It was a rough day in Bristol, Conn.
ESPN cut loose upwards of 100 employees in a significant round of layoffs forced by the combined pressure of expensive league contracts, declining advertising revenue, and a steady loss of subscribers due to cord-cutting.
One ESPN staffer speaking on the condition of anonymity said staff members knew these cuts were coming, but many are still "in shock."
"It's worse than anyone thought," the source said.
Longtime baseball analyst Jayson Stark was also among those being shown the door. Stark, who spent 17 years with ESPN, was a well-known fixture on Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. Prior to joining ESPN, he covered the Phillies before becoming a columnist for the Inquirer, and still appears every Wednesday with Mike Missanelli to talk baseball on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer, one of the network's most prominent NFL analysts, has also been let go after nine years with ESPN.
Danny Kanell, the co-host of Russillo and Kanell on ESPN Radio with Ryen Russillo, also found out today he was being let go. Kanell, a former quarterback for the New York Giants and Denver Broncos, joined ESPN back in 2010 as a college football analyst. There's been no word yet on Russillo's status, though his show was hosted today by anchor Adnan Virk.
ESPN senior writer Dana O'Neil, a hoops expert and a past president of the United States Basketball Writers Association, was also among the cuts. O'Neil, a Penn State graduate, covered the Phillies, Eagles, and Villanova basketball for the Philadelphia Daily News prior to joining ESPN.
Here is a roundup of ESPN staffers announcing they've been let go. This list will be updated:
Baseball analyst Doug Glanville (via the Wednesday Night Baseball crew):
SportsCenter anchor Jaymee Sire
SportsCenter anchor Jade McCarthy
PGA analyst Dottie Pepper
Outside the Lines reporter Tom Farrey
College basketball analyst Len Elmore
NBA reporter Calvin Watkins
NBA reporter Justin Verrier
espnW columnist Melissa Isaacson
Announcer Chris Hassel
College sports reporter Chantel Jennings
ESPN Radio First and Last co-host Robin Lundberg
SportsCenter anchor Jay Crawford
SEC football reporter David Ching
NFL reporter Ashley Fox (also a former Inquirer reporter)
Big Ten reporter Brian Bennett
Pac 12 Reporter Ted Miller
espnW columnist Jane McManus
College basketball reporter C.L. Brown
Big 12 reporter Max Olson
MLB reporter Doug Padilla
ESPN columnist Johnette Howard
SEC recruiting analyst Derek Tyson
College football reporter Jeremy Crabtree
NFL reporter Jean-Jacques Taylor
MLB reporter Mark Saxon
College basketball writer Eamonn Brennan
MLB insider Jim Bowden (former GM of the Reds and Nationals)
College football reporter Brett McMurphy
College football reporter Jesse Temple
Big Ten reporter Austin Ward
Soccer writer Mike Goodman
ESPNU anchor Brendan Fitzgerald
NHL columnist Pierre LeBrun
NHL reporter Joe McDonald
NHL columnist Scott Burnside
In addition to the cuts to on-air staff and reporters, the Charlotte Observer reports that ESPN is moving its ESPNU studio from Charlotte to the network's headquarters in Bristol, Conn.. The move will reportedly involve fewer than 10 layoffs.
"These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company," ESPN CEO John Skipper said in a memo sent to employees Wednesday morning, noting that a "limited number of other positions" will also be affected by this latest round of job cuts. A handful of new job openings will also be posted.
"These layoffs were not mandated by [ESPN owner] Disney but are best example yet that Skipper, despite strong content roots, is aware of biz imperatives," wrote James Miller, an ESPN expert and author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. "ESPN is no longer invincible."
On Monday, staff writer Paul Kuharsky, who covers the Tennessee Titans for ESPN, confirmed he was one of the staffers being let go.
Last month, longtime ESPN Mets reporter Adam Rubin said during an interview for The -30- newsletter that he left the network for a PR job at the New York Institute of Technology because he found out his contract wasn't going to be renewed.
"ESPN seems to be bleeding money because of cord-cutting, so my salary was unattractive to them," said Rubin, who is still planning to do a Sunday morning baseball-themed radio show on ESPN 98.7 in New York this season. "And the new MLB editor at ESPN wants to get away from 'thorough' beat coverage — that's the precise word she used — and I suppose I was the sacrificial lamb to hammer home that point."
Disney reported disappointing first-quarter fiscal results back in February, primarily because of weak performance by ESPN and the company's media networks. Advertising revenue declined 7 percent compared to the first quarter last year while programming costs increased, including a new NBA deal that costs the network $1.4 billion a year, a 143 percent increase over its previous contract with the league.
Unlike a 2015 round of layoffs that claimed around 300 staffers, this round of layoffs will spare behind-the-scenes staff. ESPN will also reportedly buy out the contracts of some well-known hosts.
ESPN declined comment about the job cuts. The network has about 8,000 employees across the globe.