ESPN Slashes 500 Jobs in Major Cost-Cutting Move

ESPN is eliminating 500 jobs in an effort to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jimmy Pitaro informed his staff on Thursday.

In a memo obtained by TheWrap, Pitaro said the company would be laying off 300 staffers and scrapping 200 open positions.

“Today is hard because ESPN has always been — and will always be — fortified by its fantastic people,” he wrote. “Teamwork, dedication, spirit and grit have built this place and are what make ESPN special.”

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“Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports,” Pitaro added. “The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions. In the short term, we enacted various steps like executive and talent salary reductions, furloughs and budget cuts, and we implemented innovative operations and production approaches, all in an effort to weather the COVID storm.”

“We have, however, reached an inflection point. The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever.”

“However, building a successful future in a changing world means facing hard choices. Making informed decisions about how and where we need to go — and, as always, in the most efficient way possible — is by far the most challenging job of any leadership team. And, while it must be done looking through a business lens, it also must be done with great respect and genuine concern for people.”

“We are parting ways with some exceptional team members — so of whom have been here for a very long time — and all of whom have made important contributions to ESPN. We’re so very grateful for all they’ve meant to us, and I assure you we are taking steps to make their transitions easier.”

“I am proud of the people at ESPN. Together, we have overcome tremendous challenges and adversity over these past several months and please know that the decisions and plans executed today were not made lightly. They are, however, necessary and I am convinced that we will move forward and effectively navigate this unprecedented disruption.”

More to come…

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