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ESPN starting to float names of employees leaving, NHL needs leadership

June 7, 2023, 8:03 PM ET [15 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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The New York Post (via MSN) is starting to ask you to brace yourself. “We previously have mentioned the “Monday Night Football” pregame crew: Longtime ESPNers, such as Suzy Kolber and Steve Young, have earned large salaries, but have cut down their time on the air over the years”.

Imagine this. Over a month ago the network fired 300 employees and only gave out a couple names. Then, they hired Pat Mcafee to a 5 year 85 million dollar deal.

I will be frank with you. We pay talent in this country in the hopes that it brings even more money to the table. I don’t fault Pat for taking the deal. He’d be crazy not to. Are there 300 people who wonder if part of that could have saved their jobs? Probably. This signals the change many of us saw coming. Now, football is the altar at which the USA does its bidding. I wish I could say hockey is a close second, but it’s not even hitting seventh in sports watched with somewhere around 700k per game in the regular season.

Am I exaggerating on the altar thing? One of the largest churches in Dallas (possibly in the US) has flat screens in the lobby so church goers can leave their seats in time for pre pre pre pre pre game. There was a Simpson’s episode about something just like this. How do I know? Family that attended. I won’t name the place because there are probably dozens if not hundreds more doing the same.

ESPN is looking to become “star power” and a lot less busy work. Production managers, studio techs, even script writers. The writer’s strike still hasn’t really taken a step forward as AI continues to develop and more closely resemble the work that can be done in minutes and with a one time investment. That stinks for writers, badly.

So, what is hockey going to look like? Almost no one is even talking about it. That’s a very bad sign. If apathy has set in for the football crew, the hockey crew is going to face something much worse. I thought Bally really wanted it bad. They just lost the rights to 13 MLB teams. It will be transitional, but it’s happening. This court case is dismantling them. ESPN is hunting to find the high profitability zone and that means less space and fewer salaries. Since Bally’s parent co has already threatened to run it into the ground, let the groveling to NBC/Universal begin. The MLB was far more prepared to this point to take over broadcasting. The NHL may well have to depend on companies with space in their lineup while a new solution is crafted by a league that isn’t hitting its financials. (For those who pay attention, Black Rock has refuted a new loan to Disney, so the NHL may be out of luck).

So, what’s wrong with Disney? Comcast. I told you that Hulu is 2/3 owned by Disney and the agreement said that Comcast can force a sale and looks to this January to get it done. The low end (Disney hopes) is 9 billion for the final third. The high end is 27 billion based on a 2021 evaluation that had Hulu being worth more than 70 billion. This will go to court. Last night, there was a very serious meeting I never thought would happen. It’s reported that Disney is looking at selling Star Wars (for a fraction of what they paid) and possibly 2 to 3 theme parks (Shang Hi, Hong Kong, Paris) to get the capitol on hand to purchase Hulu and potentially hide what caused Chapek’s sudden ouster. A potential investment in a crypto that collapsed last year costing billions to a lot of important people.

Disney owned Power Rangers (not my thing). They bought it for 5 billion and sold it back for around 500 million. A loss of over 4 billion. They bought Star Wars for 4 billion, you see where this is going. Toys aren’t being bought, fans are fleeing from the new shows, and now they’re being sued by King Charles over a series shooting in England. Disney probably can’t afford to keep ESPN at this point and pay to integrate it to a new platform as cable subscriptions keep going away.

We have months still, but the “genius” new deals Bettman made for broadcast rights are cement shoes in a New York harbor. The players want AZ to step up and make an effort and are willing to set them up for legal trouble. We don’t need 2 more teams if we don’t have a fan base. The NHL needs leadership, badly. We’ve seen the fruit of the Bettman affect. Teams get a 20% discount on player salary and viewership drops. Who can turn this thing around?
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