ESPN Fighting Back Against Cord-Cutters With Streaming

After having lost millions of viewers over the past few years due to the practice of cord-cutting, ESPN and its parent company, Disney, are planning on offering consumers the chance to watch its programming online through streaming.

However, there’s one caveat to this information that potential viewers should make sure to remember. Instead of receiving all of the available programming on ESPN’s networks, the events that will be available are all from so-called niche sports. In other words, the programming for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and National Basketball Association won’t be included. In addition, only selected college sports will be available.

This particular practice is known as offering “skinny bundles,” in contrast to cable companies packaging all of the network’s channels together. There’s no information as to when ESPN will begin this and there are currently no plans to include any of the networks in the near future.

Last year, ESPN made the Cricket World Cup available by streaming, with no cable contract needed to access the contests. To watch all 49 of the matches, viewers were required to pay $99.99. There’s no indication of how successful the concept was, thought it was seen as something of a test run for this current plan.

The idea of cord-cutting was based on the fact that ESPN charges more money per subscriber to cable companies than any other network, an estimated $6.61 per month. As a result, the network has lost more than seven million viewers since September 2013.

Garth Brooks Is Going Online

On Thursday, Business Insider released an interview with Garth Brooks, the megastar musician, who talked about online streaming and releasing his own radio show on Sirius.

This is fantastic, because Garth Brooks is one of the few artists who probably warrants having his own radio station. He has released some of the most iconic albums in music, from “Garth Brooks” to “No Fences,” “Ropin’ the Wind,” and “Double Live,” which all sold at least 10 million and as many as 21 million copies. That alone warrants him deserving his own radio station, but throw in a pair of Grammys, more than a dozen American Music Awards, and other recognition for being commercially successful, and you’ve got one of the best radio stations in music.

Garth Brooks took a years-long hiatus from music in order to raise his children, but that nearly two decade-long absence from music did nothing to dampen and everything to enliven the brand he has created. He has starter touring, has been working on a new album, and is doing high-publicity shows at Yankee Stadium and Central Park in New York City. Garth Brooks is bigger than the average country star is today, and that’s nearly 30 years after he released his first album. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of Garth Brooks, but there’s a good chance you are too.

Even if you’re not, it’s hard not to acknowledge that Garth Brooks is at such a great point in his career that going online and live with a radio show and more streaming options is a logical step for him.