I think it's your use of "basic" that confused me. Most cable carriers now offer a minimalist basic package, no doubt in part because of pressure from both cord-cutting and OTA digital antennas. What you're talking about is the "normal" cable package where you find ESPN and FS1 and your RSN (and often, MLB) but not, generally, ESPNews or ESPNU or NHL or Big 10 Network.
Clearly ESPN is thinking hard about all this stuff, even if the teams and leagues aren't to the same extent. They are still buying up the rights, and have all kinds of places to put the broadcasts (including ESPN+ and Hulu).
But I think most people, either because they actually do watch a lot of TV or because each family member is interested in different things, are happy to just have lots of channels, and a la carte would add up fast for a lot of people. And it's also a two-way street - as a sports viewer I'm subsidizing someone's ability to watch AMC or a kids channel or Fox News. I would need a lot of stuff for sure - one reason I keep my grandfathered ATT package is because I don't have to pay the sports upcharge (for SEC, Big 10, ESPNU and several others).
Is the Sinclair/former Fox Sports dispute about the charge, or the tier? Most of the people complaining they can't see their team anymore wouldn't necessarily want to upgrade to the higher sports tier, though they'd probably pay a fee that was sold them as just being for the games if it wasn't part of a network.
(Never mind that I don't want to give money to Sinclair, even more so than Fox. Stuck with them as the owner of my local ABC station anyway.)