ESPN Gives Pink Slip to 100 Staffers

Cable sports giant ESPN has laid off about 100 staffers including many on-air positions. Notable talent losing their jobs today include:

  • NFL reporter Ed Werder
  • Former NY Giant QB Danny Kanell
  • Former Super Bowl winning QB Trent Dilfer
  • Legal analyst Roger Cossack
  • Sportscenter anchor Jaymee Sire
  • College basketball analyst Len Elmore
  • Sportscenter anchor Jay Crawford
  • Baseball writer Jayson Stark
  • College basketball writer Eamonn Brennan
  • NHL columnist Pierre Lebrun
  • College basketball reporter Dana O’Neil

The Hollywood Reporter cited sources reporting that Baseball Tonight‘s Karl Ravitch, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and long-time anchor Hannah Storm will have their roles on the network drastically reduced.

Based in Bristol, CT, ESPN has 4,000 employees and is owned by the Disney Corp. It operates ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and regional sports networks The Longhorn Network and SEC Network.

ESPN, one of the most profitable cable networks ever, has seen subscribers decline over the past several years due to cord-cutting and costs for sports programming like the NBA, MLB and NFL soar.

ESPN President John Skipper sent out the following letter to employees today:

ESPN has been actively engaged throughout its history in navigating changes in technology and fan behavior in order to continue to deliver quality, breakthrough content. Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward.

A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy – primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand – still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble.  Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands.  We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week.  A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.

These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company.  I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN.

Our objective in all we do is to best serve fans and their changing consumption habits while still maintaining an unparalleled and diverse talent roster that resonates with fans across all our platforms.  We will continue to foster creativity and investment in the products and resources necessary to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

Thank you as always for your continuing dedication to our work.