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Several weeks ago, my wife and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary at Walt Disney World. She never got to visit to the Magic Kingdom as a kid, so when the opportunity arose, we decided to make a week of it.

We learned a few things along the way — most notably, all the walking we did around the various parks did not burn off the calories we consumed while stuffing our faces at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. …

As you might have noticed, What You Pay For Sports has undergone a rather sudden transformation.

This is the unfortunate result of a malware attack on the original WordPress site and an unfortunate bit of “protection” offered by my soon-to-be-former web hosting service, Bluehost, and their partner Sitelock, who dug so deep into the site that I became unable to salvage the site as it was to move it to a different web host.

Moving the blog to Medium is an attempt to salvage the content I’ve written for this site without having to fight with WordPress or give these companies any more of my money. …

One thing to keep in mind with regard to the FCC’s recent ruling to dismantle the current Title II Net Neutrality rules: Net Neutrality is not officially dead just yet.

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She’s not buying your crap, Ajit.

The new rules don’t take effect until 60 days after they’ve been published in the Federal Register, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading an army of state attorneys general to sue the FCC and reinstate the old rules. Given some of the shenanigans surrounding the FCC’s actions leading up to the 3–2 party-line vote, Schneiderman might have a case. …

Two headlines stood out last week that we should discuss.

The first one comes courtesy of Streaming Observer, who posted this gem last Wednesday:

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The article details a recent survey, which found that 53% of people choosing a pay TV service don’t see the inclusion of live sports channels in their package as an important consideration. Streaming Observer then reminds us that 87,349,000 homes pay for ESPN and ESPN2 — which, according to the latest SNL Kagan data reported by Variety, is $8.84 per household per month. That’s more than $772 million per month. (Streaming Observer reported old SNL Kagan estimates of $7.21 …

Amazon made waves in the sports rights game earlier this month when they struck a $50 million deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football, outbidding Twitter, Facebook, and whatever’s left of Yahoo. The deal is Amazon’s first major sports deal after the NBA rejected its bid to be the exclusive home of NBA League Pass in December.

It’s also the first Thursday Night Football streaming deal in which the games will be behind a paywall; only Amazon Prime members will be able to stream the games. That said, there are a lot of Prime members out there.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (in February), Amazon added a new line item to its annual report: retail subscription services.

Comcast has made it more difficult than ever for their customers to dump cable TV.

Last year, the cable behemoth slapped one-terabyte data caps on its broadband internet service in most of its markets, then zero-rated its own streaming video service so that it wouldn’t count against those caps. Comcast customers could get unlimited internet and not have to worry about streaming more than a terabyte, but that would add $50/month to their broadband bills.

That billing scheme makes anyone considering cable alternatives like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue start doing math — and realizing that Comcast has set it up so that those alternatives would end up costing more than Comcast’s TV offering. Those data caps are an anti-competitive scheme designed to prevent its customers from dropping Comcast TV service in favor of other online TV services.

Let’s talk about this guy for a moment.

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He’s a North Carolina Tar Heels fan. Tar Heels fans hate the Duke Blue Devils, and vice versa. It’s unquestionably the best rivalry in college basketball, and it produced three highly entertaining (and highly watched) contests this year. Duke won two of them.

So when Duke faltered against South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year, this guy, like many other UNC fans in the stands that night in Greenville, SC, was understandably excited. He had just watched UNC defeat Arkansas and advance to the next round, and now he was watching the upstart Gamecocks knock off the team he hates the most. …

Three years ago, comedian John Oliver brought a ton of attention to his HBO show Last Week Tonight by discussing Net Neutrality and calling the appointment of a former cable company lobbyist as chairman of the FCC “the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”

After Oliver’s campaign to flood the FCC web site with comments proved to be the equivalent of a DDoS attack, Tom Wheeler was quoted at a press conference as saying, “I would like to state, for the record, that I am not a dingo.” …

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When we last looked in on ESPN’s struggles with cord cutting in December of 2015, ESPN had lost seven million subscribers in a two-year span from 2013 to 2015. Fast forward 16 months later, and it’s clear that this trend has not abated.

As of March 2017, ESPN now has only 87,437,000 subscribers. That’s a loss of nearly 12.7 million homes from its peak of 100.13 million in July of 2011, and its lowest subscriber count in 11 years. …

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Image courtesy of The Players Tribune

You might have noticed in the last few weeks that NBA players are getting huge contracts this off-season. Even role players are getting upwards of $10 million per year. The biggest free agent signing so far this summer has been All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who left the Oklahoma City Thunder today to sign a 2-year, $54.3 million deal with the Golden State Warriors.

Now here’s what TV executives don’t want you to notice: If you have ESPN and TNT in your cable or satellite TV package, roughly 2.47 …

Dave Warner

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