ESPN may not be done with layoffs for 2017 as reports now indicate the sports network is planning to cut another 40 to 60 jobs before the end of the year.
According to Sporting News, unnamed sources said the projected cuts could hit in late November or early December and could impact ESPN employees in front of the camera or microphone as well as some behind-the-scenes employees.
For ESPN, another round of layoffs would mark the second time this year that the sports network has reduced staff numbers. In April, the company laid off around 100 people.
This will be the third round of significant cuts in fewer than two years for ESPN. In October 2015, the network laid off about 300 employees.
In May, ESPN let go of popular NFL analyst John Clayton amid startling numbers from Nielsen. The ratings firm said that ESPN lost 3.8% of its subscribers in May 2017, well outpacing the average loss rate of 2.9% subscribers for cable channels during the month.
The cuts at ESPN arrive as parent company Disney is reportedly planning its own round of layoffs. Earlier this month, Variety reported that Disney began giving notice to affected employees, but the amount of staff reduction and overall cuts will be “significantly lower” than the previously announced 10%.
In August, the Wall Street Journal said that Disney would look to cut up to 300 jobs as part of an effort to cut 10% in annual costs from Disney’s entertainment division. The bulk of those cuts were expected to happen at the ABC broadcast network, the ABC television production studio, ABC News and ABC’s local affiliate stations.
ESPN, in addition to cutting costs through staff reductions, is also reducing costs by cutting some of its smaller channels. In July, ESPN shut down Buzzer Beater, its live look at college basketball.
“With more ways than ever to program our networks across all screens, we have decided to shift resources to better position ourselves for the long-term,” the network said in a statement obtained by TV Predictions. “We will leverage the reach and scale we have across our TV and digital platforms to continue to provide more college basketball coverage than any other company.”
ESPN—with its sagging subscriber numbers and huge programming costs—continues to be a drag on Disney’s quarterly earnings.
In the latest quarter, Disney’s cable networks revenues fell 3% to $4.1 billion and operating income fell 23% to $1.5 billion. Disney put the lower operating income on ESPN, which was impacted by higher programming costs, lower advertising revenue and severance and contract termination costs.