The layoffs at Yahoo are continuing, and they’ve hit one of the company’s newest sports properties. Following several budgetary layoffs in May (including Puck Daddy assistant editors Josh Cooper and Jen Neale) and further layoffs announced earlier this week (including Ball Don’t Lie editor Kelly Dwyer), even more departures (including Yahoo Sports deputy editor Joe Lago and Ball Don’t Lie assistant editor Eric Freeman) were announced Thursday. Update: Puck Daddy assistant editor Sean Leahy announced his upcoming departure Friday too.

The company also said that it’s shutting down its esports site. Yahoo head of esports media Travis Gafford announced in a letter to readers Thursday that the site would no longer be updated after Friday:

Unfortunately, Yahoo Esports will no longer be updated after this Friday (June 16th). As Yahoo Sports becomes part of Oath, they are focusing on aligning with the new company strategy and are focused on growing the Yahoo Sports brand.

…First, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the individuals at Yahoo who decided to make esports an initiative at the company. From the folks who presented and approved the idea, to the engineers and project managers who built the site, and the Yahoo Sports team who hired the first few members of what would become our media team.

Additionally, I want to thank the esports community. As is often the case, there was a great deal of skepticism when a large company entered the esports space. You challenged us to create authentic videos and articles from familiar faces and names. With the help of teams, players, leagues, and publishers we strived to provide you engaging, entertaining, and informative content. In turn, you embraced us across Smash, CS:GO, League, FGC, and many more communities. Your passion and support drove us.

Finally, there is no possible way for me to thank my amazing colleagues enough. Speaking personally, Yahoo Esports was my first chance to lead a team. To say I got hard-carried by our incredible producers, writers, editors, and social media folks would be a vast understatement. All of them invested their long hours, passion, and endless creativity into this endeavor. If I have a chance to work alongside any of them again in the future, I will take it in a heartbeat. You’ll be hard pressed to find better women and men for positions in this industry.

Meanwhile, Lago announced his exit Thursday as well:

And Freeman also announced his impending departure Thursday:

Leahy announced his exit Friday:

As Gaffard’s letter noted, these layoffs are part of the larger changes involved with Verizon taking over Yahoo and combining it with AOL/The Huffington Post for the newly-dubbed Oath. That’s expected to involve 2,100 layoffs in total across Yahoo and AOL, and 39 Huffington Post union members were laid off as part of that move Wednesday.

[link_box id=”81189″ site_id=”94″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]The shuttering of the esports site is a particularly notable move, as that’s such a new initiative (it was launched in March 2016) and one that so many other sports media companies have been getting into. Other companies with esports verticals include The Score and ESPN, while Vox’s Polygon launched three new game-specific communities last week, and Turner has been diving into esports with their ELEAGUE broadcasts. All indications are that esports is a growing market. But it’s possible that the vertical it wasn’t producing the traffic Yahoo hoped for, or that it was deemed more expendable than other more-traditional sports coverage.

It’s going to be interesting to see what Yahoo Sports as a whole looks like after these changes, though. While AOL and The Huffington Post aren’t all that sports-focused, meaning that there may be less overlap than there is with other sections being integrated, it’s clear Yahoo’s sports section is still facing some big cuts. And one of the biggest appears still to land, with Adrian Wojnarowski (and probably some or all of The Vertical’s other writers) reportedly heading to ESPN after the NBA draft.

We’ll see what the new-look Yahoo Sports is like. They’ve already lost a lot of well-known, well-respected and popular writers and editors, and more may be heading out as well. There still are plenty of impressive people at the company, and their traffic has still been solid, but it will be worth watching how that’s affected by some of these recent changes.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • I fully expect Yahoo Sports to be rebranded HuffPost Sports, and turn into the same low-rent mess that HuffPost is. And Woj will pick a few helpers and bring them to ESPN at lower salaries, which beats no salaries.

    • NickandLynds

      If it’s the worst possible decision, I can guaranty as a VZ employee that VZ will make it.

  • Pingback: Yahoo's digital sports empire is in the historically-sports-inept hands of Tim Armstrong()

  • MrBull

    Turn the lights out on Yahoo Sports….it is history….

  • NickandLynds

    The folks who got laid off are better off than those that will stay and work for Verizon. Over the past decade, VZ has devolved from a great company that cared about it’s employees to a place that’s sole purpose is to line the pockets of the incompetent leadership at the top. The company is systematically eliminating the long-term (predominantly white) employees who created its success with a younger, more diverse work force, including cheaper H1B workers. That may sound nice to the uninformed, but the truth is that the guys at the top think these people are dumber and more malleable than their current workers: all they have to do is treat them like work is a giant kindergarten and they’ll accept lower wages and less job security. The CEO, Lowell McAdam, just got a $12 million dollar bonus as a reward for screwing over his work force.

    Even worse than the layoffs, is the above-mentioned infantilization of the office. While VZ gladly will throw out an employee, no matter how good, to replace him with a barely-adequate one to save a few thousand/year in salary, the leadership has never met a consultant (Read: snake oil salesman) it would’t gladly pay hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, no matter how ridiculous the advice. As an example, HQ is playing musical office spaces: each year, the same consultant tells us that a different type of workspace is required to turn us into a tech company. First we had to reduce the wall height of the cubicles, just a year later, we have to transform the cubicles into work tables; who knows what we’ll have to change to next year!

    As another example, 5 years ago, we hired the “lean six sigma” consultant who had transformed Motorola into oblivion. He promised to turn VZ into the next Apple or Google. Five years on, he has moved on to destroy another good company and we employees are still waiting for our free gourmet lunches and high-priced stock options…and VZ is closer to failure than ever. Mission accomplished…amiright, Lowell?

  • Pingback: MTV News cuts Grantland alums and other top writers, axes longform, emphasizes video()

  • Pingback: Yahoo owes SCA Promotions $5.5 million over Billion-Dollar Bracket()

  • Pingback: Saying bye to sportswriting: Amid industry chaos, ex-reporters explain why they're trying something new()