The network put out a statement saying, in part, that “given how fans’ habits are changing, our focus continues to be providing high-quality, distinctive content at any minute of the day on any screen.”
SportsCenter has been evolving into being more personality-driven, and the tea leaves in ESPN’s statement indicate that they are going to be focusing their web site and app increasingly more heavily on video than writing.
ESPN President John Skipper also put out a note to employees.
As has been well documented, in addition to shifting consumer content desires ESPN has been hit with heavy subscriber losses in recent years — every subscriber loss for ESPN and ESPN2 adds up to about $100 per year — and their rights fees for the NFL and NBA broadcasts have gone up substantially. ESPN is still quite profitable, but those increased costs and decreasing revenue mean the money is not flowing at the levels it was four or five years ago.
Frankly, it sucks to see anybody losing their jobs. We wish everybody impacted by the decisions today the best in finding their footing.