The ESPN deal for Monday night football really highlights the need for new regulations forcing multi-channel providers like Disney to "unbundle" their channels and allow cable and satellite distributors to make their own decisions about how they want to package and sell channels. ABC was losing money on the Monday games, and ESPN will be paying even more for the package. But analysts say the reason ESPN can afford to do that is because it get income from both advertising and cable & satellite TV subscribers. Unfortunately ESPN has also become the most expensive channel in the typical satellite/cable package, and almost every subscriber pays for it because Disney refuses to allow it to be moved out of basic packages of channels. Disney enforces this rule with threats of pulling this or other popular channels from any distributor that dares to defy them. Public anger at rising cable and satellite bills should be directed at content providers like Disney (which owns ESPN and ABC) who bid up the price for programming, while expecting all subscribers (not just those who watch ESPN) to foot the bill.
If this allows us the choice of dropping ESPN then I'm all for it!
I wonder how much ESPN really costs us and how much the non-sports fans bills would go down if we were able to drop ESPN.