ESPN subscriber losses accelerate as network continues to embrace social-justice programming

by Peter Heck · Aug 6th, 2020 8:18 am

Last Updated Aug 7th, 2020 at 1:53 am

ESPN's revenue is continuing its precipitous decline as network subscriptions plummet at an alarming rate. The mounting losses coincide conspicuously with parent company Disney's corporate decision to allow ESPN to push politically-charged, social-justice content across its platform.

After falling 4.5% and 5.5% consecutively in the first two quarters of 2020, subscriptions to ESPN dropped a startling 6% in the third quarter. Even if coronavirus-related suspension of sports competitions played into the second quarter significantly, it is clear the trend was present pre-pandemic. Even as three major sports leagues have returned to play, the third quarter is proving the worse yet.

Analyst and Media Futurist Rich Greenfield shared a graphic representation of ESPN's continued decline:

July marked the lowest ratings in ESPN's 41-year history, the same month Disney announced had signed activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick to produce social-justice content for ESPN.


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