Our sincerest sympathies go out to the reported 400 ESPN employees who lost their jobs today. Despite record profits and building a new $125 million studio for "SportsCenter" just last week, the all-sports cable network this morning laid off ten percent of their U.S. staff in a cost-cutting move.
Please lay off Skip Bayless! Please lay off Skip Bayless! Please lay off Skip Bayless! Aw shoot, it appears that they did not lay off Skip Bayless. Most of the layoffs are apparently in the tech department.
Deadspin was first with the news of major layoffs at ESPN, and that report is being constantly updated with anonymous emails from the very people who were just laid off. The gist of these emails is that ESPN told the sacked employees that they were being laid off because parent company Disney directed ESPN to improve their profit margins. ESPN has been on kind of a spending spree lately with their new $125 million "SportsCenter" set and paying $825 million to broadcast the U.S. Open.
And here I thought that they just needed fewer staff because Tim Tebow is not on an NFL team these days.
ESPN is owned by Disney, and Disney's stock price just hit an all-time high while their profits rose 32 percent last quarter. So yes, Disney is compelling ESPN to lay off employees even though their profits are at a record level. Welcome to 21st Century America.
“We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs, an ESPN representative said in a statement. "While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive."
The laid-off employees apparently will get paid through the end of July, plus receive and additional two weeks severance for every year they've been with the company.
Hundreds laid off at ESPN