The economics of sports on Television can be very confusing. This LA Times article attempts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding Disney’s ABC Network and their struggle to be profitable with Monday Night Football.
The 34-year-old sports classic is ABC’s most popular and longest-running prime-time program — a tradition that began in 1970 when ABC’s legendary sports producer Roone Arledge put Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Keith Jackson in the broadcast booth.
Even though the show is ABC’s highest rated show, it still makes no profit due to the high fees charged by the NFL. At some point even your loss leader becomes too expensive to stock and you have to cut it loose. This is what people have been wondering about Disney’s continued ownership of ABC for some time now.