Companies around the country have had to make very difficult decisions this year, and ESPN is no exception. We've seen a few major layoffs at the Worldwide Leader, and another is coming.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN will lay off 300 employees. Another 200 open positions, which the network was ostensibly hiring for, will no longer be filled. Marchand says that president Jimmy Pitaro announced the layoffs internally today.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports,” Pitaro wrote, via Sports Business Daily. “The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions.
"In the short term, we enacted various steps like executive and talent salary reductions, furloughs and budget cuts, and we implemented innovative operations and production approaches, all in an effort to weather the COVID storm. We have, however, reached an inflection point.”
COVID is not the only factor here, although it may be the most immediate one. Cord cutting has also disproportionately impacted the network, which demands among the highest carriage fees on cable television.
The network has also been forced to do more broadcasts remotely, for shows and minor sporting events. That drives down costs, though it obviously may have an impact on the quality. With this news, it looks like some of those shifts may stay permanent.
We'll have more as it comes out on the situation.