I'm thinking it has something to do with what can be considered a character in Dramatica. For instance, in a recent article from Melanie (apologies for not finding and linking), she explains how in a fictional story the rain falling on the ground could be considered a character. But in the real world, that wouldn't be applicable. Or at least it would be subjective, I suppose, up to an individual's perception. So Dramatica probably works best in the real world when limited to human interactions.
The scenario I kept thinking about last night was this. Imagine you have several diaries, documents, etc, and all you know is they are from an archeological dig at an ancient site. You might read through everything and say it's all leading up to a success/good storyform because it's following X path. But then you find out that the documents and diaries are all from Pompeii just before it got destroyed by a volcano. Now it depends on perception and goals and all, I know, but I would suspect death by volcano would likely be seen as a failure by most.
In that hypothetical scenario, Dramatica didn't predict a failure outcome. So either the destruction of the city was forced to be seen as a success, or the destruction forces you to ignore the path the city was taking up to that point and forces the events into a failure path.
But then it hit me that in a narrative, the volcano would probably have to hold one of the antagonist or contagonist elements, or at least be a character in some form for it to add to the narrative in meaningful way. But in real life, it's not a part of the story until it happens. So realistically, in the scenario above, the volcano wouldn't force a failure outcome onto the story of Pompeii, it would cut the story short leaving any building narrative unable to complete it's argument.
So I think that would be the answer. Dramatica doesn't predict something like a car breaking down, but rather offers multiple journeys that the person can take that lead either to failure or success after the car has broken down. Both paths include the car breaking down as a point along that journey, but it's not the car breaking down that matters as much as the mental narrative the person sees themselves in.
So Dramaticas ability to predict success or failure in the ESPN scenario (or any other) wouldn't have been due to its ability to predict events in the physical world, but rather it's ability to chart the path of human narratives-even if it's a group of humans (many ESPN customers) rather than a single human mind.
Again, I'm just pondering and that may all be wrong, but it satisfies me anyway.
Sorry for the long post on something as silly as the difference between the meaning of life and the meaning of an argument as Dramatica applies, but I enjoyed thinking about how and why a theory that describes human perception seems to apply to the physical world.