What happens when a sports network turns into an identity politics network, championing the causes of the liberal left elite…layoffs.
Anything identity politics touches turns toxic…its the nature of the identity politics virus, as liberalism infects, sickens, and eventually kills off its one time host.
And ESPN is no exceptions. ESPN had a good thing going, reporting and broadcasting sports. Why did they feel they had to enter the political debate?
Via Sporting News…
More bad news could be on the horizon for ESPN. Staffers at the Worldwide Leader in Sports are bracing for another possible round of layoffs late this year, multiple sources tell Sporting News.
The next round of cutbacks could come down in late November or early December, with 40-60 positions potentially being impacted, according to sources. The layoffs could hit both on-air TV/radio talent and behind-the-scenes production staffers.
“This time it won’t matter if you’re ‘liked’ or not. It’s not going to be pretty,” one source warned.
Another source expects the flagship “SportsCenter” franchise to lose people in front of and behind the camera. “I see (ESPN) going down a path where they have less staff — and hire more production companies to provide programs and fill air time.”
ESPN declined to comment.
ESPN may still be the number one source for sports news, but things are changing fast…
–ESPN is struggling from the triple-whammy of a shrinking subscriber base, expensive billion-dollar TV rights for the NFL, NBA and other sports, and bloated talent costs. The network pays $1.9 billion annually for “Monday Night Football” and another $1.4 billion for the NBA. Don’t forget ESPN is still paying millions of dollars in severance costs to many of the 100 anchors/reporters laid off in late April.
To the frustration of many ESPN insiders, the network also seems to keep shooting itself in the foot from a PR standpoint.
On Monday, president John Skipper cancelled the TV show “Barstool Van Talk” after a single 1 a.m. ET episode that averaged 88,000 viewers. The move came after a mini-mutiny led by Samantha Ponder, who succeeded the legendary Chris Berman as the high-profile host of “Sunday NFL Countdown” this year. In a statement, Skipper said he “erred” in believing ESPN could separate “Barstool Van Talk” from content on the Barstool site. But Barstool’s David Portnoy countered ESPN knew exactly what its new partner was all about.
Meanwhile, Jemele Hill returned to co-host the 6 p.m. ET “SportsCenter” Monday after a two-week suspension for repeatedly violating the network’s social media guidelines. Hill’s suspension was paid, according to ESPN book author Jim Miller.
Her suspension came after Hill tweeted about a possible boycott of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ sponsors on Twitter. She previously sparked a firestorm by calling President Donald Trump is a “white supremacist.” Trump demanded Hill and ESPN apologize, while bashing the network’s alleged left-wing politics, “bad programming” and “tanking” ratings.
Hill told TMZ she deserved the suspension, but she hasn’t apologized.