Not that I'm taking any pleasure in this (I'm not), but I was wondering when the ESPN layoffs would be coming down the road. The network's rise in the 90s and 00s always seemed to be like a housing bubble -- that eventually the weight of talent portion of their Wikipedia page would force cost cutting.
Not only that, but the cost of acquiring game rights is an absolute beast. And their competition, which includes all the new ways consumers can access games on TV and the Internet. And most of all, ESPN subscriptions have been falling like a safe for the past seven years.
According to Neilsen numbers, ESPN has lost more than 10 million subscribers since 2012, from more than 100 million to 89,465,000. It's lost more than 1.5 million subscribers from February to the end of May of 2016.
So Outkick the Coverage crunched those numbers and figured that over four months in 2016, ESPN lost an average of 10,400 subscribers per day.
Multiple sources said ESPN has been tasked with paring tens of millions of staff salary from its payroll, including staffers many viewers and readers will recognize. Those with contracts coming up would be particularly vulnerable, sources said. The company is also expected to buyout some existing contracts, which is something rare for ESPN historically beyond a few NFL talents. The cuts are expected to be completed by June. Sources within ESPN say that there is no set list of names yet and stressed that behind-the-scenes people will likely (key word) not be impacted by these cuts.
Being a subscriber is making less and less sense in a landscape in which sports programming and information is available just about anywhere. Disney, the parent company, is forcing the Worldwide Leader to adapt, because Mickey Mouse may be a nice guy, but he's put Donald Duck in charge of revenue and that pantsless feathered bastard is in no mood to play around.
We figured that this was coming when Chris Berman was forced out. Berman was a founding father who couldn't adapt to the 21st Century. The rest of the company is determined not to follow in his dinosaur footprints.
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