Panic of Biblical Proportions

On March 7th, FTVLive told you that massive layoffs are coming to ESPN. 

How is the staff handling the news that many of them may soon be out of a job?

They have remained calm and have carried on like nothing is happening.

Ha! Actually, they are losing their shit. 

The Sporting News writes that the fear and uncertainty has set off a "panic of biblical proportions" among ESPN on-air talent, a source told Sporting News.

During the last round of layoffs in 2015, ESPN pink-slipped more than 300 production staffers. They were the behind-the-scenes directors, producers and back-office personnel who never appeared on-air.

Things will be a lot different this time. It won't be Suzy in accounting losing her job.

The coming bloodbath will be focused around high-salaried on-air personalities. That means you can say goodbye to some of your favorite anchors, reporters and analysts. No wonder the talent is on edge in Bristol.

"Everybody's calling their agent. Nobody is safe," said one source.

With ESPN falling to 88 million subscribers from 100 million over the past five years, the Disney-owned network is looking to slash tens of million in costs. But the layoffs are about more than boosting the bottom line, say sources.

The cuts are expected to take place over the next 4 months. 

ESPN employs about a 1,000 announcers, commentators, reporters and analysts for TV, radio and digital.

Different "talent" are reacting different ways to the looming layoffs.

The ex-athletes-turned analysts are more mentally prepared, said sources. At some point in their careers, the Turk came knocking at their door and told them to hand in their playbooks.

Anchors and commentators, on the other hand, are more used to job security and annual raises. They're burning up the phone lines to their agents in New York and Los Angeles.

"The analysts are responding very differently than the non-athletes," one source said. "Ex-jocks are used to coming and going. The non-athletes are more panicked."

ESPN declined to comment except to say: “Today's fans consume content in many different ways and we continuously look at the content we create and how we present it. Inevitably that informs how we utilize our talent. ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports and present the highest quality sports coverage in the business.”