It’s a rough day for the folks up in Bristol. According to The Sporting News, ESPN is laying off close to 100 employees today, including on-air and online reporters, anchors, reporters, analysts, and production staffers. While the names of those laid off won’t be made public (and rightly so), several are taking to social media to share the news, including longtime college basketball reporter Dana O’Neil:
Add me to the list. Just got the 'call.' I've been informed my contract will not be renewed at ESPN.
— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) April 26, 2017
And veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder:
After 17 years reporting on #NFL, I've been informed that I'm being laid off by ESPN effective immediately. I have no plans to retire
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 26, 2017
Also, NFL writer Paul Kuharksky, who Matt clashed with on the Midday 180 a few weeks back:
Knew cuts were coming. Sad to say nine great years at ESPN end for me in July. Please stay tuned to @Midday180.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) April 24, 2017
The Hollywood Reporter is also reporting that ESPN personalities Ryen Russillo, Hannah Storm, and Baseball Tonight‘s Karl Ravitch’s roles will be “significantly reduced.” ESPN president John Skipper confirmed the layoffs this morning in a statement, essentially saying that the Worldwide Leader was forced to make cuts to keep up with the changing landscape of sports media (I read that as more “hot takes,” less actual reporting):
A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy — primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand — still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent–anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play–necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.
While the writing’s been on the wall with ESPN for a while, it’s never fun to see people lose their jobs. Best of luck to those affected.
UPDATE: Add veteran college football reporter Brett McMurphy to the list…
After 5 great years, Iâ€™ve been laid off by ESPN. It was a tremendous opportunity & I enjoyed working w/a lot of really, really good people
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 26, 2017
And college hoops reporter Eamonn Brennan:
Bad news morning. I loved every bit of my eight years at ESPN and will miss it, and so many friends and colleagues there, profoundly.
— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) April 26, 2017
And former Courier-Journal sportswriter C.L. Brown:
Landed in Madrid. Turned on phone 1st time all vacation. Got texts asking if job was safe. Found out it was not. Enjoyed my 4 years, ESPN.
— C.L. Brown (@clbrownespn) April 26, 2017
Wow. No one is safe in Bristol today.