ESPN has begun the process of laying off dozens of on-air personalities, reporters, writers and behind-the-scenes staff members, and the biggest name thus far among the cuts is Ed Werder, and NFL reporter who has been with the network for 17 years.
After 17 years reporting on #NFL, I've been informed that I'm being laid off by ESPN effective immediately. I have no plans to retire— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 26, 2017
ESPN president John Skipper confirmed that there are major changes coming as the network looks to slash millions of dollars from its current salary budget. Close to 100 people could lose their jobs.
Here’s Skipper’s full internal memo:
"ESPN has been actively engaged throughout its history in navigating changes in technology and fan behavior in order to continue to deliver quality, breakthrough content. Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward.
A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy – primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand – still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent–anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play–necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.
These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company. I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN.
Our objective in all we do is to best serve fans and their changing consumption habits while still maintaining an unparalleled and diverse talent roster that resonates with fans across all our platforms. We will continue to foster creativity and investment in the products and resources necessary to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.
Thank you as always for your continuing dedication to our work."
Today's purge of on-air talent also includes, among others:
Jayson Stark, Baseball Writer
Trent Dilfer, NFL Analyst
Jay Crawford, Analyst
Dana O’Neil, College Basketball Reporter
Eamonn Brennan, College Basketball Reporter
Danny Kanell, Radio Host and College Football Analyst
Mike Goodman, Soccer Writer
Johnette Howard, Columnist
Austin Ward, Big Ten Football Reporter
Calvin Watkins, Houston Staff Writer
Joe McDonald, Hockey Writer
Pierre LeBrun, Hockey Writer
Scott Burnside, N.H.L. Columnist
Jesse Temple, Big Ten Football Reporter
Jim Bowden, Baseball Analyst
Mark Saxon, Baseball Reporter
Brett McMurphy, College Football Reporter
Bob Ley shared his thoughts on his departed colleagues on Outside the Lines
From Bob Ley pic.twitter.com/rjJVi7JZaZ— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) April 26, 2017