Liberty Chairman John Malone: ‘Consumer Is Getting Squeezed’ by Escalating Sports Costs

Nov 20, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Sports programming costs are out of control, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone tells the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog.

"We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports," Malone said. "The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator."

Some estimates peg sports programming as accounting for half of a typical pay-TV bill, the story notes.

Malone said he believes regulators or Congress should step in.

"The only way it is going to change in the short run is for government to intervene," he said. He added that one solution would be for expensive services such as ESPN to be sold on an a la carte basis.

ESPN costs more than $5 per subscriber, according to SNL Kagan.

Technology might also help, Malone said. Services such as Netflix and Hulu will add to their content, giving consumers more choices beyond pay TV. "People will watch and pay for what they want — it is kind of inevitable," he said. "I can’t forecast the future but usually markets have a way of correcting themselves."

One Comment

  1. AMEN!!!!
    I watch (DVR) about 12 sports contests per year. Why should ESPN cost me $65 over a years time for ESPN and probably another $30 per year for the dozens of other sports channels.
    An iTune type system where you pay $2-3 per game and you have a week to view it. 2/3rds go to the network and 1/3 to the colleges/teams.
    John Malone is right again, we are getting squeezed and it is time for cable to adopt ala carte!
    Oh the horrors of watching the marketing departments crap themselves when they find that only 1 or 2 of their 40 bundled channels actually get watched.

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