ESPN Lays Off Hundreds of Employees as Disney Shifts Focus

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The Walt Disney Company recently announced  a major restructuring of its media division — now headed by Kareem Daniel — with a new priority on its Disney+ streaming platform.

Related: What Can Fans Expect From Disney’s Q4 Earnings Call?

Grand Opening of The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Credit: Disney

In the midst of this new focus, it seems that ESPN is taking a major hit. CNBC Sports shared details of a memo from ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro that was sent to ESPN employees announcing hundreds of new layoffs:

“As you know, we value transparency in our internal dialogue, and that means in both good and challenging times,” Pitaro wrote in the memo. “After much consideration, I have some difficult organizational decisions to share. We will be reducing our workforce, impacting approximately 300 valued team members, in addition to 200 open positions.

The CNBC report also noted that “ESPN will also part ways with some on-air talent once contracts expire.” Details about which on-air personalities will be let go was not immediately available, but this could impact SportsCenter, Pardon the Interruption, and other popular shows on the all-sports network, which is part of The Walt Disney Company family of brands.

Related: Report: ESPN Planning Layoffs Amid Disney’s Financial Losses

Today, ESPN Press Room shared an official statement regarding its layoffs:

“For some time, ESPN has been engaged in planning for its future amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. The pandemic’s effect on ESPN clearly accelerated our thinking on all fronts. Today, as a result of these circumstances, we informed our employees that we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to create a more agile, efficient organization.

We are parting ways with many exceptional teammates, all of whom have made important contributions to ESPN. These are not easy decisions, and we will work hard to make their transitions easier.

We will move forward in a manner that will allow us to continue to best serve sports fans.”

It has not yet been announced which specific divisions of ESPN have been impacted by these hundreds of layoffs. The company, which employees about 6,000 people in all is based in Connecticut.

Related: Disney-Owned ESPN Asks Top Commentators to Take Pay Cuts

Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for additional details about these latest layoffs under The Walt Disney Company umbrella. 

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