Where I live, Basic Cable is not a given. Not for me, anyway. I ainâ€™t no kind of Fortunate Son, I guess. Purchasing a cable package that includes the basics â€“ weâ€™re not talking any kind of fancy-schmancy â€śpremiereâ€ť channels HBO or Starz or Digital Whozeewhatsits here â€“ costs in the neighborhood of $60 a month.
Thatâ€™s $720 a year for mostly crappy stations.
Now, my family pays $14 a month for what I guess would be considered low-budget basic. We get the local channels, and we still get a decent smattering of cable stations such as Bravo, FX, HGTV, and USA. This deal, however, isnâ€™t even advertised by the cable company: I had to practically pry it out of them.
Because I basically canâ€™t afford stations such as ESPN and TNT, what really suffers is the part of me that used to be a sports fan, the part of me that is dying a slow death, year after year. As a native New Yorker transplanted to LA, I rely on catching the odd Knicks, Yankees, and especially my beloved New York Giants game on broadcast television to fix my sports jones and reconnect with my childhood, my home town, and my formative years looking up to sports greats such as Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor, and Don Mattingly.
The announcement that Monday Night Football â€“ an institution among sports media institutions â€“ is moving from ABC to ESPN will likely close the door on my interest in professional football forever more.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
"Monday Night Football," the second-longest-running program on prime-time broadcast television, will leave ABC for ESPN at the start of the 2006 season in an eight-year deal worth a reported $1.1 billion a year.
Now, I know what youâ€™re thinking. You want to get all Reservoir Dogs on me: suck it up and cough up a few bucks for Basic Cable, you cheap bastard. I just canâ€™t do that. Itâ€™s more than the money. I just canâ€™t see paying that kind of cheddar for entertainment that I used to enjoy for free on network television. And, to be honest, it is about the money as well. If that makes me a cheap bastard, so be it.
The 2005 season will mark Monday Night Football's 36th and final season on ABC, which began the Monday night franchise in 1970. Only the 37 seasons that "60 Minutes" has been on CBS tops the football showcase's run.
Talk about the end of eras. Thereâ€™s been a lot of them lately.