NEW YORK — Some 100 on-air personalities at ESPN, including former athletes-turned-broadcasters Trent Dilfer, Len Elmore and Danny Kanell, have lost their jobs as part of a company-wide restructuring that emphasizes a more digital future.
The sports network has been squeezed by increased rights fees paid to broadcast live events at the same time as millions of cord-cutting TV viewers are abandoning the company.
ESPN chief John Skipper said Wednesday the company wants to provide distinctive content all the time on multiple screens, with more personality-oriented “SportsCenter” broadcasts, and is keeping people best suited to the new strategy.
ESPN isn’t saying who has been fired. Many are releasing the news on social media, including NFL reporter Ed Werder, baseball reporter Jayson Stark and college basketball reporter Dana O’Neil.
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 (@WerderEdESPN) April 26, 2017
For 17 yrs I've had a dream job covering baseball for ESPN. Today is my last day. Thanks to all the great people at ESPN, MLB & all of you!
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 26, 2017
Add me to the list. Just got the 'call.' I've been informed my contract will not be renewed at ESPN.
— Dana O'Neil (@DanaONeilWriter) April 26, 2017
Poured my heart and soul into ESPN for last 8 years. Moved my wife and 3 kids to CT to go "all in" 5 years ago. Bummed it ended in 3 minutes
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) April 26, 2017