Aren't people who watch sports the main customers for cable TV, what with Netflix and the internet and so forth? The linked NPR article is trying to generate outrage about cable TV, but it seems to me that cable TV is obsolescent. And I say that as someone who pays $200 a month for cable TV.
Understand: ESPN is an entirely different programming animal than, say, CBS, which dominates prime time –– or A&E, or HBO, or Showtime — on cable. Those networks must create programming.Well, our cable works with a box that lets us record while watching the show live. And we, in fact, do fast-forward through the commercials! If you don't understand how to watch live and still fast-forward commercials, you don't have the remote-control skills we do. It's not that hard. Let the live recording get a little ahead of where you're watching, so you'll be able to skip ahead. If you "catch up to live," do some more pausing/replays. That's what I do. I only watch commercials if I think they look amusing, which they are from time to time.
ESPN and the other sports networks are essentially just brokers. They take your subscription money, buy games and then "bring them" to you, pocketing a nice broker's fee. And because games are live, advertisers love it, because you can't fast-forward their commercials. And, hey, you only need to go to the bathroom so many times.
It's a great business model, taxing American households.