Report: ESPN to Cut 500 Jobs in Cost-Cutting Measure
The layoffs will be spread across the network and not concentrated in any one department
On Thursday morning, ESPN informed employees that it would be cutting 300 staffers and would not be filling 200 positions that are currently open, according to Sportico.
On-air personnel will mostly be spared and the layoffs will be spread across the network and not concentrated in any one department, according to The New York Post.
The cuts come as ESPN deals with financial fallout from the pandemic as well as its parent company, Walt Disney, attempting to pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model.
“We have, however, reached an inflection point,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro wrote in a company-wide memo. “The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever … The pandemic’s effect on ESPN clearly accelerated our thinking on all fronts. Today, as a result of these circumstances, we informed our employees that we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to create a more agile, efficient organization.”
The layoffs come in the midst of the Worldwide Leader engaging in a billion-dollar battle with NBC to acquire the rights to Sunday Night Football.
ESPN has approximately 4,000 employees based at its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, and around 6,500 worldwide.
“While still one of the great destination jobs in sports media, ESPN is not immune to writ large changes regarding how Americans consume sports media,” according to The Athletic. “Cord-cutting from traditional cable continues to be the trend. ESPN had been looking at headcount reductions prior to COVID-19 but every business has been hurt by the pandemic.”
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