The affiliates feel like they are losing money and scarce and valuable adult male viewers as a result of the migration. Moreover, ABC then has to compete with those events on ESPN.
ABC’s affiliates are not only in a battle with the network over retransmission fees, but they are also boiling mad that corporate sibling ESPN is being handed live sports events they were initially supposed to carry.
The most recent move came in January when ESPN announced it planned to take eight Nascar races this fall off ABC for the coming season to run on ESPN. Even before that, though, ABC coughed up the Rose Bowl beginning in 2011 and golf’s British Open in 2010 to ESPN, which is majority-owned by Walt Disney, the full owner of ABC.
Sports fans and people just interested in networks warring with affiliates should read the full article. One interesting tidbit in it is that ESPN, which already has the largest cable carriage fees (the amount it is paid per home that receives ESPN) by far at an estimated $4.10 is looking to raise its fees.