The new programming mantra

In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. And in retail, it’s all about volume, volume, volume. But it is becoming increasingly clear to television networks, it really is all about sports, sports, sports.

With CBS and Turner closing an $8.8 billion deal to secure rights to the NCAA Championship series through 2032, and now ESPN getting into business with the heretofore little-known drone racing circuit, the most reliable way to snag eyeballs for a channel – internet, broadcast or cable – is to have the live rights to sports. Of course, the popularity of the particular type of sport is critical. I’m not sure lacrosse or water polo would be as enticing, but I think ESPN is making a modest wager to protect against the potential that drone racing is the next X Games.

With the astronomical prices for the NFL, NBA and NCAA games, I assume thatĀ ESPN can part with the spare change required to secure drone racing rights. Especially when you read passages like this:

“The network has lost seven million subscribers in two years, along with about $550 million in annual revenue.”

Perhaps the next venture capital destination will be new sports? I hear that hoverboards (flyboard?) – the real kind, not with wheels – are getting a lot of attention.

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