On Friday news began leaking out on Twitter that Fox Sports was laying off its regional writers. While Fox has launched two national networks recently in Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, it still contains a robust network of 18 regional channels (plus YES) that span coast to coast. The regional networks are a significant aspect of Fox’s sporting empire as they house local sports rights from the NBA, NHL, and MLB all across the country.
On the web, each of those networks have their own verticals with a mixture of original content and AP articles. But that may not be the case any longer if these tweets are to be believed…
As TV rights fees continue to soar, Fox Sports, which has a ton of regional NBA and MLB deals, cuts talented writers who cover the teams.
— Kevin Kleps (@KevinKleps) May 29, 2015
Sad to hear about the FOX Sports regional writers.
— Andy Carlson (@AndyCarlsonShow) May 30, 2015
We do know of at least one prominent regional writer that has confirmed being let go – Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio. Jackson told Clevescene.com that June 30 would be his last day at FSO. Multiple sources told the site that the cuts were across the board at the network and that “similar conversations” were being had at other Fox Sports regional networks. This news comes after Fox Sports discontinued the “Fox Sports Girls” promotional efforts at all of their regional networks. Although the Fox Sports Girls page is still live online, the Twitter and Facebook accounts are now error pages.
In addition, we’ve heard at least one other writer at a different midwest regional has been told his contract will not be renewed, again with an eye towards the wider dissolution of writers at the regional sports networks.
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UPDATE: At least three more Fox Sports regional writers have contacted Awful Announcing to tell of their being let go by the company.
One writer said, “Saw your article about FOX letting go of people. I was let go. It’s national. All the regional markets are getting slashed.”
Another Fox Sports Regional writer remarked, “Funny thing is, I escaped 6-7 layoff rounds at Gannett but not one round at Fox.”
Added a third, “Yes, FOX is laying off its regional writers. I am done June 30 as well. Sounds like FOX will post highlights/video clips and AP copy on its regional sites after the writers are gone. Not that surprising, really. FOX has made a large swing toward video and buzz content in the past year or two.”
A Fox Sports spokesperson tells Crain’s Cleveland that the network is shifting towards short-form video content for their regional sites.