Fox Sports has laid off between 50 and 100 employees, according to a person familiar with the matter, part of a bid to realign the Fox Corp. unit after it shed its regional-sports networks as part of the company’s massive asset sale to Walt Disney Co. in 2019.
“As part of Fox Sports’ commitment to become a more efficient organization, we are taking steps to streamline our business,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, today we announced the restructuring of several positions.” Fox Sports employs approximately 1,000 staffers.
Fox previously owned a large passel of regional-sports operations that served local sports broadcasts to fans in the northeast, southwest and many other parts of the U.S. Those network were sold to Walt Disney as part of a transaction that also included many of Fox’s entertainment networks and production studios for $71.3 billion. Disney in turn sold 21 of those networks to a consortium of companies that were led by Sinclair Broadcast Group for around $10.6 billion. The YES Network, which broadcasts New York Yankees baseball, was sold to a group that included the team, Sinclair and Amazon. Disney, which also owns ESPN, was required to sell the regional outlets as a condition of its Fox asset purchase.
Executives had planned making staffing cuts earlier this year, the person familiar with the matter said, but the coronavirus pandemic took the company’s focus off that effort. Like other sports-media companies, Fox Sports has had to contend with months without live-sports broadcasts. Many of Fox Sports’ on-air anchors and analysts agreed in April to take a temporary pay cut, largely in tandem with compensation decreases among top executives at parent company Fox Corporation.