Disney’s ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro announced that the network will eliminate 500 positions, including 300 jobs that are filled and 200 that aren’t, to reserve cash for DTC and digital initiatives.
According to Deadline, Pitaro made the announcement to employees via a memo where he explained that the division had reached an “inflection point.”
“The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever,” the memo said.
The sports network, along with the rest of Disney, has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. With most sporting events almost wiped out entirely for three months, and the major ones that have returned doing so in a diminished fashion.
ESPN will have about 5,000 employees after the expected cuts.
Pitaro revealed in a separate press statement that, “The pandemic’s effect on ESPN clearly accelerated our thinking on all fronts [and] as a result of these circumstances, we informed our employees that we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to create a more agile, efficient organization.”
Pitaro also vowed to “move forward in a manner that will allow us to continue to best serve sports fans.”