Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN says it is cutting staff


Just one week after touting its strength to advertisers and declaring it wasn’t worried about new competition from Fox Sports, ESPN is cutting its staff.

The moves are part of an overall cost-cutting effort by ESPN parent Walt Disney Co. Earlier this year, Disney trimmed jobs in its movie and consumer products divisions. It also made cuts in its video game unit and shut down LucasArts.

Cuts at ESPN are rare. The sports cable empire is known for having deep pockets and continues to spend heavily for sports rights. Just last week ESPN struck a deal with the United States Tennis Assn. for all the rights to the U.S. Open at a cost of $75 million a year. ESPN already carries the NFL, the NBA as well as a heavy load of college football.


In a statement, ESPN said, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.”

Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN has more than 7,000 employees and is one of the main profit centers for Disney. Jim Miller, co-author of the ESPN tell-all “These Guys Have All The Fun” said on Twitter that between 300 and 400 people were being let go.

News of the layoffs was first reported by Deadspin.


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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.