ESPN will let go 300 of its employees, in addition to leaving 200 other unfilled positions open. These cuts will reach journalists and on-air talent in many parts of the company. However, ESPN Esports appears to be particularly affected by the layoffs.
ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro attributes the layoffs to financial losses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the company is focusing on the importance of reaching viewers through its streaming service, ESPN+. As a result, the cuts are largely focused on employees involved in broadcast television.
On top of these factors, ESPN is also reportedly changing the way it presents esports news, focusing more on video content. This shift has brought layoffs that have effectively gutted ESPN Esports as it currently exists.
Many former ESPN Esports employees revealed the layoffs would affect them via Twitter on November 5 and 6. These include associate editors Sean Morrison and Brian Bencomo, along with staff writer Emily Rand and video producer Thomas Tischio.
Others impacted by ESPN Esports layoffs
Prominent esports journalist Jacob Wolf revealed that he would also part ways with ESPN upon the expiration of his contract. However, he noted that he had already made plans to leave and had found another work opportunity. As a result, the ESPN Esports layoffs seemingly did not catch him off-guard as they did many others.
A 19-year-old Wolf joined the company in 2016, making him the youngest person ever hired by the company. Wolf said he expects to work on the 2020 Rift Rewind League of Legends Free Agency Special on November 16. However, his tenure with ESPN will presumably reach its conclusion come the end of the year.
Wolf has been retweeting statements from several others caught up in the ESPN Esports layoffs. Among them are staff writer Tyler Erzberger and video producer and host Daniel J. Collette.
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