ONE World Sports

The rumors about the future of ONE World Sports have been circulating within various circles. Employees have been furloughed, and there has been talk that the network’s future is in doubt.

Through tweets and tips to Awful Announcing, we have learned that “ONE World Sports has furloughed much of its staff,” and that vendors have not been paid.

We sought comment on the tips we received and Sandy Brown, CEO of the network, responded by e-mail.

In regards to the furloughs, Brown admitted they did take place, “We are in a sale process, and as we are being vigilant about our cost structure, we took the action of temporarily furloughing some of our employees.”

But he was bullish on the future of ONE World Sports, “The network’s future is not in doubt, for we continue to grow our affiliate base.”  He added, “Every company may take different paths to manage their business, and this is a path that we have taken at this time. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with affiliates and consumers alike.”

And he continued to be very confident:

“I think the network has an extremely bright future. We know that versus our peer group, we are an exceptional value. We hit a very sought after target demo, and our ability to program quality live content with very high production values makes us as competitive as any network in the business. I add to this that we have one of the very best management teams in the industry.”

However, according to a source, the rosy picture that Brown is painting is much different. Instead of “some” employees being furloughed, the source said every employee was furloughed. The source also said every employee worked in November, but were not paid for the entire month. The source said the company “habitually missed payroll, sometimes by only a day, other times by nearly a week.” The source said Brown told employees Sunday he’s still seeking a new owner, and the company will file for bankruptcy if he can’t find one this week. The source also mentioned that the company hasn’t paid some of its organizers, vendors and talent “in some cases for more than a year,” and said “they owe millions and millions of dollars.”

In addition, the source said money was deducted for 401k accounts, but that money wasn’t transferred into employee accounts in some instances for three months, which would be illegal. According to the source, they also deducted federal payroll taxes without sending that money to the government. The source said employees have reported ONE World Sports to the Connecticut Department of Labor for the unpaid wages, 401k and payroll tax issues.

Brown responded with the following statement:

“Let me say first that we are doing everything possible to move the company forward. Second, let me also say that there are a significant number of glaring inaccuracies from your source, whoever that may be. The bottom line is that this company has a very bright future, and we are intent on seeing that realized.”

Our sister site, The Comeback reported on the potential collapse of the New York Cosmos and the NASL. And while Brown refuted to us any connection between the Cosmos and ONE World Sports saying “We have nothing to do with the Cosmos. They are completely separate from us,” there is a direct ownership link according to Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com’s The Goalkeeper blog who tweeted to our Andrew Bucholtz:

So this story has not just two distinct sides, the tipsters and CEO Sandy Brown, it also has the link with the New York Cosmos. This story is not going away any time soon.

As stated in our original post, if you have any additional information on this story, please contact us.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.