ESPN’s business model has been under attack for quite some time and it is no secret that the worldwide leader has been forced to lay off many, many people as a result. Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated has previously discussed ESPN’s eventual need to cut on-air talent, and the latest news gives a look into the “40-50” people who could be losing their jobs, per Deistch’s podcast with ESPN insider Jim Miller:
“The way that I’ve heard it—and I’ve kind of run the numbers on it, I think we’re looking at between 40 and 50 people. The numbers that some people reported about $80-90 million were probably ridiculous by a factor of three, but if you think of it in terms of 40-50, I think that’s a safe range based on what I’ve been talking to people about.
And look, there’s a lot of uncertainty about who it’s gonna be and why. Remember, this is not quantum physics, so it’s not an exact equation.”
The notion that ESPN has to cut “tens of millions of staff salary” in the coming months is a breathtaking one, if only because the majority of its talent isn’t bringing home seven-figure salaries. Still, Disney’s stock price continues to fall and, according to multiple reports, that is largely due to ESPN’s shortfall when it comes to performance against expectations.
In a piece from SI.com, Deitsch cites an ESPN spokesperson with the following statement:
“We have long been about serving fans and innovating to create the best content for them. 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 remains the biggest dog in the sports media world and that probably isn’t changing anytime soon. With that said, at some point the slide has to stop or the network could be in actual trouble for the first time. Until then, we are left to wonder just which of our favorite on-air personalities won’t be working in Bristol for much longer.