Sport

More Layoffs to Hit ESPN

More Layoffs to Hit ESPN”

In 2015, ESPN laid off 300 employees, most of whom were behind the scenes staff.

ESPN, based in Bristol, Conn., will hire new employees as it continues to build its digital platforms. 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.

As traditional TV becomes less a staple of the household and with ESPN tied up in exorbitant contracts to air live sports events, the network has seen declining gains, and multiple rounds of layoffs.

The next round of cutbacks could come down in late November or early December, with 40-60 positions potentially being impacted, according to sources. While staffers across all levels of the company will be affected, including on-air personalities, the "SportsCenter" brand will likely be hit hardest.

ESPN may also be affected by declining National Football League ratings. In September, ESPN's "First Take" with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim tripled the TV audience of FS1's rival "Undisputed" with Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor (461,000 vs. 150,000 average viewers). At the time, ESPN President John Skipper said it was part of the network's strategy for survival. The network has recently brought in atie Nolan, Adrian Wojnarowski and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo!

Meanwhile, Jemele Hill returned to co-host the 6 p.m. ET "SportsCenter" Monday after a two-week suspension for repeatedly violating the network's social media guidelines. The White House called for Hill's firing after she called President Donald Trump a "white supremacist" on Twitter. At the same time, cord-cutting has reduced ESPN subs from more than 100 million in 2011 to around 87 million today. Those astronomical rights fees require ESPN to charge cable providers more, which pass along the cost to its customers.



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