As FTVLive told you, ESPN is cutting ties with Keith Olbermann. This comes on the heels of losing another big name, Bill Simmons.
This is more about saving money than anything else.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the sports network has has lost 3.2 million subscribers in a little over a year, according to Nielsen data, as people have “cut the cord” by dropping their cable-TV subscriptions or downgraded to cheaper, slimmed-down TV packages devoid of expensive sports channels like ESPN.
ESPN, a profit machine that has long towered over the media landscape, is showing signs of stress as the pay-TV industry goes through an unprecedented period of upheaval.
A decline in subscribers as customers trim their cable bills, coupled with rising content costs and increased competition, has ESPN in belt-tightening mode, people familiar with the situation say.
At the same time, the prices ESPN pays for the rights to show games are ballooning. Rivals including 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Fox Sports and Comcast Corp.’s NBC are aggressively pursuing sports properties to feed their own outlets, which is also driving up prices.
Last year, ESPN agreed as part of a renewal deal with the National Basketball Association to triple its average annual fees from $485 million to about $1.47 billion, people familiar with the deal said.
Higher prices for sports and less people watching, it's not hard to figure out that ESPN needs to cut costs.