ESPN is cutting ties with a portion of its staff, but won’t say just how many people are going to be let go. The cuts are the network’s first sizable staff reductions since 2009, when ESPN laid off about 100.
A tipster told Deadspin that it would be “roughly 10%” or about “400 staffers” relieved of their services. ESPN countered by saying that that number is a little high, but it does appear to be in the hundreds. In a statement released by the sports network, ESPN said, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.”
Who does ESPN really compete with these days?
In the U.S., ESPN has about 4,000 employees, with another 3,000 overseas. The company’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, includes nearly 1 million square feet of office and studio space in 16 buildings on 123 acres, plus an additional 400,000 square feet rented nearby for any outdoor events.
Walt Disney Company’s ABC owns an approximate 80% stake in ESPN, with Hearst holding the remaining 20% interest. While the company does not disclose financials, but its annual revenue is estimated to exceed $8 billion. Deadspin says that the technology group is getting hit pretty hard with at least 40 layoffs impacting that sector. Disney has mandated layoffs in other parts of its empire, even as it has delivered strong financial results.
Last month, the House of Mouse cut 300 jobs at LucasArts, LucasFilm and across Walt Disney Studios, which came after Disney’s interactive group laid off more than 100 staffers last fall.