At ESPN, cord-cutting leads to another sort of cutting.

It looks like we may be saying bye-bye to some familiar faces.

As more Americans cut the cable cord, ESPN has seen its subscriber numbers drop steadily, forcing Disney to demand cost-cutting from the “worldwide leader in sports.” It’s been widely reported since March that the next big round of ESPN layoffs will hit on-air talent, but now we know more on the timing: the cuts will begin on May 1, sources at ESPN tell Yahoo Finance.

ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them “talent,” a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts—as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual.

The cuts will mostly be done by May 9, when Disney announces its quarterly earnings, but could extend until May 16, when ESPN presents its annual Upfronts in Manhattan.

As is typical, the spin for this isn’t that Mickey needs to save a few bucks.

In a statement, an ESPN spokesperson said the approaching cuts are about innovating to suit the needs of consumers: “Today’s fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent. We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports.”

If you’re trying to be innovative, WWL, you know what’s really innovative?  Silence.  Cost-effective, too.

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UPDATE:  More like 100 are being let go.

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54 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

54 responses to “At ESPN, cord-cutting leads to another sort of cutting.

  1. Biggen

    If they don’t appear on the set of Gameday (or at least contribute a package to the Gameday program) I wouldn’t know who they were anyway…

    Hell, if it wasn’t for college football in general, I would have cut the cord and gotten rid of 99% of the channels I have now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 3rdandGrantham

      My biggest issue with ESPN is how political they’ve become, as they have shifted far, far left. MSESPN has been thrown around and it’s accurate. Problem with that is they are alienating a huge swath of their base, including the south, Midwest, etc.

      Hell, even ESPN employees like Bob Ley have come out and said that those with moderate to conservative viewpoints inside the organization are afraid to voice any opinions, as it’s expected that you tow the liberal line or else.

      Like

      • That is part of it, not it’s more that the internet, millennials, and cord cutting hit them at the same time that they had ridiculously overbid for the right’s fees either leagues.

        Like

  2. Skeeter

    ESPN has done to live sports what MTV did to music, bring it to a wider audience and then kill it off with talking. Wish there was a sports channel called STFU that just showed the game with the audio being the stadium announcer and on-field action.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Russ

      +100
      I used to watch Sportscenter for, you know, sports highlights. But now it’s a variety show with the “talent” seemingly auditioning for their own show. I like sportscasters/sports reporters that have fun with what they are reporting (they’re games, after all), but they jumped the shark years ago.

      Like

      • DoubleDawg1318

        They shifted to talking because mobile made the old SportsCenter obsolete. I would never think of watching an hour of tv just to see 1 minute of my team’s highlights from yesterday when I have apps that give me the same info whenever I want. They had to shift to talk shows because that’s what people will tune in for.

        Like

    • STFU Sports Channel? YES SIGN ME UP.

      Like

      • Of course, I could always just rename my mute button I guess.

        Like

        • Got Cowdog

          My mute button is already a STFU button. I roll my eyes and say “STFU for crying out loud.” Then I mash the STFU button. I like my STFU button because not only is it effective on sports broadcasters,it is also handy for silencing political talking heads, angry protesters of any demographic, Chuck Norris (Yeah I went there), TV chef’s who use copper pots, and the guy that wants to sell me a supplement so Mrs. Cowdog can have better sex.

          Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Mlb extra innings package has that with the “ballpark” audio feed. It’s fantastic and is how I watch the majority of games.

      Like

  3. Normaltown Mike

    Let’s hope they git rid of the production crew and on-air talent for those saccharine personal interest/tear-jerk stories they never seem to run out of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mwo

      Amen to stopping the human interest stories. Then they can quit shoving political opinion down everyone’s throats. I had been watching them less and less and then when they named Caitlyn Jenner their female athlete of the year over that young lady who played college basketball while fighting cancer that did it for me. The only time I watch the WWL is at a bar.

      Like

  4. 3rdandGrantham

    Cowherd spoke previously on this…as most know he left ESPN for FOX a little over a year ago. He said he saw the writing on the wall several years ago when ESPN signed that massive NBA contract that simply wasn’t sustsinable. And while seemingly everyone was celebrating, he quietly knew ESPN was in big trouble long term and it was time to get out.

    Like

    • ASEF

      And now he gets lower ratings than Rugrats reruns.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Nah, that’s only on the tv side….overall listenership, from what I understand, is already back to his ESPN levels, and according to Talk Radio he’s the #1 listened to sports show in the country.

        Liked by 1 person

    • So Cowherd is now spinning it like it was HIS choice to get out and not ESPN canning him for making inflammatory remarks?

      Liked by 1 person

      • 3rdandGrantham

        He was already out the door…chose to leave to fox officually/publicly…they let him stay on for a final two weeks. Only during his last few days did he get in trouble, and they decided to go ahead with his resignation.

        Espn offered him something like 5 mil per but wouldn’t let him move to LA or have ownership rights of podcasts etc, so he said see you later.

        Like

  5. SEB Dawg

    My 18yr old son grew up watching ESPN every morning before going to school. He has been complaining for the last couple of years that they don’t show highlights anymore. He now pulls up what he wants to see on his phone and ignores the TV.

    Like

    • PTCDAWG

      I bet most of the sports stuff on the phone he watches is a ESPN content too.

      Like

    • Yeah, that’s basically their biggest problem: their flagship, SportsCenter, isn’t relevant anymore when you can just get highlights on demand.

      Plus, they bid against themselves on rights fees bc they are idiots.

      Like

  6. Brandon

    (Fingers Crossed) Please be Beth Mowins, please be Beth Mowins, please be Beth Mowins….

    Like

    • HVL Dawg

      Oh hell yes. I hate to be a misogynist, but her voice makes a game unwatchable.

      Like

      • Brandon

        Its not even just her voice… it’s her general knowledge of football that is unbearable. When my wife can point out multiple mistakes she made during a game… its a sad story.

        Like

      • HVL Dawg

        Well now that my twitter feed is full of ESPN people announcing they’ve been let go, I’m sorry I commented.

        Like

    • The Georgia Way

      Rest assured, we are already in front of this.

      As Beth has already established herself as the ‘Voice of Georgia Football’ on a national level and truly enjoys working the 12noon/11:00am timeslot, we have made preliminary contact with her agent about our new pay-per-minute national webcasts on georgiadogs.com.

      We recognize how important mobile technology can be for those stuck in traffic, searching for parking, waiting at an entry gate, a restroom queue, or a concession line. We also recognize there are fans who would like to see the replays we are no longer able to show on our scoreboard.

      We believe this service can be a huge financial success for The Georgia Way and provides a strong contingency for both Beth and her agent in the event that ESPN is no longer able to renew her contract. It is a win/win in the truest sense.

      And this is another Bulldog Point of Pride!

      #COMMITTOTHEG

      Liked by 1 person

    • DoubleDawg1318

      I came here to say the same thing. Please please let her go.

      Like

  7. Will (The Other One)

    Is there any chance they stop paying Finebaum?

    Like

    • Normaltown Mike

      I think Paul would still do the show so they’ll need to take more drastic measures to get rid of him

      Like

  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    “journalism brands” wahhaaahaaaaa!!! 😀

    Like

  9. Captain Obvious

    can we get david Pollack on that hit list?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. W Cobb Dawg

    Some of the college and fox networks do little more than rebroadcast football games throughout the season. Not much money wasted on talking heads. Catching up on games I missed is the thing I enjoy most about sports broadcasting. The world is already inundated with talking heads and opinions. Give me more games to watch.

    And I’m looking at you too sec. Dump Finebaum and start rebroadcasting games every afternoon – particularly football games.

    Like

    • Got Cowdog

      Speaking of rebroadcast games, I was stuck in a hotel the past couple of days, they were replaying the NC game with Clemson And Bama. We have a ways to go, y’all.

      Like

  11. Our old friend, David Ching, is among the departed as well as Brett McMurphy and Danny Kanell.

    Like

    • DawgPhan

      bummer for anyone to get laid off, but to have to do it so publicly would be rough.

      Like

      • CB

        Yeah, but those severance packages will ease the pain.

        Like

        • I still have the Danny Kanell tweet from 2014 memorialized when he said that Louisville would be the best team in the SEC East after they played what ended up being a good, but not great, FSU team close in mid-October that year. Ya know – that same Louisville team that got their asses whipped in the bowl game by a team that wasn’t even good enough to win the SEC East.

          Liked by 1 person

    • DoubleDawg1318

      Danny Kanell is definitely a win by subtraction. He’s a terrible analyst.

      Like

  12. I’m not happy folks lost their job but by choosing to work for them they themselves contributed to what ESPN has become. Fair of not, they supported their political agendas and attempts at building a monopoly, therefore, supported their own eventual demise.

    Like

  13. And, honestly, all the sob stories on Twitter and such sicken me. If you did a good job you have a lot more opportunities than the thousands of jobless Americans who don’t have thousands of followers supporting them and going out of their way to help you. To read Twitter today is like reading a freaking obituary except no one universally loved died, no one universally loved was just diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    These people are going on like a lot of Americans haven’t been struggling with this for a long time and many more who live in constant fear of it happening. Where are their sob stories for the coaches losing their jobs they reported on? Where is their call for support when Joe Schmoe losses his job? Honestly, this BS makes me have the opposite of pity.

    Like

    • Man, if that’s what you say to the faces of friends and colleagues, you must be a blast at parties.

      Like

      • I don’t go to parties to talk about work but if someone takes offense to being told welcome to the real world or people have it a lot worse, I won’t be at their party anyway. Life can be tough. Even more so when you don’t have the support of thousands.

        Like

  14. Dolly Llama

    On the “silence” tip, I always thought that after Larry Munson died that’s what they should have done for the first game after his passing: Silence. Not a damn word. Just crowd noise and commercials — preferably giving all the show sponsors a chance to pay tribute to Larry.

    I thought of writing in to suggest it when it was clear Larry was near the end, but I then got to thinking it was sort of morbid. They wouldn’t have done it anyway.

    Like

  15. Cut out cable two years ago and have not missed it. However, I spend far too much time on the internet.

    Like