Wednesday, the worldwide leader in sports, said they would be letting go over 100 of their staff. In the hours following tweets began to roll out with news of those affected.
BREAKING: sad to report ESPN will cut 100+ people today– far more than initially reported. full details: https://t.co/qeES9ADbIF pic.twitter.com/HB7kKO3BfH — Daniel Roberts (@readDanwrite) April 26, 2017
This isn’t the first time ESPN has pushed for large-scale cuts, as they laid off hundreds in 13′ and 15′. However, it is a stark reminder as to where ESPN is in 2017. <br
"ESPN use to be about sports." Is the new "MTV use to have music videos." — Colt Barber (@Colt_Barber) April 26, 2017
In recent years, ESPN has been struggling with a decrease in viewership across the board. Moreover, they’ve been making questionable creative decisions with their personnel.
Memo from ESPN executives
On Wednesday, ESPN informed Yahoo it would be making cuts to its staff. There wasn’t any definitive list of who was let go; most people found out when the person put it out there on Twitter themselves. Among those that were let go was Ed Werder, Trent Dilfer, Jay Crawford. Their entire hockey department is in shreds and has severely cut down their number of MLB analysts.
After 14 wonderful years my time at espn is over. From Cold Pizza to First Take to SC I made more friends than I can name. Forever grateful! pic.twitter.com/WNkUGuXeVl — Jay Crawford (@jaycrawfordespn) April 26, 2017
Coupled with the firing of notable NBA reporters Ethan Strauss, Calvin Watkins, and Justin Verrier. The companies most recent moves have been sporadic, given the money they continue to flood into SportsCenter. These latest cuts come less than a year after the companies’ new NBA broadcasting contract came into effect.
No longer at ESPN. Thank you to everyone who read and supported me throughout my 9 years there. Means more than you can know. — Justin Verrier (@JustinVerrier) April 26, 2017
It is strange that ESPN chose to make cuts now while both Hockey and Basketball are early in the playoffs. Stranger still, given how much money they’ve committed to revamping SportsCenter even though it’s no longer filling in chief purpose. The internet and social media sites like Instagram and Twitter have become quicker and more efficient at doing what ESPN had a monopoly on for two decades. ESPN’s own website makes the need for SportsCenter obsolete and thus comes their dilemma.
ESPN intends to change the direction of their audience and appeal to a younger demographic. They have made efforts to do so with ‘The 6‘ and the growth of shows like ‘First Take.’ However, they have done this while sticking with televised content. They have taken a dip into the world of podcasting with brands like ‘NBA Lockdown,’ ‘The Bill Barnwell Show,’ and most importantly, ‘TrueHoop.’ Although on Friday it was announced that ‘TrueHoop’ founder Henry Abbott would be among those let go. Coupled with veteran reporter Marc Stein and NBA Draft specialist Chad Ford the network has devastated their NBA coverage team.