Sources inside and outside of ESPN say that the network is bracing for major cost cuts in 2020, including the potential layoffs of hundreds of employees.
ESPN currently has about 4,000 employees in Bristol, CT and another 2,500 employees in other offices across the United States and the world.
This news won’t come as any surprise to those who have been following the media business and/or Disney. NBC Universal layoffs impacted up to 10 percent of their 35,000 employees, including many at NBC Sports. CBS News was hit with layoffs in May. Fox Sports laid off 50-100 staffers in July. We could go on and on naming media organizations, both in and out of sports, who have had to slash their budgets lately.
At Disney, the parent company of ESPN, the pandemic has impacted many business operations, such as theme parks, cruises, movies and live sports. Though most sports leagues have been salvaged, there was some lost revenue in college football and other sports. As a result, Disney announced last week that it is laying off 28,000 employees.
ESPN has also been slowly transitioning away from a business model that primarily focuses on cable TV, where they have been steadily losing subscribers since 2015, to the OTT streaming future. No one yet knows how long it will take to evolve, but ESPN acknowledged the transition on Disney’s most recent earnings call.
An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment for this story.