Bad news is on the horizon yet again for ESPN employees. According to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, the network will soon reduce its staff thru another round of layoffs. The cuts are expected to take place in in late November or early December and could affect as many as 40 to 60 people from the TV and radio departments including on-air personalities and production staffers.
If the rumored staff reductions do indeed occur, this would mark the second such instance in 2017. ESPN already eliminated 100 employees in April.
The article suggests that among the targets could be a few of the faces of ESPN’s flagship program, “SportsCenter.” Many feel that the worldwide leader in sports is still paying the price for billion-dollar TV deals it inked with the NFL and NBA during a period of time when subscriber numbers were declining.
Making matters even more difficult have been the public relations hits the company has taken during the past few months over various incidents involving on-air talent. The series of events have led to many in industry circles questioning the direction and leadership of ESPN President John Skipper and his executive team. Budget cuts will certainly not change that perception, even if those decisions are coming from the top of the Disney corporation.
As Sporting News accurately pointed out, ESPN is not the only media company to reduce staff in this challenging and changing economy. Other organizations have gone thru similar situations including FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Bell Media, and Vice.