What has long been suspected for weeks became a reality on Wednesday morning. ESPN President John Skipper announced yet another round of layoffs to hit the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports.
It’s been a very tough year for ESPN in this regard. Wednesday’s announcement is the second major round of layoffs to hit ESPN in 2017. Back in April, the network parted ways with dozens of employees, including many high-profile on-air personalities like Jayson Stark, Ed Werder, John Clayton, Jaymee Sire, Jay Crawford, Danny Kanell and more.
In his memo to employees published on ESPN’s public relations website, Skipper said that this round of layoffs are largely behind-the-scenes work with the majority in “studio production, digital content, and technology.” ESPN is reportedly going to save $80 million with this round of layoffs.
Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated.
We appreciate their contributions, and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.
The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.
We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.
This round of layoffs is reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when ESPN laid off up to 300 employees that were mostly working behind-the-scenes.
It’s no secret that it’s a challenging time in media and ESPN is far from the only major sports media company dealing with layoffs. They’ve happened everywhere – television, print, or digital, national or local, and anywhere in between. Just in the last year we’ve seen layoffs hit places like Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports Chicago, and Bleacher Report.
However, given ESPN’s place at the top of the industry, the news of layoffs affecting Bristol is certainly going to have a major impact. While this latest round may not have the nationwide attention that April’s events did simply because there aren’t household television names involved, it doesn’t mean the impact is lessened. Anytime there are layoffs and someone loses a job, it’s a painful experience for all involved.
These are certainly challenging times for ESPN and the entire sports media world. With Disney extending the contract of John Skipper through 2021, ESPN’s parent company clearly believes he’s the person to lead the company through these uncertain and turbulent times.
Given everything that ESPN has endured this year from multiple rounds of layoffs to clashing with the President of the United States, Skipper will know his work in moving ESPN forward is just beginning.