Steve Eder and the New York Times take ESPN to task for receiving "about $260 million in state tax breaks and credits over the past 12 years," including $84.7 million in development tax credits and another $15 million thanks to simple tax code lobbying.
This is of note considering recent coverage questioning the tax status of the NFL and the PGA Tour. Just recently the excellent Outside the Lines took the tour to task for its charitable giving. You may recall thee primary takeaway involved over $200 million in federal and state tax breaks the PGA Tour had received over the last decade or so. An amount was actually less than what the mothership was mooching off of one state in the union. Granted, I've never been to Bristol and this all may be perfectly justified to get anyone to set up shop there. However, the sweetheart status does not help the net's credibility when reporting on the very same topic.
Bloomberg's Kathiva Davidson noted the problems with this dichotomy.
And just two weeks ago, ESPN made waves with an in-depth “Outside the Lines” report on the PGA Tour’s nonprofit business model, which has resulted in nearly $200 million in federal tax exemptions over the last two decades.
The most recent piece acknowledged the group’s charitable contributions but questioned how much of it actually serves needy groups and whether those benefits outweigh the cost to taxpayers. Bristol residents should probably start to question their local politicians the next time they want to further shift the tax burden away from the Worldwide Leader.
While we're on ESPN analysis, a recent Deadspin post by Patrick Burns reported his findings from 23,000 minutes of Sportscenter viewing and found that if you are a partner of the network, you get coverage. If not...
In reality as defined by SportsCenter, there is no such thing as "the four major leagues." Add coverage of golf, NASCAR, club and international soccer, the Olympics, and tennis to what the NHL got, and you still don't reach half the time spent on the NFL. Football and basketball, in both professional and nominally amateur flavors, took up well over half of SportsCenter's time between them. Add in baseball and you've accounted for about three-quarters. Tennis—all of it, the entire sport—got about half as much coverage as Mark Sanchez did all by himself, and he sucks.
Granted, this doesn't come as a surprise but it was nice to see someone quantify the ESPN bias toward business partners. Certainly they are well within their right to emphasis home-programming, which is another reason golf bodies talking to them about rights deals should think twice about clean breaks.