BRISTOL - ESPN is eliminating 150 production and technical employees as the sports broadcasting giant continues to shift its focus to a more digital future.
The company says the layoffs, which were announced Wednesday morning in a memo to employees, don't include on-air talent and will have a minimal impact on the network's signature SportsCenter news program.
“The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources,” ESPN president John Skipper wrote in memo. “We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.”
The 38-year-old network has been squeezed by rising fees to broadcast live events. ESPN also has lost about 10 million subscribers during the past six years, based on estimates by Nielsen Media Research.
The company says it will grow its business in several key areas, including the planned launch early next year of “ESPN+”, an app-based service that will allow viewers to purchase sporting events a la carte.
ESPN is opening a new studio in New York, which will serve as home base for a new show featuring personalities Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose. Another new daily show will feature Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, the network said.
The company said it plans to streamline and merge its news-gathering operation across all formats and evolve the SportsCenter show. That includes a new 3- to 5-minute digital version that launched this month on Snapchat. It's also working on the 2019 launch of the ACC Network.
The sports broadcaster has about 8,000 employees worldwide. ESPN laid off 100 employees in April, including some on-air personalities. That followed about 300 job cuts in 2015.