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ESPN Layoffs Confirmed by Network; Could Affect as Many as 400

Image: ESPN Layoffs Confirmed by Network; Could Affect as Many as 400

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 21 May 2013 02:22 PM

ESPN is reportedly planning to lay off hundreds of staffers Tuesday, sports website Deadspin reported, in the network's first major staff reduction since 2009.

A network spokesman confirmed the layoffs in a statement, and Twitter speculation from industry insiders suggests as many as 400 people could be without a job.

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"We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs," the statement reads. "While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive."

Though ESPN is wildly profitable, its parent company Disney is reportedly asking all of its divisions to cut costs in spite of last week's video publicizing ESPN's new "SportsCenter" set that reportedly cost the network $125 million to build.

The network also repeatedly pays huge amounts of money for sports rights. Earlier this month, ESPN closed an 11-year deal worth more than $770 million for rights to broadcast the U.S. Open tennis tournament starting in 2015.

"I was laid off from ESPN today after nine and a half years," one worker wrote in to Deadspin Tuesday. "Completely out of the blue, no warning at all. I was told it was 10 percent across the board, which would be roughly 400. I was told the reason was they needed to make their profit margin and they chose to do that via layoff of staff."

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Staffers are said to be able to continue getting paid through the end of July and are entitled to a severance package that includes two weeks pay for every year worked at ESPN.

The majority of layoffs are supposedly in the technology sector.

ESPN has an estimated 7,000 employees.

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