Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BREAKING. ESPN considering exiting a number of international TV markets due to the growing costs of sporting rights.

The Disney-owned ESPN is considering exiting a number of international TV markets as a result of the growing costs of acquiring live sporting rights.

This leaves a bit of a question mark behind whether the two ESPN channels seen on MultiChoice's DStv platform in South Africa - ESPN (DStv 230) and ESPN Classic (DStv 231) - would be affected.

ESPN's representation in South Africa didn't immediately responded on enquiries made Wednesday afternoon on what the news might mean for South Africa specifically. MultiChoice says "we are not aware of any issues in this regard".

The breaking news is that The Walt Disney Company's chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Iger told investors that the opportunities for ESPN are limited internationally."

"ESPN's international business has never been particularly large, nor has it been a huge priority for the company," he said. He said the proliferation of pay TV platforms all using key sports as a driver for their services, makes it harder for companies like ESPN to make money on sports globally.

He said ESPN as a part of Disney will continue to look at opportunities internationally "with an eye towards determining whether they have the ability to grow or, in some cases, become profitable or, if not, potentially exit those markets".