Just had a conversation with my cable company. Asked about ESPN3 (we don't get it), and after a bit of chit chat about ESPN, she told me that the current negotiations are that ESPN is trying to go to a premium model a la HBO. Right now, they're trying to get $25 in a premium tier.
Not gonna get into a long-winded analysis of this, because I'm on my phone. But I can only imagine that this is due to declining cable subscriber numbers, and that they think they can make more money as a premium channel bundle. I wonder what the implications are for the conference network models.
I'll let y'all talk this out.