FTVLive has been telling you that Disney owned ESPN is about to swing the ax and whacked a number of on air people.
Word comes that the mass layoffs are less than a month away.
As more Americans cut the cable cord, ESPN has seen its subscriber numbers drop steadily, forcing Disney to demand cost-cutting from the “worldwide leader in sports.”
Yahoo Finance says the cuts are expected to start on May 1st.
ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them “talent,” a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts—as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual.
The cuts will mostly be done by May 9, when Disney announces its quarterly earnings, but could extend until May 16, when ESPN presents its annual Upfronts in Manhattan.
In a statement, an ESPN spokesperson said the approaching cuts are about innovating to suit the needs of consumers: “Today’s fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent. We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports.”
ESPN’s last major layoff round was in 2015, when it cut around 300 employees—a much larger number than is coming in May, but this time it’s viewer-facing, recognizable names. Before that, ESPN cut around 300 people in 2013, so we see a recent pattern of big layoffs every two years.