For Pete's Sake

ESPN layoffs include Jayson Stark, Ed Werder, Dana O’Neill and some anchors

The recent trend of people cutting the cord (canceling their cable subscriptions) has hit ESPN hard.

Toward the end of 2016, ESPN lost more than 1 million subscribers in a two-month span. That likely is the reason that ESPN has started a massive round of layoffs. The Washington Post reported that the job cuts will affect about 100 employees and that it was an “ESPN decision and not a mandate from parent company Disney.”

Among the biggest names to be cut: baseball writer Jayson Stark, NFL reporter Ed Werder, college basketball reporter Dana O’Neil, former Kansas City Star reporter Jeremy Crabtree and baseball reporter Jim Bowden. Many have been taking to Twitter to announce they’ve been let go by ESPN.

This, sadly, is just a partial list, which now includes “SportsCenter” anchors Jay Crawford, Jaymee Sire and Chris Hassel.

ESPN president John Skipper wrote a letter to employees explaining the need for changes.

“ESPN has been actively engaged throughout its history in navigating changes in technology and fan behavior in order to continue to deliver quality, breakthrough content,” Skipper wrote. “Today, we are again focused on a strategic vision that will propel our vast array of networks and services forward.

“A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy — primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven ‘SportsCenter’ TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand — still needs to go further, faster … and as always, must be efficient and nimble. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent — anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play — necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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