I'm a big fan of international sports such as soccer and European league basketball. Living in the United States meant that I couldn't have timely updates on the results of my teams. Following events in real-time wasn't even an option. That was ten years ago.
Five years ago, I could follow any major global sporting event in near-real-time via textual, Internet-based updates. Today, I can watch any major sporting event live, via some form of Web TV. In a few years, the Internet will enable me to watch any sporting event.
If ESPN and the likes are even considering capturing the long tail of sports fans, they'll need to significantly increase the number of television channels they offer. Otherwise, fans will increasingly turn to the Internet for all their sports needs.