Tony Manfred looks at ESPN's layoffs and the likelihood that overpaying rights fees may portend strength from its competitors, though as the first link notes, it's also about bringing in younger, cheapter labor.
Still, if Manfred's case is to be believed, this is of note considering that NBC's USGA contract expires in 2014 and the two networks are expected to bid on the next contract.
In the last 24 months, ESPN has agreed to huge rights deals with a bunch of leagues and events. Some of the highlights:
• $15.2 billion over 10 years for Monday Night football (73% higher annually than the previous deal).
• $7.3 billion over 12 years for the new college football playoff (480% higher annually than what it was previously paying for BCS bowls).
• $5.6 billion over 8 years for MLB (100% higher annually than the previous deal).
• $825 million over 11 years US Open tennis (400% higher annually than the previous deal).
That doesn't include smaller deals with specific college sports conferences, golf tournaments, and NASCAR.