PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- Forget for a moment that most of the country's cable and satellite customers are subsidizing the average sports fan's viewing habits. Shouldn't those fans be able to pay for the channels they want without getting dozens that they don't?That's been the crux of the cable television debate for nearly two decades as the price of sports channels has risen and sports' overall share of the cable bill has increased. According to media research firm SNL Kagan, sports channels made up $947.6 million -- or roughly 17% -- of the $5.5 billion multichannel television industry in 1995. Just last year, sports channels took in $15.3 billion -- or a whopping 38% -- of the overall $40.3 billion multichannel take. The earning power of the only other category that even came close, general variety channels such as TBS and AMC (AMCX), grew to $5.5 billion from $820 million over the same span, but dropped from nearly equivalent to sports to roughly a third of that genre's value.
5 Legal Ways to Cut the Cord on Sports
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