ESPN Plays the Field

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  • On Friday, ESPN, owned by Disney, notified approximately 20 on-air personalities that they will no longer be featured on any of the network's platforms. This includes notable figures such as former NBA coach and current game analyst, ex-NBA player and studio analyst. 
  • In order to meet its financial targets for 2023 and beyond, ESPN has made the decision to implement cuts, specifically targeting on-air employees with higher salaries. This strategic move allows ESPN to preserve more staff positions throughout the organization. Meanwhile, Disney, the majority owner of ESPN, has recently conducted its own rounds of layoffs. As streaming growth begins to taper off, Disney is keen on reducing costs to boost its free cash flow. 

Why it matters

ESPN's cuts are independent of any specific initiative and driven by their own metrics and priorities. As on-air staffers' contracts expire, ESPN does not plan to renew them, potentially resulting in around 20 more departures. Laid-off employees will have the option to seek work elsewhere, but they will need to renegotiate their contracts with ESPN. If employees find jobs with competitors, ESPN may offer lower severance compared to those who find work in different fields.


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