ESPN was in the process of laying off employees Wednesday, with a number of on-air personalities among the casualties. The layoff of about 100 employees was being “live tweeted” as it happened, with James Andrew Miller, author of “These Guys Have All the Fun,” a behind-the-scenes book on ESPN, among those tracking the carnage on Twitter.
As the grim phone calls continued to be made during the day, on-air personalities Ed Werder, Danny Kanell, Trent Dilfer and Jayson Stark were among those announcing on Twitter that they had been given the ax.
“Other journalists who revealed they have been let go include: columnists Johnette Howard and Jane McManus; baseball reporters Jim Bowden, Doug Padilla and Mark Saxon; hockey writers Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside and Joe McDonald; college reporters Dana O’Neil, Brett McMurphy, Eamonn Brennan, Jeremy Crabtree, Max Olson, C.L. Brown, Austin Ward and Jesse Temple; and soccer reporter Mike L. Goodman,” The New York Post reports.
Miller tweeted early Wednesday that ESPN President John Skipper had sent a memo to all ESPN employees about the layoffs, with Miller noting that “around 50 names you will recognize; another 50 you may not.”
The New York Times notes: “The network has lost more than 10 million subscribers over the past several years. At the same time, the cost of broadcasting major sports has continued to rise. ESPN committed to a 10-year, $15.2 billion deal with the N.F.L. in 2011; a nine-year, $12 billion deal with the N.B.A.; and a $7.3 billion deal for the college football playoffs, among many others.”
The Times report quotes Miller saying: “ESPN was wrapped in Teflon for many years, but big payouts for rights fees plus significant losses in their subscriber base were like punches to the gut and head, and now the company is trying to make sure they are strong enough to fight in the future.”