Report: ESPN Preparing to Lay Off Hundreds

By some reports, Disney could pink slip up to 700 ESPN employees as the entertainment giant works to bring the sports network’s costs down more in line with its dwindling reach.

According to FrontOfficeSports, the layoffs will affect those employees behind the cameras most, but on-air and radio talent may also be targeted.

While most of the big-name talent appears to be safe from these layoffs, insiders say that some will be required to take a pay cut. Pay cuts may also hit some of ESPN’s executives and managers. Talent whose contracts are up soon will also not be renewed, the reports say.

Disney is hoping to cut “tens of millions” out of the ESPN operating budget, and the layoffs are only the first step, insiders say.

If the expected budget cuts do occur, it will mark the third time in just five years that ESPN instituted sweeping layoffs and a steep budget-cutting campaign.

In 2015, ESPN cut 350 employees, and in 2017 the company shed another 100 employees. Also in 2017, the company cut its budget by $80 million.

ESPN is not alone in losing customers. In general, cable is experiencing steep declines in customers as Americans cancel their cable and opt for streaming services.

In July, for instance, Verizon reported a loss of 81,000 pay-TV subscribers for its FiOS service which is on top of a 25 percent decline in revenue for its media unit.

Only months before that, AT&T noted that it had lost 1.4 million in the third quarter of 2019.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.