ESPN Loses 500,000 Subscribers In 30 Days

ESPN lost nearly 17,000 subscribers a day in the month of April, costing them $48 million in annual revenue - and bringing the total subscriber count down to around 86 million, reports Outkick

Putting that into context, this is $48 million in revenue that ESPN has lost forever. (That’s $8 a month x 500,000 lost subscribers x 12 months in a year).

The loss in subscribers puts ESPN down to just north of 86 million, which is a precipitous decline from the 100 million subscribers the network had as recently as the end of 2011. -Outlook the Coverage

OtC's Clay Travis says that part of the trend may be attributed to the fact that come tax season, penny pinching cable and satellite subscribers cut back, or "whether the end of the NFL, college football, and college basketball causes many sports fans to tune out for the summer."

While the numbers of lost subscribers haven’t been as bad in the past few months, I suspect that’s because ESPN threw such a fit over last year’s numbers that Nielsen slowed down its subscriber attrition data for several months to make sure they weren’t off in their data measurements. -Outlook the Coverage

Here's ESPN compared to other networks:

Meanwhile, the NFL network is regretting its decision to bring Thursday night football to Fox - resulting in its former network Comcast, which owns NBC, kicking them into a lower programming tier. This caused the network to also lose nearly half a million subscribers. 

That said, ESPN's loss is more notable considering the dollar figures involved:

The larger story here remains that ESPN, which is the most expensive channel on cable by far, loses more than any other channel with cord cutting because their revenue takes the biggest hit. That’s easy to illustrate by using FS1 as an example. FS1 brings in roughly $1 a month in subscriber fees so losing 328,000 subscribers would cost it just shy of $4 million total a year. Whereas ESPN 500,000 lost subscribers cost it $48 million a year.

Given that ESPN costs three times what every other channel costs — and given the substantial fixed rate costs involved with its insanely overpriced and paid sports programming schedule — the network needs to be saving money wherever it can.

So it’s probably a good thing the network isn’t spending $35 million a year on a brand new New York City studio and paying three people $15 million a year to host a show whose ratings are declining by 20% over the much cheaper show they replaced. -Outlook the Coverage

Between cord cutters and penny pinching subscribers, ESPN better think of a solution to their dwindling subscriber base, and fast. 


HobbyFarmer Thu, 05/03/2018 - 15:47 Permalink

I haven't seen an NBA game or NFL game in years.  Never watched a baseball game on tv...although I do enjoy hockey now and again.  

Watching other men play sports?  Meh.

jcaz shovelhead Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:34 Permalink

It's just NOW dawning on ESPN that John Skipper's coke addiction might pose a problem for the network....... They should have let his dealer give the job a shot.

It's pretty funny tho-  the new show has three hosts:  A Jewish guy who makes twice as much as the white woman, who makes twice as much money as the token black guy- loving the irony.........

In reply to by shovelhead

uberintj Deep Snorkeler Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

Made me think of this...


I Am the Slime


I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little has changed
I'm the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks . . .
Don't touch that dial


-- The late, great, Frank Zappa

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

blindfaith Pernicious Gol… Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:05 Permalink


Yea...and would mind seeing women wrestling in a pool of gravy around Thanksgiving.  Local bar had that last year and it was wall to wall guys with a line out front.  Bar made a killing that day.  Disney sells sugar to kids on the bottom shelf at the grocery...just check the cereal isle for starters.  And Uncle Warren sells salt, sugar, and fat to the rest of us.

In reply to by Pernicious Gol…

The Ram Lt. Frank Drebin Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:14 Permalink

Or, people just getting tired of media period.  Sports are pretty much another form of news with all its dramas, melodramas, temper tantrums, etc.  Maybe people just want a little peace of mind to escape the daily stress.  Sports has too much 'noise' and hype today.  Of course, the network execs think the solution is to 'amp' it up even more!!  Wrong direction guys.  

In reply to by Lt. Frank Drebin

itstippy The Ram Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Sunday afternoons in the Fall my Father would pull his chair right up to the black & white Zenith TV, adjust the rabbit ears, and watch the Green Bay Packers game.  The happiest I've ever seen him was when the Packers were playing well against the Bears, Dad's in his "comfortable" sweater, and he's got a bag of Jay's Potato Chips and a brown bottle of Fox Delux beer.  That was way before ESPN.  There were no slow motion replays, no color commentators, no computer graphics, no yelling, none of that.  Just football and ads for beer and motor oil.  For two hours on Sunday the old man could escape the stress of everyday life and enjoy the football game on TV, for three months in the Fall anyway.

Back then the local nightly 10 o'clock news format was news, weather, and sports.  Mom would quit watching after the weather and get ready for bed, but Dad would stay up to watch the sports hoping to hear something about the Packers.

In reply to by The Ram