ESPN Lays Off More Workers. Cord Cutting Effects or Politics?

Viewers all across the web are speculating on who’s to blame. Strong opinions ensue.

Here’s the memo, hot off the presses, from ESPN President John Skipper:

Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated.

We appreciate their contributions, and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.

The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.

We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.John

Unlike April’s 100-plus layoffs, which were entirely among on-air staff, today’s will be behind-the-scenes employees, most of them based in Bristol. Between the two rounds of layoffs, that’s more than three percent of ESPN’s entire workforce getting let go this year (not including new hires).

Luke Bouma over at CordCuttersNews speculates that the layoffs are primarily related to the impacts of cord cutting. However, many have expressed that subscribers are fleeing in response to political viewpoints invading sports – an escape that has historically been a safe refuge from politics. While we share the opinion that, at least in part, ESPN’s woes are a natural outgrowth of the tidal wave of cord cutting, ESPN is still considered a vital programming option, even for cord cutters.

For example, here is a good cross section of opinion showing two divergent viewpoints on the issue:

Its interesting to note that the first comment, critical of ESPN’s political views, would appear to be the prevailing opinion across the web. However, a wider look at viewer opinion appears to reflect the partisan divide in the country with about half sharing similar opinions on either side of the issue.

What’s your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments below:

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