ESPN's predicament is an HBR case study
As to ESPN execs handwaving away the future, I think it's normal. In 2016 they had those numbers to make. In every media transition it's common to be in denial. (I study the transition from radio networking to TV networking in the 1950s, so I look at this process in detail.)
As to the current transition to streaming, I think we're somewhere where the TV industry was around 1955-56. The new medium is finally acknowledged to be the thing, the old medium is being abandoned by audiences at a faster rate than ever before, but no one has quite yet figured out how to make the new medium profitable yet.
Madness takes its toll