While some fans would sooner give up food and water before parting with ESPN, a recent survey reveals a small majority of the sporting crowd would be willing to dump the sports network to lower their monthly bill.
BTIG cites research by Civic Science in which they polled 1,582 viewers and asked how many would get rid of ESPN if they could save $8 on their monthly subscription. Slightly more than half (56 percent) said they would.
Recent estimates have ESPN charging providers more than $6 a subscriber to carry the network. The next-highest cable networks, for example, command charges of less than $1.50 a month.
The survey also revealed that just 6 percent of those surveyed said they would pay $20 for ESPN if it were a stand-alone channel.
It’s long been speculated that it would cost as much as $30 a month to get ESPN by itself if it became untethered from a pay TV bundle. In what is surely a bad sign for the company and its parent Disney—which reported last summer that the sports network had lost about 7 million subscribers over the last two years—only 6 percent of the respondents said they’d pay $20 a month for ESPN as a standalone channel. (About 85 percent of the respondents said they wouldn’t pay, while 9 percent said they weren’t sure.) Based the estimates that we’ve seen, we think the monthly cost of a standalone ESPN service would be $30 or more to compensate for the lower number of subscribers.
ESPN recently laid off about 300 workers due to declining cable subscriptions.