The job cuts, including television, radio and online personalities, will take effect immediately, the source said. ESPN also plans to cut what the source described as a limited number of additional off-air jobs.
On Wednesday morning, ESPN President John Skipper issued the following statement:
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.
ESPN is shifting its focus toward digital as it faces cable subscriber losses and increased pressure on costs. The network has spent billions of dollars in recent years on rights deals with major sports leagues and college conferences.
It was not immediately clear who was losing their jobs. But Ed Werder, a prominent NFL reporter, said on Twitter that he was among those laid off. “I have no plans to retire,” he said.
After 17 years reporting on #NFL, I’ve been informed that I’m being laid off by ESPN effective immediately. I have no plans to retire
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 26, 2017
A statement from ESPN officials reiterated their overall strategic goal:
Our goal continues to be to maximize our unparalleled scale in every medium with storytelling that stands out and makes a difference. We are well-equipped to thrive going forward by embracing these themes.
ESPN employs about 8,000 people around the world.