ESPN announces cost-cutting measures
ESPN has begun employee layoffs, targeting lower-tier roles. The network plans to continue the process through Wednesday, with further cuts expected as part of a restructuring plan. On-air personalities are reportedly safe from dismissal.
ESPN will cut costs for high-earning employees, particularly those making between $2mln and $5mln yearly, based on audience research. Valuable contributors like Marcus Spears will still be rewarded. ESPN may replace $2mln earners with those making $400,000 or $500,000.
Also, according to insider sources, lead college football commentator Chris Fowler will be remaining with the network despite his unsuccessful bid for a substantial salary increase.
Sources suggest that ESPN may closely examine the pregame show of "Monday Night Football," which features high-profile on-air personalities like Suzy Kolber and Steve Young, both of whom earn seven-figure salaries.
ESPN's chairman, Jimmy Pitaro, has encouraged department heads to review all aspects of their divisions. While top on-air personalities such as Stephen A. Smith, Scott Van Pelt, and Joe Buck are safe.
ESPN employee layoffs are part of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s plan to reduce the company's workforce by 7,000. ESPN has undergone several rounds of layoffs in the past decade, including 300 and 250 in 2015 and 2017, respectively, under former ESPN President John Skipper.
When it comes to ESPN's leadership hierarchy, Chairman Pitaro holds the top spot, followed by President of Content Burke Magnus in a clear second position.
Despite the ongoing layoffs, ESPN is still making deals, such as offering Marcus Spears a new contract worth close to $2mln per year for four years. ESPN also plans to make a similar offer to free agent-to-be, Mina Kimes.
Last week, Pat McAfee, the current ESPN College GameDay commentator, had a meeting with Iger to explore new possibilities. McAfee is on the lookout for his next venture and is even contemplating the termination of his four-year, $120mln contract with FanDuel.
ESPN prioritizes quality sports content and is adapting to the industry by implementing strategic measures, including recent layoffs, to emerge as a more agile and stronger network. Broadcasting NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and college football.