Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Layoff 'Bloodbath' Expected At ESPN

The layoffs at ESPN might turn out worse than predicted.

The Sporting News reports The Worldwide Leader in Sports could cut around 70 TV/radio anchors, reporters, analysts and online writers over coming days and weeks, sources said.

That would be worse than the 40 to 50 on-air talents predicted by ESPN book author James Andrew Miller during a podcast with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated.

The higher numbers may reflect the inclusion of online writers like respected Titans beat reporter Paul Kuharsky who tweeted Monday his contract is not being renewed.

ESPN's corporate campus was "eerily silent" Tuesday, said another source, as staffers anxiously waited to see who'll survive what management is euphemistically describing as a "right-sizing."

ESPN management would argue that salaries for on-air talent have gotten out of control.

Some ESPN stars are earning from $1.5 million to $3 million, according to Miller. They're not going to make that kind of scratch at other networks. To save their jobs, some of these talents are accepting pay cuts to stay with the network, said sources.

With ESPN losing 12 million subscribers over the past five years, the brass in Bristol have to show Disney management and Wall Street its willing to bite the bullet on costs.

"They’re not growing. So the only way to show fiscal responsibility is to lay people off," said a TV insider. "This is all Wall Street-driven. This is all about Disney ordering a Code Red."

ESPN declined to comment.

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