ESPN is reportedly laying off 400 employees–or roughly 10% of its workforce–on Tuesday.
According to a report that originated on TheBigLead.com and the Gawker-owned sports rumor site Deadspin – and picked up by other outlets like Variety and Business Insider – ESPN will lay off up to 400 employees today. These are the first major lay-offs at the Connecticut based sports network since 2009, and the move caught employees at the high profile and highly profitable network totally off-guard.
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.
ESPN is part of the Disney empire, and reports are that Disney has directed ESPN to improve its profit margins, a directive that has been sent to other Disney divisions as well. ESPN has been investing a large amount of money buying up rights fees recently, including football and basketball deals with major conferences. And according to Deadspin, those fees have put the drag on the margins. They quote one of the laid off workers who was following Deadspin’s coverage, as follows:
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