Reports of the number of layoffs to befall employees at cable sports network ESPN have been steadily increasing, but no one expected that the full measure would amount to 100 employees. The shocking toll was realized today as employees began receiving their pink slips.
Weeks ago some reports speculated that as many as 40 employees would be shown the door, and on Tuesday some were raising that ceiling to perhaps 70. But, as April 26 dawned, the final number was revealed with a whopping 100 employees fired.
ESPN President John Skipper sent out the feared memo on Wednesday informing employees that the time had come. About half of those let go are on-air, well-known names to ESPN fans.
One of the first to alert fans to his fate was on-air reporter Ed Werder, who took to Twitter to tell the sorry tale.
After 17 years reporting on #NFL, I've been informed that I'm being laid off by ESPN effective immediately. I have no plans to retire
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) April 26, 2017
Among the many others fired are hockey writers Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside and Joe McDonald, college reporter Dana O’Neil, and soccer reporter Mike L. Goodman, according to the New York Post.
Other on-air employees taking reduced roles and reduced paychecks at the sports network including Hannah Storm, Karl Ravech, and ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo.
The layoffs come just ahead of Disney’s second-quarter financial report and on the heels of the company’s announcement of a major deficit due to high costs of keeping the sports cable network afloat.
The 38-year-old sports network has steadily lost ground and profitability, losing over 10,000 subscribers a month while saddled with hundreds of millions in broadcast fees levied by the various national leagues. ESPN also has reportedly lost over 12 million subscribers over the last five years.
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