ABC affiliates are mad as hell at ESPN.
Disney’s sports network has taken several live broadcasts from ABC and placed it onto the cable network. So far, they took eight NASCAR races and ABC had to give up the 2011 Rose Bowl and the 2010 British Open, according to MediaWeek.
Affiliate stations told MediaWeek that that losing live sports events costs them ad revenue, potential media buyers and a chance to promote other TV shows and programming to NASCAR fans. But ESPN can do as they please, for the most part, since the Disney-controlled ESPN took control of ABC Sports in 2006.
MediaWeek: A few station execs privately suspect that because ESPN is a big money maker for Disney, the parent company is letting it pull more live sports from ABC in order to justify hefty subscriber fees. ESPN charges cable operators $4.10 per household, according to SNL Kagan, and is said to be seeking a hike.
ESPN’s senior vice president of programming and acquisitions Len DeLuca noted that switching up the NASCAR broadcasts was for ratings reasons. Live Nascar races were airing on ABC on Sunday afternoons and going head-to-head with NFL games.
We’ll have to eye ESPN closely to see if they haggle with cable providers for higher fees.
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