ESPN has been in the news quite a bit lately, with the saga surrounding Jemele Hill and her suspension from the network almost perfectly coinciding with the weirdness of a Barstool-motivated show being put on, then taken off, the air in short succession. Now, though, even more ominous news is on the horizon according to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News.
The report indicates that ESPN is set for “another possible round of layoffs late this year” and the number could be anywhere between 40 and 60 with folks on the air and off the air affected by the changes. This is not necessarily a shock in that many predicted more layoffs in the future when ESPN cut dozens of employees the last time around but it remains a brutal reality.
In addition, McCarthy quoted sources that certainly brought an unfortunate tone.
“This time it won’t matter if you’re ‘liked’ or not. It’s not going to be pretty,” one source warned.
Another source expects the flagship “SportsCenter” franchise to lose people in front of and behind the camera. “I see (ESPN) going down a path where they have less staff — and hire more production companies to provide programs and fill air time.”
ESPN isn’t immune to the same cuts plaguing the sports media industry but, at the same time, the network is under a microscope that no other entity can match. It will be interesting to see if the company can avoid more layoffs but that seems unlikely based on this reporting.