ESPN Layoffs: Disney to Cut Roughly

Sports cabler is cutting nearly 400 staffers

ESPN is laying off nearly 400 employees as it seeks to improve profitability, the company confirmed.

In a statement, 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.” A rep declined to comment further.

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News of the layoffs was reported Tuesday by sports blog Deadspin. The cuts are the network’s first sizable staff reductions since 2009, when ESPN laid off about 100.

In the U.S., ESPN has about 4,000 employees, with another 3,000 overseas. The company’s ESPN Plaza headquarters in Bristol, Conn., 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.

Walt Disney Co.’s ABC owns an 80% stake in ESPN, with Hearst holding the remaining 20% interest. The company does not disclose financials but its annual revenue is estimated to exceed $8 billion.

Disney has mandated layoffs in other parts of its empire, even as it has delivered strong financial results. Last month, Mouse House 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.

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