CBS, Turner Need New Technologies To Pay For NCAA Rights

Turner Sports may be scrambling to pay for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament in the future if people continue to walk away from cable and satellite TV




The word that the Walt Disney Company is ready to shed millions of dollars allocated for salaries of on air talent is no surprise. Cable TV, while still flush with money, has been losing revenue as cable and satellite TV subscribers are cutting the cord and leaving the that form of pay TV behind. Other technologies have signed up deals with ESPN and other sports networks but they have not brought in the same high revenues as cable and satellite TV.

At some point, the cord cutters and the lose of subscriber revenue is going to impact Turner Sports which holds the rights to the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament along with CBS through 2032.

The cable and satellite TV industry has been losing millions of subscribers over the past few years and it is not just limited to ESPN. It is all across the board including sports and news networks because when you cut the cord, you are cutting a great many channels.

Clearly there is a subscriber problem. The Walt Disney Company’s ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, lost 542,000, 552,000 and 608,000 subscribers in December. ESPN has around 87,859,000 subscribers and has lost about 12 million customers since 2011, ESPN2 may have 87,730,000 subscribers and ESPNU has dropped to 69.2 million. Those numbers and revenues continue to drop which is not good for Disney as ESPN has a large investment in the NBA. Turner is losing subscribers on both TNT and TBS and also has a large contract with the NBA. The regional networks are losing subscribers with their fees and some ad revenue, none of which is good news for sports owners and players and networks.  There is hope that other platforms will pick up the slack after the cord cutters are gone but that has not happened yet.


Photo: AP

Cable TV subscribers are paying for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament