ESPN lays off 150 employees, on-air staff safe

November 29, 2017 GMT

ESPN lays off 150 employees, on-air staff safe

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- For the second time this year, ESPN is laying off more than 100 employees.

The number this time is about 150, but unlike the layoffs in April, this round is largely affecting behind-the-scenes personnel, not on-air personalities.

ESPN president John Skipper made the announcement in a memo to staffers Wednesday morning.

“Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated,” he wrote.

“We appreciate their contributions, and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.

“The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.

“We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.”

Earlier this year, Skipper, whose network has been beset with the double whammy of cord cutters abandoning their cable subscriptions and the increasingly exorbitant rights fees the network pays to broadcast major league and college sports, said changes were necessary to make ESPN more efficient and nimble.

“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,” he said at the time.