
Prices for Pro Sports are not controlled by the laws of supply and demand... they WOULD be if an individual consumer were allowed to not buy ESPN, then when they raise rates their viewership drops. ESPN has monopoly pricing power, in that they get to dictate a contract and the other side has no other choice but to accept it or go out of business. EPSN, with that sort of power, doesn't allow the consumer a choice as to whether a price hike is justified or not. So to claim that ESPN follows the law of supply and demand is ridiculous unless you're asserting that going without TV in its entirety is how people vote with their feet for the actions of one company?
ESPN is not "merely" a copyright holder either. They use their entrenched position in the market to guarantee that no one can outbid them in that market. As a result, they're the only game in town and there will be no usurpers. This is pretty much the definition of a broken market, and exactly the kind of thing that the Consitution authorizes the government to intervene with... regulating commerce.
The exact fix could be one of many things... for example, ESPN could be barred from buying more than X number of exclusives in any given sport, meaning that the NFL, NHL, etc, etc would have to sell to other channels also. With more options, ESPN's power is degraded significantly. (Or alternatively, you bar NFL, etc, from negotiating the exclusive contracts. Amounts to the same thing, ultimately.)
Edited by koralis, 02 November 2013 - 09:45 AM.