Last updated: January 11, 2012 - 8:37am
[Commentary] For the many reasons that the Republican presidential debates have been so popular, the main one is simply that they're live. Happening right before our eyes. When Rick Perry says "Oops," he's saying it just as we're hearing it. Live. Wow: "Oops." This is why, whether you like sports or not — perhaps you'd desperately prefer NPR to have somebody else right now, talking about something really important, not sports — nonetheless, each month, you're charged about eight bucks on your cable bill for the privilege of not watching sports. Pay up for sports, or you don't get anything else you might want to watch on cable, un-live. It's where the money is. It's why professional leagues and teams and college conferences all now want to have their own cable networks. And it's why, last week, Comcast renamed one of its properties NBC Sports Network –– all sports, all day, all year — the better to try to get a larger share of what ESPN does. ESPN now collects an average of $4.69 for every cable home –– four times more than any other network. Throw in the various other ESPN channels, plus other sports networks –– like that new NBC Sports –– that your cable provider makes you pay for, and there's $8 for sports on your monthly bill. Or, as the CEO of Liberty Media describes it, "a tax on every American household."
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