The truth is that the current TV system is a great deal for everyone.
Networks earn much more per viewer than would be sustainable under a la carte pricing. Networks are incentivised to create (or in ESPN’s case, buy rights to) great programming; making your content “must-watch” lets you raise your affiliate fees. Viewers get access to multiple channels that are hyper-focused on specific niches. Sure, folks complain about paying for those niches, but only because they don’t realize others are subsidizing their particular interests. Cable companies know the cable TV business, and would prefer to put up with customer disgruntlement over rising prices than become dumb pipes.
A great post that perfectly demonstrates why we don’t simply pick-and-choose our channels from our cable companies: by making us pay for every channel, every network is able to fund the programming we love.