Last month, a report began to circulate about another potential round of layoffs at ESPN. That report indicated that somewhere between 300 and 700 people could lose their jobs, and most of the focus would be on those behind the camera (unlike the 2017 layoffs, which almost exclusively hit on-air talent).
On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch reported that the layoffs could begin as early as this Thursday, and while behind the scenes folks would be the primary casualties, on-air talent with expiring contracts could also find themselves in dire straits.
Remote production is expected to be hit significantly while some of the cost savings will come from talent contracts not being renewed.
It sucks that hundreds of people will be losing their jobs, and it’s just another effect of the pandemic and the postponement of live sports last spring. ESPN has had its talent calling many games from studios and their homes over the last few months, and one could assume that cuts to production staff could indicate that this practice is here to stay once the pandemic begins to slow down.
As for the affected on-air talent, it’s not fair to speculate who won’t be returning based on whether or not people like them or their opinions on various issues. If people announce their impending departures on social media, we’ll report the news as we learn it.