Citing multiple sources, The Big Lead, a sports-news site, reported Monday the company could be preparing to lay off as many as “200 to 300″ staffers. ESPN, long a dominant force in television owing to its live-sports broadcasts, is facing many of the same challenges as properties owned by Viacom, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, CBS and Comcast. The rights for its programming are costly, and growing more so. Meantime, TV audiences are migrating to new venues like mobile tablets and streaming video to gain access to their favorite programs.
“ESPN has historically embraced evolving technology to smartly navigate our business,” the company said in a statement. ” Any organizational changes will be announced directly to our employees if and when appropriate.”
ESPN’s steps on its path to the future have been on full display in recent months. The company has severed ties with well-known announcers like Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann as it seeks to keep costs trimmed. Meantime, it has been seeking new opportunities to work more closely with sister network ABC, hoping that the broader ratings of a broadcast network might benefit everything from its basketball coverage to its annual ESPY Awards.