The much-reported impending round of layoffs coming to sports cable network ESPN could begin this week, with some saying it could be a bigger deal than previously reported.
New sources claim that “significant on-air names” and writers may be hit hard by the layoffs, The Washington Post revealed.
Originally reported as a possible target of 50 employees, including on-air talent and some beat writers for the website, now insiders disclose it may be closer to 70 employees cut.
“This could be a bloodbath,” warned an inside source, according to Sporting News.
ESPN has made no official announcement about the extent of the impending cost-cutting measure. The cuts come just ahead of Disney’s second-quarter financial report. Disney already reported a major deficit due to high costs of keeping the sports cable network afloat.
The sports network has been a huge drag on Disney. After losing over 10,000 subscribers a month and being saddled with hundreds of millions in broadcast fees levied by the various national leagues, ESPN has proved a money loser for the entertainment giant.
By some reports, ESPN has lost over 12 million subscribers over the last five years.
“ESPN seems to be bleeding money because of cord-cutting, so my salary was unattractive to them,” former ESPN writer Adam Rubin said. “And the new MLB editor at ESPN wants to get away from ‘thorough’ beat coverage — that’s the precise word she used — and I suppose I was the sacrificial lamb to hammer home that point.”
Another insider noted that ESPN is not growing its subscriber base or its profit margin. “So the only way to show fiscal responsibility is to lay people off,” the source said. “This is all Wall Street-driven. This is all about Disney ordering a Code Red.”
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