Sports Illustrated reports that the impending layoffs will impact positions across ESPN, including on-air talent, producers, executives, digital, and technology staffing. ESPN has yet to comment on the Sports Illustrated report.
In April, ESPN eliminated 100 positions, including journalists and on-air talent. At the time, ESPN President John Skipper said it was part of the network’s strategy for survival.
ESPN has been actively engaged throughout its history in navigating changes in technology and fan behavior in order to continue to deliver quality, breakthrough content. Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward.
A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy – primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand – still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble. 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. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.
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.
Our objective in all we do is to best serve fans and their changing consumption habits while still maintaining an unparalleled and diverse talent roster that resonates with fans across all our platforms. We will continue to foster creativity and investment in the products and resources necessary to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.
Thank you as always for your continuing dedication to our work.
According to the Sports Illustrated report, part of the reason ESPN will conduct the staffing moves after Thanksgiving is to get impacted employees an additional year in the stock vesting program.
News 8 spoke with ESPN officials late Thursday afternoon, who declined to comment on the report. An ESPN spokesman said that the network is focusing on a new ACC sports network, which will be based in Bristol, and will launch in the summer of 2019. ESPN expects to hire additional personnel for that project as they get closer to the launch date.