Millions of Americans will be enthused about Senator McCain’s Cable Choice bill…but ESPN President John Skipper isn’t.
ESPN is far and away the most expensive of the basic cable channels. Dishonestly attempting to shrug off McCain’s bill, Skipper recently opined that “the cost for a family of four to go to dinner and a movie is as much than the cost of a monthly cable bill.” But this is hardly a defense. Anyone who’s been to a theater recently knows that dinner and a first-run movie for a family of four can cost almost $100…if the family eats at McDonalds. No one – other than a network mogul – would consider $100 a month just to watch TV a “reasonable cost.”
In his push for Cable Choice, Senator McCain pointed to ESPN specifically, noting that millions of consumers who don’t watch sports are nevertheless forced to pay for ESPN. Indeed, ESPN makes up 20% of the cost of cable programming, yet comprises only 2% of cable’s viewership. “I truly believe a lot of Americans are fed up with the size of their cable bill,” said Senator McCain, and he’s right. But as far as ESPN’s president is concerned,