ESPN only really has one choice here. “Get in line or go away.” The NFL rights deal is up in 2023. 9 years ago I was sitting in a dentist's office in Milton Massachusetts begging people for $2,500 dollars to sponsor the Barstool rundown.
First, before I say anything let me say this. I know nothing about the ESPN/Pat McAfee Deal. That was after my time working with the boys but I do know the internet and how these deals work and ESPN is cooked without Pat McAfee and people like him. Let me explain.
ESPN quite frankly needs to get in line. They think they are 1st in line but they are 4th. The line goes
That’s the line. That is the line today. That is the line in 10 years. There is no debating this. The suits at ESPN lost a long time ago and they are still dancing around waving numbers in Pat McAfee’s face that do not matter in the least. Want the proof? Here it is and we have another person living in the past, Andrew Marchand to thank for it.
As compared to the same window last year, which featured “SportsCenter,” McAfee is down 12 percent. On FS1, Colin Cowherd’s show has nearly beaten McAfee on some days and saw 19 percent growth from last year to average 156,000 viewers.
Ok. So let’s look at the numbers that actually matter
You can add in BOTH of Colin Cowherd's Channels and Pat McAfee has a 45% bigger audience in terms of viewership over the last year on Youtube. If you take out the "shorts" views, and anyone who understands this game would because those are vanity metrics, Pat McAfee is 2x bigger than Colin Cowherd. The numbers are not even close.
What the Andrew Marchands of the world don’t like to discuss because it hurts their position is choice. If we go off of the YouTube numbers and not Comscore or whatever dinosaur TV ratings he was using above the consumer had to choose to watch Pat McAfee 2x more times on YouTube over the past year vs Colin Cowherd. That’s the secret at the end of the day and why Pat McAfee can say or do whatever he wants, the consumer chooses him as the guy.
(DO NOT LOOK AT THE CHART BELOW PLEASE DO NOT LOOK AT COMSCORES STOCK PRICE VS The S&P I BEG YOU WE CANNOT LET ANYONE KNOW THEIR BUSINESS MODEL IS BULLSHIT)
There is no way around this problem for ESPN. Sports players are starting their media companies when they are in the league now. Leagues are already licensing their content to platforms. The “Pat McAfee Problem” is not a problem, it is the reshuffling of the board that has been happening since Bill Simmons wrote his first article for Page 2 in 2001.
ESPN only really has one choice here. “Get in line or go away.” The NFL rights deal is up in 2033. 9 years ago I was sitting in a dentist's office in Milton Massachusetts begging people for $2,500 dollars to sponsor the Barstool rundown. Dave Portnoy now owns a 42 million-dollar home. If ESPN does not rethink their entire place in this ecosystem they will lose the league's rights and essentially lose everything else in the process. Time is ticking.
They need to rethink monetization like we are doing with Mash and come to terms that they are 4th in line when it comes to the business of consumers consuming sports content and doing it fast. They are living on ideas and business terminology that does not exist to the end consumer anymore. The Norby Williamsons of the world are comparing a Palm Pilot to the iPhone. They do not have to change, but the world around them already has. The biggest sports show on the planet is broadcast out of a church in Indianapolis. The biggest show period is a guy in Austin, Texas with 3 employees. As Vince Carter once said,