ESPN is planning a round of layoffs that could see hundreds of workers out of a job, said to be the result of high costs for broadcasting rights.
The ESPN layoffs are reportedly taking place Tuesday, and could involve up to 400 employees.
“I was laid off from ESPN today after 9 and a half years,” a source told Deadspin. “Completely out of the blue, no warning at all. I was told it was 10% across the board, which would be roughly 400. I was told the reason was they needed to make their profit margin and they chose to do that via layoff of staff.
ESPN referred to the layoffs in a statement, but provided no details on the number of people to be fired.
“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.”
The job cuts are said to be the result of the network paying high fees to broadcast live events, as well as a general cost-cutting mandate from ESPN’s parent company, Disney.
The layoffs at ESPN were said to hit the technology group particularly hard.
“The majority of the layoffs today and tomorrow are in Technology…something like 40 people, at least that’s what I’ve heard,” the source told Deadspin. “All three HR people assigned to Technology are handling layoffs today and tomorrow. No idea what is going on in the other departments. I was told ESPN was forced, by Disney, to do the layoffs due to profit margins. The end numbers / percentages, may not be exactly what they’re telling us as we’re being laid off.”
The source believed that ESPN is using the opportunity to get rid of older, higher paid workers while filling new jobs with lower-paid employees.
Following news of the layoffs the Twitter account @ESPNBook sent out the following tweet:
— James Andrew Miller (@ESPNBook) May 21, 2013
Because of its demographics ESPN is able to demand the highest per subscriber rate of any television network. Despite those high rates the company’s expenses continue to rise as cable and broadcast providers continue to fight for a larger chunk of global sports broadcasting rights.
Even with the layoffs, ESPN remains a large outfit. The company has close to 7,000 employees spread across the country.