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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

ESPN could reportedly ask top talent to take pay cuts

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ESPN is reportedly on the verge of laying off hundreds of employees due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the network could also look to trim overhead by paying some of its top talent less money.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports was told by sources that ESPN could lay off somewhere between 300 and 700 employees in the coming weeks. While the layoffs are expected to have the greatest impact on behind-the-scenes employees, it’s possible the network could ask some of its highest-earning on-air talent and executives to take salary reductions.

ESPN is losing another one of its top on-air personalities, as Keith Olbermann announced this week that ESPN is letting him out of his contract so he can launch a political show on YouTube.

The need to save money is said to stem from the struggles parent company Walt Disney World Co. is experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney World in Florida was closed for months, while Disneyland in California remains closed. The Disney Cruise Line has also not been offering any sailings.

ESPN pursued some huge names for its “Monday Night Football” broadcast team this season, but the network turned to in-house candidates after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The network is reportedly focusing on expanding its NFL, NHL and NBA television rights in the coming years.

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