The Hustle

Sports are canceled. What the heck will networks like ESPN do now?

For a little while at least, reruns are probably all we’re going to get.

March 15, 2020

Hope you like basketball reruns.

March Madness has turned into March Sadness following the NCAA’s cancelation of its marquee hoops tournaments. Nearly every major sports league has also called off competitions. 

So for a little while at least, reruns are probably all we’re going to get.

It’s a lot of irregularly scheduled programming

Sports networks are filling time by airing documentaries, replays of old basketball games, and UFC bouts (it’s the only major sports organization that hasn’t yet canceled events en masse).

Some networks are even suspending studio shows, which seemed like all they were airing for days.

Networks make most of their money from commercials — and live broadcasts help them keep the lights on. Last season, regular-season games accounted for 38% of the NBA’s TV-ad revenue.

Will advertisers pay the same premium for taped content?

Some are speculating that networks could fill the gap by airing esports, but in-person versions of those contests (including ones with live audiences) have been suspended, too.

Are you ready for some football?

The NFL season is still months away, but over the weekend players approved a new collective bargaining agreement that will add 1 game to the regular-season schedule and expand the playoff field.

Free agency is also set to open this week, which will give fans (and networks) lots to talk about. 

Maybe you should re-up that YouTube TV subscription after all.

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