BRISTOL - ESPN officials insist the company has no time frame for expected layoffs, despite a recent report indicating those affected could be informed as soon as Wednesday.
According to The Washington Post, Richard Deitsch, a columnist for Sports Illustrated, shared a Facebook post Tuesday that said “there will be significant on-air names affected” by the layoffs and that “the numbers will be larger than previously reported.”
Jim Miller, who co-wrote a book published in 2011 about the inside world of ESPN, said in March that he had heard ESPN was looking at between 40-50 layoffs and that anyone not part of the company’s core should be worried about losing their job.
Mike Soltys, vice president for corporate communications at ESPN, told The Press Tuesday that they are not commenting further on the layoffs. Soltys also remarked that there is no set time frame for when they would take effect, adding that what was reported in March still holds true.
ESPN in March said the company planned to lay off some of the personalities who appear on TV, radio and online in the first half of 2017. Soltys did not specifically cite Miller’s layoff estimate.
Deitsch’s post on Tuesday went on to imply that he knew at least some of the names of those who will be affected. He said he will not report the names until the persons either come out with the news themselves or give him permission to report it.
The personalities who will be affected could be those with contracts up for renewal. ESPN may also buy out some contracts that aren’t ending soon, according to sources as previously reported on the CNN Money web site.
In 2015 ESPN jettisoned big names Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons, and then later that year laid off about 300 employees at its Bristol headquarters on Middle Street, as well as other locations around the world.
The global corporation, which is Bristol’s largest employer, also had layoffs in 2013.
ESPN’s parent company, Disney, has seen great success in recent years thanks to its “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises, and improving results at its global theme parks.
ESPN has been one of Disney’s crown jewels, but with cable viewership on the decline, its ratings have been under pressure.
Staff writer Susan Corica contributed to this story and material from The Washington Post was included.