Bloodbath at ESPN as the Struggling Network Lays Off Employees — Including Many Familiar On-Air Personalities

Apr 26, 2017  •  Post A Comment

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.”


  1. Now people at ESPN understand what many of their viewers have been going through the last 8 years as our jobs have been cut by international competition and government regulations.

    • More like because corporations need to show increased bottom line results. International competition and government regulations don’t have anything to do with it in many cases. Often they are strategic decisions. You can say ESPN’s situation is self inflicted by paying exhorbatant rights fees, and became more of a holier than thou voice than sports reporting. Viewers finally got fed up. They have limited competition (FS1 is a joke).

  2. No one seems to understand the “Law of Economics,” especially when race is involved. If someone does not produce (ratings), they too shall soon disappear. What happened to ESPN is that they too became too “left of center” in their “analysis” and combined with all of the “cord cutting” (people who refuse to pay nearly $200.00 per month for basic cable), the network no longer has the financial stability in order to support high-priced talent. The same as all other industries.

    I feel badly for those who have lost their jobs, but hey, there is always local market television and “McDonald’s” if things do not work out in Broadcasting….

  3. espn is notorious for paying peanuts, even to on-air talent. Most local market (top 20 markets) sports directors make more than the average espn on-air talent. And NO ONE enjoys living in Bristol. This is a PR move by the network, no substantial cost cutting. Compared to $20 billion in licensing. Bob Iger should be ashamed.

  4. From what I have been reading this is more about avoiding the parent company coming in and calling the shots. The ESPN bosses are getting rid of some folks to show Disney that they are serious about making changes. No real money is being saved by these layoffs. They could easily save millions more by not paying for a few, or maybe even just a couple of, lower tier college bowl games.

  5. I never watch ESPN. However, every cable package I’ve had…every satellite service I have had, came bundled with ESPN(s). No offense to the channel, but if I had the choice, I would never have it in my TV line-up. From the looks of things, I am not the only one who feels this way if ESPN is shedding that many subscribers.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)