No Television Contract

As I type this, I'm over three weeks removed from having cable. After much hemming and hawing, most admittedly on my part, my wife and I made the decision to get rid of cable. It's functionality has largely been replaced by AppleTV and over-the-air TV via an antenna. I'm loving it - in fact, the HD actually looks better on AppleTV and via antenna - but the biggest void is sports.

Ever wonder why sports contracts are so lucrative? For one, they've got the power to keep schmucks like me shackled to the cable company for longer than need be. While there have never been more methods to watch sports on devices other than your TV, most of them are still predicated upon subscribing to cable, like WatchESPN's offerings. Others, like the MLB and NBA apps for AppleTV and other devices, in addition to requiring a pricey subscription, also follow local blackout rules, meaning that you still won't see your local team (and don't forget MLB has a rather liberal definition of "local team"). The message is clear: In the eyes of the providers, other avenues are there to enhance, not replace, and the leagues and cable companies are still intimate.

Losing cable won't keep me from watching, but it will certainly change the way I watch. The most salient effect is the loss of everything on the ESPN family of networks. I thought I could stave off that hunger until college football rolled around, until I realized that once March Madness is over, emphasis on ESPNU is shifted to college lacrosse, which I can no longer watch. Barring that, however, my next biggest hurdle comes when college football season rolls around.

Given that The American Athletic Conference (née Big East) no longer enjoys major conference status, televised games of my dear alma mater will be harder to come by anyway, so perhaps this was the best time to make the move. My Saturdays will change, but not too drastically. As long as it doesn't move to the new Fox Sports 1, I'll be one of the relatively few folks starting my day with Fox's college sports pregame show instead of College Gameday. I'll stick to major network programming, which for me will mean SEC on CBS, Notre Dame on NBC (and ND's halftime on, the big game each week on ABC, and ACC coverage available on local TV. Fox will also be the source of my late day fix with their 7pm-ish studio show.

As for the pros, I'm used to missing the Eagles, living in NC. Barring that restriction, it looks like there are only two Eagles games I'll miss due to not having cable, one Monday night game on ESPN and one Thursday night game on NFL Network, so the landscape there doesn't change for me too much.

So here we are. I've gotten the Time Warner Cable monkey off my back (mostly; they still provide my internet) and I've still got plenty to choose from. And when the time comes that I need to catch something, I'm sure the local sports bar will be glad to have me.