ESPN Gears Up For Another Huge Round Of Layoffs Before The Holidays

Jena Greene | Reporter

ESPN just can’t seem to stop the bleeding.

Less than a month after it announced a round of 40-60 terminations, the Disney-owned company is gearing up for what is said will be more monster layoffs, according to Sports Illustrated.

According to an SI source, ESPN is expected to get rid of around 100 employees by the holidays. Layoffs will smack a few different areas within the company, “including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers.”

The hardest hit area is expected to be SportsCenter, ESPN’s daily sports news program and the third longest-running cable TV series in history. On-air personalities will likely be included in the cuts.

Layoffs have become something of a routine at ESPN. In 2015, the company fired around 5 percent of their total staff (about 300 people). And last April, it fired an additional 100 employees.

The company has repeatedly attributed its shrinking staff to a change of times. In 2015, it said “A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions.”

However, it’s no secret that ESPN has been on a rocky road over the past year or so. The ratings are in something of a free fall; NFL players continue to protest the national anthem and some employees have been criticized for interjecting political preferences into sports commentary. Jemele Hill getting suspended likely caused the network’s popularity to spiral further. The network also recently issued some pretty bizarre new policies in an effort to reign in rogue employees — but it could stand to hurt the company even further.

So it’s a pretty safe bet to say that not a ton of people are buying that whole “changing times” argument.

Until ESPN takes a cold hard look at its viewers’ preferences rather than its own, the layoffs will likely continue. For better or for worse.

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