ESPN employees had a tough week as the company eliminated 500 positions , laying off 300 workers while not filling open positions for an additional 200 spots.
While employees all reacted in their own way, a pair of anchors Saturday morning took some time on the show to address the news. Anchor Nicole Briscoe did most of the talking while fellow anchor Randy Scott sat beside her. Briscoe became emotional talking about her departed co-workers.
“We also wanted to do something a little different this week because it’s no secret it’s been a rough week here at ESPN,” Briscoe said. “You don’t see them, so a lot of times you don’t see their names. But Elida was the heart and soul of this operation. And not a week goes by that I don’t hear from Eric Lynch … Seth Horowitz was always one of those guys who said, ‘I’m living my dream working at ESPN.’ That’s like so many of us who get to walk through these doors and spend time on this campus.
“So all of us, we’re all hurting because that’s what this global pandemic has done to us. But some of us have been hit harder and more permanently than others. But when we have each other, we have everything. It doesn’t matter what name is on your paycheck, because family doesn’t change.”
Briscoe became emotional while talking about the impact of COVID-19 and how we’ve all been impacted by it at some point this year.
Former ESPN stalwart Bob Ley also tweeted about the news earlier on in the week, ripping into his former employer.
Trying to remain objective and unemotional as I learn of the @espn team members laid off today. Not possible. Not as I see countless decades of journalistic experience, and expertise jettisoned. Just when we need it most. Enjoy the DIS stock price and your NFL football.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) November 5, 2020
ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro explained the decision in an internal memo to the company.
That memo, which can be read below, was obtained by Front Office Sports :
Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions. In the short term, we enacted various steps like executive and talent salary reductions, furloughs, and budget cuts, and we implemented innovative operations and production approaches, all in an effort to weather the COVID storm. We have, however, reached an inflection point.
The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever.