ESPN to begin layoffs early next week as part of Disney cost cuts, sources say


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ESPN will begin layoffs early next week as part of parent company Disney‘s cost cutting efforts, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cuts will include some on-air talent and management, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The number of layoffs at ESPN is unclear and the decision process is still fluid.

An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.

Disney is eliminating 7,000 jobs in three rounds, with the second round happening next week, said the people. The company will also lay off about 15% of the staff in its entertainment division next week, Bloomberg reported this week.

Disney’s first round of cuts occurred last month and included its metaverse strategies unit and part of its Beijing office.

Disney is slashing costs under CEO Bob Iger as it tries to boost free cash flow as streaming losses persist. ESPN is interested in renewing a contract with the National Basketball Association and will likely have to pay a significant premium on the $1.4 billion per year rights fee it already pays the league. Renewal discussions with the NBA are already taking place, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Disney said earlier this year it plans to cut $5.5 billion in costs, including $3 billion in content spending.

ESPN laid off about 300 employees in 2020.

Disney reorganized earlier this year, and ESPN will release its financials as its own division for the first time. The change will offer a clearer window into ESPN’s business.

Disney is set to report earnings on May 10.

WATCH: Disney eliminates metaverse division as part of layoffs plan

Disney reportedly cuts metaverse division