USA Today Sports

Report: ESPN will cut $80 million in salaries during next round of layoffs

Alex Reimer
November 21, 2017 - 2:47 pm

More information is trickling out about the rumored ESPN layoffs, and it isn’t good. The WorldWide Leader is preparing to cut roughly $80 million in salaries and other costs when the third round of cuts in two years is expected to hit after Thanksgiving, according to the Sporting News.

All facets of the on-air side will be impacted, including producers, executives and those who work in the digital space. The “SportsCenter” brand is expected to be hit especially hard. 

"Since there's less SC shows there's less need for all management. It was reported that cuts being made later in the year to allow some folks to get stock they are eligible for in January. Management level gets stock," a source told Sporting News.

Earlier this year, ESPN let go more than 100 employees, including recognizable talents such as Trent Dilfer and Ed Werder.

It’s not a surprise that “SportsCenter” is expected to be gutted. The program has seen its ratings decline across the board, most notably during the 6:00 p.m. slot, where management installed Jemele Hill and Michael Smith to host “SC6.” 

But given the emphasis on personality-driven shows, it would be a shock if Smith or Hill were let go –– despite Hill's proclivity to generate controversy on social media. She called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter earlier this year and was suspended two weeks for violating the company’s social media policy for insinuating Cowboys fans should boycott the team's sponsors in the wake of Jerry Jones' demands that players stand for the national anthem. 

Scott Van Pelt, who hosts the midnight edition of “SportsCenter,” will also stay put. He’s seen his ratings increase and recently signed a contract extension, per the Hollywood Reporter. ESPN president John Skipper has been re-signed as well. 

It’s been a year of bad headlines for ESPN, which continues to see its subscriber rates fall. The network has lost $1 billion in revenue after losing 13 million subscribers in six years.