ESPN Firing Over A Hundred Employees Today


ESPN Firing Over A Hundred Employees Today
By Clay Travis
Apr 26, 2017 at 9:44a ET

For several years I have been writing on this site about the coming business implosion at ESPN. Today, with the announcement that over 100 on air talent at ESPN were being let go, many will finally come to realize what Outkick readers have read here for the past several years – ESPN’s business model is fundamentally broken and there is no saving it. The continuing collapse of ESPN is the biggest story in sports – the sub-prime mortgage crisis with bouncing balls.

I don’t say that to gloat over ESPN employees who lost their jobs today – many of them are outstanding people who regularly read this site or listen to our Outkick broadcasts, some of them are also good friends – and I know exactly how they feel today because I have been fired before in sports media too. Six years ago I, along with the entire staff, was fired from FanHouse. …

The people being fired at ESPN today aren’t being fired because they are bad at their jobs, they’re being fired because ESPN’s business is collapsing. That collapse has been aided by ESPN’s absurd decision to turn into MSESPN, a left wing sports network, but that’s more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse. ESPN’s business is collapsing and the network is desperately trying to find a way to stay above water. … ESPN going left wing was like giving a drowning person a big rock to hold and thinking it would keep them from drowning. Instead, it just made them sink even faster.

As tantalizing as it is to blame ESPN’s fall on ESPN going political, the start of their fall does seem to have predated their going political. The linked article details how subscription losses have made overpaid longterm contracts a fixed cost burden that threatens ESPN’s survival. In that context, going political looks like a straw-grasping effort that has backfired, accellerating ESPN’s fall.

ESPN’s going political took the form of a hard left turn, but I’m not sure a hard right turn would have fared much better. Seriously! Who tunes in a sports show hoping to hear political commentary, even commentary with which one agrees? Not that a hard right turn would have been thinkable in the entertainment industry.


Being laid off sucks! I wouldn’t wish it on anybody … well, maybe excepting a chronic jerk like Keithie (Olbermann).


Have to agree. Been there, done that and it ain’t fun.


I quit watching ESPN in 2003 when they fired Limbaugh over that trumped up Mcnabb controversy, the only exception I made was Monday Night Football; which I also later abandoned when they fired Hank Williams Junior in another fake controversy.

I get how the financial structure is crippling them but growth in viewership and general popularity would have compensated for that, ESPN made it very clear that they were not interested in any audience that was not of the Extreme Left politically; I may be only 1 of very few who has ditched them over the last 15 years because of their politics but I bet their stagnation as a Network is connected to their intention to offend and belittle a large percentage of this Country.

ESPN belongs in the cellar with MSNBC and CNN.


Ditto, RET. I have given up on ALL pro sports anyway because, in my opinion, they are peopled in large measure with a bunch of over-paid thugs who, if they couldn’t run faster, jump higher or out-mass the average person. would be in prison somewhere making gravel out of big rocks. There are exceptions, of course, but they are increasingly few and far between.


The Top 5 Reasons ESPN’s Ratings Are in Freefall
MARCH 21, 2017

> This new report comes mere months after a report showing that ESPN is losing subscribers at an alarming rate. In November 2016, ESPN lost over 600,000 subscribers, its worst month ever. ESPN has historically been a workhorse performer, one of the most successful cable channels of all time. Driven by live events, previously unavailable sports updates, an offbeat delivery, and compelling content, ESPN reached must-watch status and stayed there for a couple of decades. At the height of their popularity, in 2011, ESPN was available in over 100 million homes. A few years ago, however, the tide began to ebb. As of December 2016, that number had dropped to 88.4 million – a steady, inexorable decline.
> This has resulted in a precipitous drop in ad revenue at ESPN and its corporate parent company, Disney. This is what is driving the next round of layoffs.
> The reasons for this collapse are multifaceted. Let’s examine the top reasons for the decline of ESPN.
> 1. Cutting the cord
> …
> 2. Bad programming
> …
> 3. Agenda-driven programming
> …
> 4. Overpayment for rights fees
> …
> 5. Ratings for live sporting events are down

I’m not a big fan of Top 5 (7, 10, etc,) Things You Should Know artciles, as they tend to be click-bait. But PJMedia uses them well, as quick informative once-over summaries. Other than items 2 and 3 being combinable into “Stupid Programming Choices”, this one is pretty informative.

1. Cutting the cord is a problem for ESPN, but not just because of subscriber losses. ESPN manglement failed to recognize, over a period of about 5 years, what was happening and failed to respond. I don’t reflexively condemn high manglement salaries, because good manglement, among other things, recognizes changes and problems and customer choices and adjusts/re-positions their company in response, and even anticipation. ESPN’s manglement failed to keep their business model current, let alone to offer customers innovations that created demand. Two of my five layoffs were due to exactly this kind of manglement failure, so this is a sore topic for me.

Stupid Programming Choices, especially 3. Agenda-driven programming, is probably the most perceptible among conservatives. The intent was to create edgy, compelling programming. The effect of going political was to alienate a large percentage of ESPN’s audience (1/3? 1/2? More?!). This is a double blindness: not understanding their audience, generally; tantrumming against the particular Trump Trend.

5. Ratings for live sporting events are down particularly refers to the @#$% Kaepernick stirred up. In the direct sense, that was outside of ESPN’s control. But, Part 1, ESPN could have spoken to NFL manglement, saying, “Hey guys! This is hurting your and our audience! Tell them to cool it and take it off the field.” But, Part 2, ESPN commentators and pundits could have made lots of noise about how the on-field tantrums were hurting game viewership. The latter didn’t happen, and I doubt the former did, either.

In the end, I think 4. Overpayment for rights fees coupled with and mutually compounding 1. Cutting the cord may take ESPN down or at least into an existential crisis.


I’d be happy if they just went off air permanently. I have no use for ESPN.


Yea, got sick and tired of political comments, one might NOTE the BIG fall off in NASCAR attendance. When the NFL and NASCAR got political and in this case it leaned to the left and further to the left. Viewership and attendance DOWN…DUH is that not telling them something?

Giving STRONG support to the LGBT-Q community crosses the lines IMO. And THREATS to cancel games, move to other states etc…FINE, then if you want to cater to <5% of the population, then let the 5% support you, you don’t need me.

NOTE: This does not mean I am anti-LGBT-Q, I neither condone or condemn, don’t care what they do in their lifestyle, NOR do I want to know or be threaten by some Sports commissioner that he is gonna not play in my stadium…I think this is called EXTORTION!

“Extortion is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion. It is sometimes euphemistically referred to as a “protection racket” since the racketeers often phrase their demands as payment for “protection” from (real or hypothetical) threats from unspecified other parties. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense.”


I’ve never watched ESPN, not deliberately. But it has nothing to politics. I just don’t know any of the players, so I don’t care what they do.


I know a LOT of the players…not because I watch ESPN, but because so many of them make the nightly news for beating up their wives/girlfriends, getting caught with dope, shooting someone in a bar fight, or refusing to stand for the national anthem!


And we’ve been told for years that sports creates character . . . didn’t believe it the first time I heard it, either.


You just mis-heard the quote! The actual quote was "–sports creates characterS"!!:whistle::whistle::whistle: