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May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Robert Iger

ESPN is shielded from financial harm if the NFL and players fail to reach an agreement that would end the lockout, Disney chief Robert Iger has told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. As reported by AdWeek magazine, Iger indicated that plans are in place to run college football on Monday nights, for which ESPN will up its advertising rates. “We will see some extremely, extremely improved pricing for ESPN’s college football games,” Iger said, noting that he expects the number of viewers for college football will climb if the pros sit out the season. He also indicated that ESPN will add more advertising availabilities to college football telecasts and boost the pricing for their spots — all of which may offset any losses from the lockout. Besides, AdWeek observed, ESPN isn’t as dependent on advertising as its rivals. It keeps the number of ads down well below that of the broadcast networks, earning around $175 million from ads per season versus $975 million for Fox’s Sunday-night package. Revenue principally comes from the fees cable companies pay to carry it — which amounted to $5.27 billion last year.