April 26, 2017

ESPN laying off 100, including on-air personalities: Citing a major loss in subscriber base and advertising revenue, ESPN spent Wednesday laying off approximately 100 people, about one-half of them having had an on-air presence.

posted by jjzucal to other at 01:13 PM - 17 comments

Are profits down to only $20 kajillion now? Down from a high of $21 kajillion?

posted by NoMich at 01:32 PM on April 26

I wouldn't scoff at ESPN's troubles. It lost lost 12 million subscribers since 2011. In one month last fall they lost 621,000.

So far Jayson Stark and Ed Werder are the layoffs that gave me the most sadfeels. But as a former reporter I'm always bummed by events like this.

Young people don't watch cable. I could cancel my entire cable package today and my sons wouldn't notice. They only watch TV on the Internet and it's on-demand stuff on Youtube, Twitch, Netflix and Hulu.

I would cancel cable if I could live without live broadcasts of the NFL, Premier League, MLS, Championship (England), international soccer and to a lesser degree MLB, NBA and NHL.

posted by rcade at 02:14 PM on April 26

I see they've clipped the majority of their NHL analysis. I, for one, was shocked to hear that they had NHL analysts. You talk about a cushy job. Sit on your ass 51 weeks a year, come out to discuss (1) the latest outrage involving violence (2 days work), and (2) the winner of the Stanley Cup (30 seconds on SportCenter the evening of the clincher).

posted by tahoemoj at 02:17 PM on April 26

John Buccigross was another cap casualty.

I would cancel cable if I could live without live broadcasts of the NFL, Premier League, MLS, Championship (England), international soccer and to a lesser degree MLB, NBA and NHL.

I cut my cable over a year ago and instead purchased an Amazon firestick and installed Kodi. Not to get too in-depth, there are add-ons that you can subscribe to and watch live TV and pay less than $20 a month. Best decision I ever made.

posted by BornIcon at 02:20 PM on April 26

It doesn't look as if Bucci is actually gone.

posted by NoMich at 02:31 PM on April 26

Young people don't watch cable. I could cancel my entire cable package today and my sons wouldn't notice. They only watch TV on the Internet and it's on-demand stuff on Youtube, Twitch, Netflix and Hulu.

We cut cable when our daughter was born and we really haven't missed it since then. That was 7 years ago. When she watches TV, it's nothing but PBS Kids and My Little Pony (that one is on Netflix).

I do miss watching the Hurricanes games live on TV, but I'm happy to pay for MLB.TV every year. There's enough free college and NFL football on broadcast TV that I don't miss that. Though, I do have to admit that my interest in football is waning.

posted by NoMich at 02:34 PM on April 26

For far too long ESPN was the only game in town. That is, it was the only full-time national sports outlet on cable. First NBC and then in short order CBS and Fox started their own full-time sports networks. Well what do you know; all of a sudden there's this thing called "competition" and when that happens, your product has to get better. I think we can all agree that ESPN's product hasn't gotten a lot better of late. Add to the competition the local cable sports channels and the college conference networks like Big Ten and SEC. The market is now nearly saturated, and if you are losing customers, you need to cut expenses and improve your product. From the roster of announced cuts, product improvement seems to be about the last thing on ESPN's mind. Funny how this whole thing so closely follows the model of any area of business

posted by Howard_T at 03:47 PM on April 26

It's interesting how some of the competition - The Longhorn Network and SEC Network - were created with the assistance of ESPN/Disney. Sort of like being your own worst enemy.

Interesting, also, that it appears many of the NFL folks are getting bumped the day before the draft. I presume, instead of working on a team basis, fewer remote analysts might handle coverage on a division basis?

posted by jjzucal at 04:14 PM on April 26

We cut cable when our daughter was born and we really haven't missed it since then. That was 7 years ago. When she watches TV, it's nothing but PBS Kids and My Little Pony (that one is on Netflix).

When our oldest was a little kid (a long time ago), once she started watching TV, we had a weekly routine. Last adult awake on Friday night had to set the TV to the PBS channel before conking out. So if she woke up before us on Sat. morning and turned on the TV, there would be Big Bird, or some such thing. We didn't have the TV on all that much, so she had no idea there were other channels until she was about 8.

Then the younger ones discovered the remote and in the blink of an eye our cover was blown and we were deep into Power Rangers and other delights.

If PBS is de-funded, wonder if we'll see Oscar the Grouch courtside with Dick Vitale at Duke home games.

NoMich, do you know where BronyCon 2017 is being held? Asking for a friend.

posted by beaverboard at 06:04 PM on April 26

Forgot in my comment above the NFL, NBA, and MLB networks. Who the hell needs you, ESPN.

posted by Howard_T at 08:43 PM on April 26

If PBS is de-funded, wonder if we'll see Oscar the Grouch courtside with Dick Vitale at Duke home games.

I hate to say this, but I think my li'l baby is aging out of PBS Kids. Except for "Odd Squad." That shit is legit hilarious.

NoMich, do you know where BronyCon 2017 is being held? Asking for a friend.

It's a good show, it really is. I keep teasing my Tarheel born 'n bred wife that she is Applejack.

posted by NoMich at 10:14 PM on April 26

I expect regional sports networks to focus on the regions team. At points it is very obvious that ESPN is near Boston as they acted like a regional sports network.

Yankees/Red Sox rivalry was great 10 years ago, but there are lots of great two-team rivalries. Aaron Hernandez and DeflateGate were newsworthy, but cutting to a 30 minute legal proceeding of one of many athlete in legal trouble gets tiresome.

posted by prof at 11:00 AM on April 27

On my other site some people on the right keep claiming that ESPN is super-politicized and liberal these days.

I find the accusation weird. I see ESPN as a place that avoids politics on the air except when it's unavoidable, like when Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the anthem.

Does anyone else see ESPN as becoming more political in recent years?

posted by rcade at 11:00 AM on April 27

I do not watch ESPN enough to say if they have become more political or not.

I do know on occasion some FB friends have shared news story slamming ESPN for some liberal agenda. On the rare occasion I read the article, it usually focused on a single sentence in a memo or one comment made by a reporter. I mentally filed these under "fake news" or "political propaganda" as there was no real substance to the accusations.

posted by prof at 11:10 AM on April 27

ESPN does put minorities on screen and treat them as if their opinions are valid, which is something only a commie pinko would do.

posted by LionIndex at 12:22 PM on April 27

If PBS is de-funded, wonder if we'll see Oscar the Grouch courtside with Dick Vitale at Duke home games.

Oscar is paid by HBO now, so unlikely.

ESPN does get a bit social-justicey for my liking, but that's hardly the reason this is happening. Expenditures are too high, and revenue is down. The math isn't all that hard.

posted by TheQatarian at 01:59 PM on April 27

Except for "Odd Squad." That shit is legit hilarious.

I'm waiting for ours to age back into it. I used to watch it with her when bottle-feeding in the AM (it was that and ESPN FC exclusively) and I miss it.

Does anyone else see ESPN as becoming more political in recent years?

I feel the same as you and as a wicked lefty see the complaints about "Liberal bias" just to be more of the same sorry crap as "EVERYONE IS SO PC NOWADAYS" but one of the deadspin threads on this subject addresses it with a little more nuance.

posted by yerfatma at 04:08 PM on April 27

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