Disney's ESPN to Cut 300 Staff, Eliminate Another 200 Posts

Sports-news provider ESPN is cutting 300 staffers and eliminating an additional 200 positions as it restructures during the pandemic.
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Sports-media network ESPN said it was cutting 300 staffers and eliminating another 200 positions as part of a restructuring. 

The sports-broadcasting arm of the Disney  (DIS) - Get Report group said that it had been planning as consumers cut the cord -- quitting traditional cable packages and their premium prices and turning to media-streaming providers. 

“The pandemic’s effect on ESPN clearly accelerated our thinking on all fronts," ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.

"Today, as a result of these circumstances, we informed our employees that we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to create a more agile, efficient organization.

ESPN employs about 4,000 people at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with another 2,500 staffers spread worldwide. This is the fifth round of layoffs ESPN has conducted since 2013, Sportico reported. 

The coronavirus pandemic has chilled the American sports landscape. Fans unable to attend games in person and the cancellation of many games have hit the bottom lines of numerous networks. 

During the pandemic, 134 days saw no sports. ESPN aired replays of classic games while it lost live-television ad revenue. 

The company reported that sales revenue at its media-networks division fell 41% to $1.12 billion during the period. 

Earlier this year, NBC Sports  (CMCSA) - Get Report laid off about 75 on-air and behind-the-scenes staff at its regional sports networks. And Fox Sports laid off as many as 100 employees this year. 

Disney shares at last check rose 2.7% to $128.49. 

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