The gutting of on-air talent at ESPN sounds a death knell over the Bristol Connecticut campus as 100 people are now predicted to be laid off due to the World Wide Leader in Sports Entertainment losing about 200,000 subscribers per month over the last five years.
ESPN attributes the bleeding of subscribers to viewers preferring to get their sports online. Yet, many former viewers insist that they are turned off by the network’s affinity for political correctness and the frequent advocacy of left-wing ideology by many of the broadcasters and writers.
On Wednesday, the president of ESPN, John Skipper, put out a memo to personnel saying: “Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward … Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent — anchors, analysts, reporters, writers, and those who handle play-by-play — necessary to meet those demands.”
Skipper added, “These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company. I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN.”
Here’s the reaction of some of those who were laid off:
NFL Reporter Ed Werder
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 (@Edwerderespn) April 26, 2017
Hockey Insider and Writer Pierre LeBrun
Well folks, as you can tell by my new Twitter handle, I was also among the cuts today at ESPN.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 26, 2017
College Football Insider Brett McMurphy
After 5 great years, I’ve been laid off by ESPN. It was a tremendous opportunity & I enjoyed working w/a lot of really, really good people
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 26, 2017
NHL Columnist Scott Burnside
After 13 years of sticks and pucks can share that as of today my tenure at ESPN is at a close. I look forward to the next adventure.
— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) April 26, 2017
Titans Reporter Paul Kuharsky
Knew cuts were coming. Sad to say nine great years at ESPN end for me in July. Please stay tuned to @Midday180.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) April 24, 2017
College Basketball Reporter Dana O’Neil
Add me to the list. Just got the 'call.' I've been informed my contract will not be renewed at ESPN.
— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) April 26, 2017
Big Ten Football Writer Austin Ward
I've been informed that I'm no longer employed at ESPN. Greatly enjoyed covering the B1G, and will immediately try to find a new challenge!
— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) April 26, 2017
College Basketball Writer Eamonn Brennan
Bad news morning. I loved every bit of my eight years at ESPN and will miss it, and so many friends and colleagues there, profoundly.
— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) April 26, 2017
MLB Analyst Jim Bowden
I feel blessed & privileged to have worked @ESPN and most importantly work w/ so many great people.Thank you. I look forward to what's next
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenMLB) April 26, 2017