- REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
ESPN is set to lay off 100 employees this week as the company continues to shift its approach while losing subscribers.
James Andrew Miller reported via Twitter that ESPN was focusing on a shift in its approach to “SportsCenter” and that the layoffs would include some highly paid on-air talent.
Miller added that about 50 recognizable names would be among those laid off.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s president, John Skipper, sent a staff memo in which he said: “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.”
As Bloomberg’s Christopher Palmeri and Gerry Smith write, ESPN is often the most expensive part of a cable TV package and has been hurt as more and more consumers ditch traditional cable packages for online options. Miller reports that ESPN, and “SportsCenter” in particular, will focus on having a “digital presence.”
Veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he was laid off by the company.
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
More big names are sure to come in what will be a tough day at ESPN.
Read Skipper’s memo below:
“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.”