Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated.
We appreciate their contributions, and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.
The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.
We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.
It sounds like on-air personalities won’t be included, but some writers and editors might be, according to SI.com’s Richard Deitsch.
Further, he also reports that ESPN is timing the layoff so those employees can get an additional year of stock vesting options:
Part of the reason ESPN conducted the moves this week, two sources told SI earlier this month, is to get employees an additional year in the stock vesting program. The timing will not do ESPN any favors publicly with Christmas coming in less than a month.
In the previous round of layoffs, which included some big-name on-air personalities, ESPN handed our generous (or onerous) severance agreements that pay some folks the full remainder of their contract but restrict them from working elsewhere.
So, on one hand, you have ESPN doing right by employees it’s forced to let go, but on the other you have restrictive non-competes that aim to keep those folks away from competition. That likely won’t be the case with lower level staffers in production, however.
This is all mostly a result of cord-cutting and ESPN losing guaranteed fees from cable packages. They’ve overspent the money they thought was due to them and now they are being forced to cut the fat or, in some cases, the meat, too.
Bad business to be in. Even BuzzFeed is cutting staff.