“ESPN has historically embraced evolving technology to smartly navigate our business. Any organizational changes will be announced directly to our employees if and when appropriate,” the network told McIntyre in a statement.
In July, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that Disney is ordering ESPN to trim $100 million from its budget next year and $250 million from its budget in 2017. Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN has lost 3.2 million subscribers in more than a year and that ESPN’s reach in U.S. households has fallen 7.2 percent since 2011.
A number of highly paid personalities — Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd and Keith Olbermann among them — have departed the network this year. ESPN did not renew Simmons’s contract, and renewal talks between the network and Olbermann reportedly broke down. The network made a competitive offer to Cowherd, but he chose to move to Fox Sports.
Plus, ESPN’s NBA costs will balloon from $485 million per year to to $1.47 billion annually starting in 2016-17, the first year of the network’s new contract with the professional basketball league.
The last layoffs to hit ESPN came in 2009 and 2013, with the most recent round reportedly affecting somewhere between 300 and 400 employees.