A new YouGov poll shows that sports fans who call themselves Republican are turning off cable sports network ESPN in droves.
Views of ESPN among Republicans is falling at a precipitous level, the poll found. Favorability ratings for ESPN have fallen by over 15 points since 2013.
“ESPN impression scores among Republicans have dropped from around 32 in 2013 to just above 16 in 2017,” YouGov reported on May 3. “Democrats, meanwhile, have kept a relatively stable view of the network during the same period.”
A list of incidents broadcast by the cable network seem to have led to the collapse in ESPN’s brand among Americans with a center-right point of view.
From the over-the-top treatment of publicly gay NFL player Michael Sam, to the 2015 ESPY sports award given to transgender personality Caitlyn Jenner whose “sports” award came decades after her athletics days had come to an end, Republicans have slowly begun to turn away from the cable sports network.
In recent months ESPN has continued its leftward tilt, with the network constantly praising the anti-American protests by former San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the firing of former Red Sox great turned ESPN commentator Curt Schilling because of his conservative views.
In addition, late last year ESPN ombudsman Jim Brady felt pressured to publish a long piece exploring the leftward tilt of the network. In the end, Brady proclaimed that his network had no problem with liberalism.
Indeed, in his piece, Brady quoted ESPN President John Skipper as insisting that the network had little intention of putting the brakes on its liberalism.
“It is accurate that the Walt Disney Company and ESPN are committed to diversity and inclusion,” Skipper said. “These are long-standing values that drive fundamental fairness while providing us with the widest possible pool of talent to create the smartest and most creative staff. We do not view this as a political stance but as a human stance. We do not think tolerance is the domain of a particular political philosophy.”
During each of these cases, YouGov noted, Republican sentiment toward ESPN declined.
YouGov concluded its report saying, “the figures suggest that enough Republicans believe it has, and this belief has ostensibly contributed to their diminished view of the sports network.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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