Layoffs are never a pleasant time for any company, and ESPN, a household cable channel name in the United States, just started another round today, which had been long-anticipated.
Read more for the official note from network president John Skipper, and some of the names that are starting to trickle out.
Network President, John Skipper, writes:
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.
According to The Washington Post (which is also keeping a running list as more names filter out through the day), here are some of the names that are starting to filter out as having been let go:
Ed Werder, longtime NFL reporter
Longtime MLB reporter Jayson Stark
Trent Dilfer, NFL analyst
Danny Kanell, who has been with the network as a college football analyst since 2010 and co-hosted a radio show with Ryen Russillo since 2015
Brett McMurphy, college football news reporter
Jean-Jacques Taylor, covered All Things Dallas
Former Nationals general manager Jim Bowden
John Buccigross, a longtime SportsCenter host may be in limbo
“Baseball Tonight” host and MLB play-by-play announcer Karl Ravech, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and network veteran Hannah Storm will see their roles “significantly reduced.”
NHL Columnists, Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside have been let go.
Writer Joe McDonald
Longtime college basketball writer Dana O’Neil
College basketball writer Eamonn Brennan
Austin Ward, Jesse Temple and Brian Bennett, who all covered the Big Ten
Jeremy Crabtree and Derek Tyson, who covered recruiting
ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald
Paul Kuharsky, who covered the Tennessee Titans for ESPN.com
ESPN Insider soccer writer Mike L. Goodman
Baseball writer Mark Saxon
This is the second round of layoffs at ESPN in less than two years. The network employs approximately 8,000 total. Over the past five years, ESPN has seen a huge subscriber decrease, while having to contend with the increase in the amount it pays the various leagues and sports associations to televise their events.
All the best to those involved and here’s hoping they land on their feet soon.