ESPN president John Skipper sent out a memo to employees Wednesday morning alerting them that 100 employees will be laid off. Around half of those receiving pink slips are well known, according to James Miller, author of the ESPN behind-the-scenes book “These Guys Have All the Fun.”
The layoffs were expected for months, but according to Miller, some are still in shock as they are notified they are among the ones being let go.
Ed Werder, a prominent on-camera NFL reporter, shared on Twitter that he was fired.
ESPN Radio host Danny Kanell soon joined the grim tally. Fellow former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer wasn’t far behind.
Longtime respected baseball journalist Jayson Stark also announced he was done at the network.
Former “First Take” host Jay Crawford is leaving, along with fellow “SportsCenter” anchors Jaymee Sire, Jade McCarthy, Darren Haynes and Chris Hassel, college basketball analyst Len Elmore, golf voice Dottie Pepper and ESPN Radio host Robin Lundberg. In addition, anchor Hannah Storm, “Baseball Tonight” host Karl Ravech and ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo (who is Kanell’s co-host) will have their roles “significantly reduced,” a source told The Hollywood Reporter.
Other journalists who revealed they have been let go include: columnists Johnette Howard and Jane McManus; baseball reporters Jim Bowden, Doug Padilla and Mark Saxon; basketball reporters Ethan Strauss, Calvin Watkins and Justin Verrier; hockey reporters Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside and Joe McDonald; college reporters Dana O’Neil, Brett McMurphy, Eamonn Brennan, Chantel Jennings, Jeremy Crabtree, Max Olson, C.L. Brown, Austin Ward and Jesse Temple; and soccer reporter Mike L. Goodman.
“This could be a bloodbath,” a source told the Sporting News earlier this week, and it appears that prediction has come true.
In a press release titled “ESPN’s content evolution strategy,” the company appeared to acknowledge how cord-cutting and technological shifts have undermined the cable-TV-first business model. “Given how fans’ habits are changing, our focus continues to be providing high-quality, distinctive content at any minute of the day on any screen,” the release said.
ESPN also released Skipper’s “message to employees.”
“These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company,” the statement read in part. “I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN.”