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Why Did ESPN Layoff Hundreds of Employees?

Jason Barrett

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ESPN recently cut 300 employees and this layoff is just the first round with a few more anticipated. There are two main reasons for ESPN’s struggles: Losing subscribers and spending large amounts on sports broadcasting.

espnhouseholds

In regards to losing subscribers, the chart above shows ESPN is declining in regards to households with subscriptions to the company. Cable companies are composing packages that exclude ESPN, resulting in a loss of 8.5 million subscribers over the past 4-5 years.

Additionally, ESPN is spending egregious amounts on the rights to broadcast certain sporting events. The new deal concerned with airing Monday Night Football for the NFL equates to $1.9 Billion. The amounts for other major and non-major sports or events are not far behind. ESPN predicts an amount of nearly $6 Billion combined from all major commitments by 2018 and beyond.

Essentially, ESPN is overpaying for many of their events including Monday Night Football. Fans and critics alike are concerned that there may not even be a bidder within $500 Million of that number (Sports Business Daily).

espnhouseholds2

The rights to air Monday Night Football games will undoubtedly earn ESPN a profit. However, overpaying is not a smart business decision. This set the template for overpaying for the rights to air NBA and MLB games. ESPN is competing with itself when it comes to bidding for rights.

The moves, including layoffs, continued a troubled period for the sports media giant that started when Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC, “The business model may face some challenges over the next few years.” Consequently, these concerns raised eyebrows and advised many to sell-off media stocks during the past summer.

Disney’s sports media arm is trying to right the ship and pivot on certain aspects of their business plan. Let us all hope that they remain afloat.

Credit to the Urban Twist who originally published this article

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Erin Andrews: Tom Brady Will Be ‘Amazing’ as ‘NFL on FOX’ Broadcaster

“Everybody’s worried about the commentating. I’m just like, ‘The guy’s skin. I have to deal with this, him being on my crew.’”

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Tom Brady
Courtesy: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Although the start of the National Football League regular season schedule of games is still several months away, there is palpable anticipation and excitement towards the proceedings. The lead broadcast crew for the NFL on FOX broadcast will include seven-time Super Bowl champion and former NFL quarterback Tom Brady as the color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi. At the same time, Andrews is continuing her podcast, Calm Down with Erin and Charissa, with co-host and FOX Sports colleague Charissa Thompson on the iHeart Podcast Network. Both Andrews and Thompson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC Thursday night to discuss the podcast and how the idea came about.

Thompson explained that she remembers being nervous working on her first day as a member of the FOX Sports team. As she was walking through the door on campus, she remembers Andrews running out to give her a hug and inform her that she would be there for her for anything she needed. When the pandemic hit, Andrews remembered thinking that everyone had a podcast and that they should try to do it. Since launching the show, it has rapidly grown with candid conversation, celebrity interviews and live events.

“You’re crushing it,” Fallon said. “It’s so great; it’s so fun to listen to you guys. I’ve heard you with, I think Derek Jeter was one of those [guests].”

Fallon wanted to know what Andrews and Thompson thought about having Brady join the FOX Sports broadcast team for the upcoming NFL season, which will culminate with Super Bowl LIX from Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La. Andrews replied by stating that they have spoken to him in person and then asked Fallon if he had ever been around him, to which he replied that he had. Fallon articulated that Brady is good at everything, bringing up being good looking and his skill in golf as two examples, something that he finds annoying.

“And that’s the biggest thing,” Andrews said. “Everybody’s worried about the commentating. I’m just like, ‘The guy’s skin. I have to deal with this, him being on my crew.’ I know because we talk about it a lot on our podcast.”

Andrews later shared that she believes Brady will be amazing in the broadcast booth for his inaugural season, beginning with his debut on Sunday, Sept. 8 when the Dallas Cowboys face the Cleveland Browns at 4:25 p.m. EST. The schedule for games televised by FOX Sports includes several marquee NFC teams throughout the year, along with a rivalry game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in late December.

“His résumé supports that he’s great at everything he does,” Thompson said, “so why would this be any different?”

Fallon reminisced on attending a basketball game with Brady in the past, recollecting that Brady knew the game was over despite there being time left. It turned out that Brady was correct, being able to decipher the score and probability that the opponent would come back from the deficit. Brady’s adept sports knowledge and ability to discuss the nuances of the game is a sentiment understood and concurred by Andrews and Thompson.

“I’ve sat with him [at] lunch before and he’s been telling stories about his career, and it’s like stuff we just die for,” Andrews said. “Love the inside information, right, and you’re hearing all the stuff you just always wanted to know, and my knee was just bouncing and bouncing and bouncing.”

“And then you get Julian Edelman, who’s on the show I host with him, and Rob Gronkowski,” Thompson added. “You get those three together – the three amigos – hilarity ensues.”

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Jim Ross Hospitalized, Will Miss AEW Double or Nothing

He has been dealing with the flu, raised heart enzymes and trouble breathing.

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Photo of AEW announcer Jim Ross
Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling

Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross will miss this weekend’s AEW pay-per-view event, Double or Nothing in Las Vegas as he was hospitalized on Thursday with shortness of breath. Ross said on his X account that he had to make an unexpected visit to the ER. He told Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer he has been dealing with the flu, raised heart enzymes and trouble breathing. Meltzer said Ross expects to be fine within a few days.

Ross, 72, has been making limited appearances for AEW of late and recently has only been appearing on pay-per-views. He recently signed a one-year contract to remain with AEW.

Ross has had a few medical issues over the last few years which have forced him to miss time. In 2021 he was treated for skin cancer and about a year ago a fall led to him stepping away for a bit.

Ross recently had a new book published, Business Is About to Pick Up! which chronicles 50 of his best calls from his 5-decade career in the wrestling business. Ross also hosts a weekly podcast, Grilling JR.

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Jimmy Roberts, Mary Carillo and Andrea Joyce Named NBC Olympics Commentators

“My career in relation to the Olympics has been one ‘pinch me’ moment after another.”

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Courtesy: SkySports

NBC continues to announce commentators for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris. This week they announce longtime Olympics voices Jimmy Roberts, Mary Carillo and Andrea Joyce will be a part of the coverage.

“Mary, Andrea and Jimmy have provided the compelling reporting and storytelling that is a hallmark of our Olympic presentation. We are thrilled to have them back on our team for Paris,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer, NBC Olympics Production in a release.

A 13-time Sports Emmy winner, Roberts will be providing coverage for his 20th Olympic games and his 12th for NBC. Roberts worked his first Olympics as a production assistant for the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

“My career in relation to the Olympics has been one ‘pinch me’ moment after another,” Roberts said. “I’ve been fortunate to have seen things I will never forget, iconic things. For me, though, the lasting memory of the Games is about the many remarkable people I’ve met along the way. Athletes, of course, like Dan Jansen, who gets my vote for the most memorable story I’ve covered. Also, it’s the people I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. Not only Hall of Famers like Jim McKay, Bob Costas, and Mike Tirico, but the hundreds of talented and tireless folks on the other side of the camera with whom you become family. It’s really an amazing dynamic.”

Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer Mary Carillo will be working her 16th Olympics and 13th for NBC. She started her Olympics broadcasting career at the 1992 Albertville Olympics as a skiing reporter for CBS.

“When you cover as many Olympics as I have you inevitably come to think you know how to judge every sport,” Carillo said. “Doesn’t matter that you’ve never tried most of them, especially all those crazy winter events. Doesn’t matter that you only watch them for a few days every four years. Does that stop you from declaring that it was the luger’s blunder on turn 27 that cost him the gold? Hell, no. That the forward lean on that last ski jump was premature? That the fall lines in the Nordic combined must be obeyed! Is it any wonder that by the end of it all when you order coffee you find yourself saying, ‘Triple lutz salchow twizzle. With oat milk.’ It sucks you in, the weeks of the Olympic Games. And if you’re as lucky as I am, every morning you text your two great friends, Andrea and Jimmy. You write, ‘Heading down to breakfast.’ And they come. And it’s gold.”

Andrea Joyce, also a member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, will be working her 17th Olympics and 13th with NBC. She started working the Olympics with ESPN in 1988.

“It’s always so incredible to be surrounded by the passion and determination of the athletes…many of whom train their whole lives in relative obscurity for just one moment in the spotlight,” she said. “Beyond that, I love the spirit of generosity at the games. No matter what is going on in the world, the Olympics makes us all feel like we are part of one community…a constant reminder that we are more alike than we are different. To share that with my co-workers is a true gift. Over the years I was incredibly lucky to witness Simone Biles make history countless times. But my favorite wasn’t a gold medal performance. In Tokyo, after withdrawing from the competition, Simone made a remarkable comeback on the last day for the balance beam final. She won the bronze. Seeing her reaction and the emotion from her teammates was a true Olympic moment. After all her historic accomplishments, Simone told me that moment and that bronze medal would always rank among her best memories.”

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