Logo for the DFR Audible post categoryThis site has seen more than its share of ESPN bashing, including most recently in this piece, which chose to view some of the recent, high-profile departures of on-air talent from “The Worldwide Leader” as signs of cracks in the foundation.

Now comes word that ESPN, like any number of bloated, overgrown corporate entities before it, will be laying off a chunk of its workforce.

There’s nothing that the financial types adore more than people getting booted out of their jobs, so the move pump up Disney’s stock a bit. But from the perspective of the rest of us, people getting canned usually means the good times are not rolling.

The article cited above attributes the squeeze that’s pinching Bristol’s finest to cord-cutting and the resulting decline in revenues from a shrinking subscriber base. The tone of the text–including quotes from company propaganda–makes it all out to be just part of the natural trend in the entertainment market these days, and presents a relatively cheerful notion that ESPN may soon turn into a direct deliverer of its content, a la HBO and its HBOGO and HBONOW services, and all will be well again for the Connecticut Clown College.

Perhaps. Unbundling of entertainment delivery is certainly a good idea, as anything that kicks cable providers like Comcast and Time Warner in the nuts is a positive development. Maybe ESPN really will find its way to Olympian heights once more.

But here’s a minor thought: folks would probably have still embraced unbundling, once the technology made it available–but they might not have embraced it so eagerly if a linchpin of the traditional cable bundle, like ESPN, had not declined so precipitously in quality, particularly the once wonderful but now thoroughly unwatchable SportsCenter. Hmm, maybe drowning your shows in ads and hiring nothing but smug, arrogant, preening pricks wasn’t the greatest idea after all.

Can’t wait to hear what the latest development in this ongoing saga might be.


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