“Covid has elements of the fear that we felt after 9/11, the financial worry that we experienced in 2008, and the unknown that surrounds a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado all rolled into one.”
Politico’s Robert Allbritton
ESPN remains one of the greatest brands ever created. The company’s origins and history is the stuff of legends. But, inasmuch as ESPN was the disruptor of print pioneer Sports Illustrated or networks’ grip on sports, today ESPN has been fully disrupted by the Web.
ESPN has seen an erosion of its lucrative cash cow; COVID simply accelerated the eventual outcome of that. Its parent Disney has been hit hardest: in August, it announced it had lost $4.7 billion between April and June. Its media networks group – with ESPN as its crown jewel – was down 10%. Disney’s entire psyche will shift, viewing diversification and assessing risk very differently going forward. Indeed, Covid will do to TV advertising what 2008’s econocalypse did to print ads. That revenue simply won’t come back, exacerbated by the lack of sports. That lack of sports is what amplified and accelerated today’s news that of the 300 job losses, 200 won’t come back in any capacity.