ESPN notified cable operators of the 20% rate increase built into its last round of carriage deals. The increase puts ESPN's monthly subscriber fee at $1.20 up from the $1 rate most affiliates are paying. Cable operators typically spit nails at ESPN's rate rake, saying the network went overboard on its $4.8 billion bid to snag the NFL. They also know that if they pull ESPN, sports fans across the country will take up pitchforks and torches to get it reinstated. An ESPN spokesman said that minute amounts to about 60-65 cents per sub per month for operators. The new rate goes into effect August 1.