Despite the wave of layoffs, it appears that woke ESPN’s profits had fallen by 20 percent over the first nine months of the year, according to the data released by the network’s owner, Disney.
Disney usually avoids reporting ESPN’s financials, but in a rare move, the Mouse House released the numbers showing that a loss of subscribers and rising sports broadcast rights fees has hit the cable network particularly hard.
“Revenues for Disney’s sports division were $13.2 billion over the first nine months of fiscal 2023, a 1.3% drop compared to the same period in FY 2022 ($13.37 billion),” according to Front Office Sports.
The report added that the network had an operating income of $1.48 billion between Jan. and July, which is a 20 percent drop over the $1.85 billion earned last year.
This is despite the massive layoffs of top employees, including Keyshawn Johnson, Max Kellerman, Steve Young, Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose, Vince Carter, Rob Ninkovich, Chris Chelios, and Neil Everett, among many others.
Of course, cable is suffering a loss of subscribers by the millions as Americans move their entertainment dollars to streaming services. Cable viewership hit a new low in July when, for the first time in decades, it dropped below 50 percent of total TV usage in the U.S.
Nielsen reported that fewer than 50 percent of America’s entertainment viewing came from the traditional sources of linear TV or broadcast and cable TV (which includes satellite providers like DirecTV).
Sports broadcast fees are also climbing, and ESPN is now dishing out $2.7 billion annually to the NFL alone for rights to broadcast Monday Night Football, the Pro Bowl, playoffs games, and its first two Super Bowls.
Meanwhile, despite Disney’s claim that it wants to begin dialing back from the wild-eyed leftism that has infested its properties — including ESPN — the cable sports network just launched a new show set to explore “racism” in sports, hosted by race hustler Ibram X. Kendi.
Teaming with Kendi seems to be the opposite of any “quieting” of Disney’s far-left political agenda. Kendi is the same radical race-baiter whose supposed “Center for Antiracist Research” has been investigated for misdeeds.
Kendi has been forced to lay off more than half the staff of his woke organization based at Boston University after being accused of organizational dysfunction and squandering $43 million in donations.