Times are tough for the left-wing sports network ESPN, and now comes word that a number of employees aren’t too keen on waiting to see how bad it gets before acting to save their own skin.
The New York Post reports that in anticipation of another round of layoffs, some ESPN personnel are already putting out feelers for new jobs:
According to a Monday Sporting News report, which cited a source at a rival network, some ESPN staffers already are sending out “just-in-case” résumés to competitors such as FS1, NBCSN and Turner Sports.
“The narrative from many long-timers still there is: ‘I know my day is coming. It’s not if. It’s when,’” another source told the site.
This round of cuts, according to the report, an estimated $80 million will be slashed from the budget.
“SportsCenter” will be particularly hard hit, its relevance fading in the Internet age, and the report said more than back-end and front-facing talent on the show will be in trouble. With less “SportsCenter” comes less management over “SportsCenter,” so suits, too, are in danger.
As TFPP has previously covered, ESPN already laid off 300 or so employees in 2015, and is expected to cut 100 more jobs after Thanksgiving. The layoffs have been described as “painful” and wide-ranging, from TV personalities, producers, and executives to digital and technology grunt work.
The sports media world likes to attribute its business problems almost exclusively to things like the rise of streaming media services taking a chunk out of cable businesses and sports rights getting more expensive, but as we’ve previously covered at great length, another significant factor has been ESPN personalities’ increasing habit of lecturing their audiences about politics when they tuned in to get away from politics and unwind with, y’know, sports.
Of course, not everyone at ESPN has opted to respond to their predicament with the prudence of these soon-to-be-former employees. NewsBusters reports that sportscaster Scott Van Pelt decided to go in the opposite direction and spew condescension at the viewers to whom he owes his livelihood:
In unexcerpted audio preceding the snippet which follows, Van Pelt contended that people who claim that they’re boycotting ESPN are in a “make-believe world where everyone talks s–t” […]
“And for the folks, if you truly wanna boycott the NFL or if you wanna boycott ESPN, the notion that some guy sitting out there, or gal, and they decide, “You know what, I’m gonna go ahead and cut my entire cable package because ESPN gave an award on a made-up show in July because there’s no sports to a woman who used to be a man, so I’m now not gonna have any cable TV at all, and I’m gonna sit around at night and read books by candlelight like olden times because of that.” That’s just, that’s not happening.
“And if you did that, then you’re so dumb that I can’t even pray for you because you’re beyond hope. If that was your reaction to this — was to deny yourself the ability to watch television — I mean that just hasn’t happened and didn’t happen.”
I don’t know what’s funnier: that this guy is tacitly admitting that he lives such a politically/philosophically/intellectually sheltered existence that he’s “Never. Not once” encountered anyone who dislikes ESPN, that he can’t imagine people living happy lives without cable television, or that he apparently hasn’t heard of these things called Rokus and Apple TVs that enable people to watch what they want without paying for what they don’t.
Here’s hoping for a future where ESPN can’t carry out “painful” rounds of layoffs, because they employees they were going to eliminate are already gone.