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Why Did ESPN Layoff Hundreds of Employees?

Jason Barrett

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ESPN recently cut 300 employees and this layoff is just the first round with a few more anticipated. There are two main reasons for ESPN’s struggles: Losing subscribers and spending large amounts on sports broadcasting.

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In regards to losing subscribers, the chart above shows ESPN is declining in regards to households with subscriptions to the company. Cable companies are composing packages that exclude ESPN, resulting in a loss of 8.5 million subscribers over the past 4-5 years.

Additionally, ESPN is spending egregious amounts on the rights to broadcast certain sporting events. The new deal concerned with airing Monday Night Football for the NFL equates to $1.9 Billion. The amounts for other major and non-major sports or events are not far behind. ESPN predicts an amount of nearly $6 Billion combined from all major commitments by 2018 and beyond.

Essentially, ESPN is overpaying for many of their events including Monday Night Football. Fans and critics alike are concerned that there may not even be a bidder within $500 Million of that number (Sports Business Daily).

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The rights to air Monday Night Football games will undoubtedly earn ESPN a profit. However, overpaying is not a smart business decision. This set the template for overpaying for the rights to air NBA and MLB games. ESPN is competing with itself when it comes to bidding for rights.

The moves, including layoffs, continued a troubled period for the sports media giant that started when Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC, “The business model may face some challenges over the next few years.” Consequently, these concerns raised eyebrows and advised many to sell-off media stocks during the past summer.

Disney’s sports media arm is trying to right the ship and pivot on certain aspects of their business plan. Let us all hope that they remain afloat.

Credit to the Urban Twist who originally published this article

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College GameDay Plans for Saturday’s Show Live at Clemson Despite Hurricane Ian Threat

“Regarding the weather this week, we will be actively monitoring the storm but are planning for a normal GameDay experience,” ESPN spokesperson Julie McKay told The State.

Jordan Bondurant

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Hurricane Ian

In an otherwise seemingly quiet 2022 hurricane season, the Atlantic coast is now hunkering down in anticipation of the arrival of the first major storm. But despite the outlook, ESPN is moving forward with plans as of now to broadcast College GameDay live from Clemson University this weekend.

Hurricane Ian is forecasted to be somewhere between a Category 3 and Category 4 storm when it makes landfall along the Gulf coast of Florida this week, and the storm’s path as of Monday has it tracking up the Atlantic coast moving into the weekend.

Of course that could all change, as hurricanes are a bit unpredictable sometimes. But according to the Charlotte Observer, ESPN is planning for a normal broadcast of GameDay at Clemson on Saturday morning.

“Regarding the weather this week, we will be actively monitoring the storm but are planning for a normal GameDay experience,” ESPN spokesperson Julie McKay told The State. “Public safety is always our primary concern so if anything changes, we will be prepared to adjust accordingly.”

The university is also monitoring the storm’s path, as the Tigers ACC showdown with 10th-ranked N.C. State could be impacted. The game is not scheduled to kick off until 7:30 p.m. Saturday, so it all just depends on what the forecasted impact from the remnants of Ian looks like.

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Kevin Harlan Said He Got to call Bills-Dolphins Game Sunday “By Luck”

“I don’t know anyone could have forecast that it would be this kind of setup. It was determined before the season even began. We kind of got lucky, and that’s basically it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sunday’s thrilling Miami Dolphins victory over the Buffalo Bills turned out to be one of the top games of Week 3 of the NFL season. Buffalo running out of time at the end of their 21-19 loss infuriated offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey so much that he essentially trashed everything in front of him in the booth. The moment was captured by CBS cameras and became a viral moment on social media.

For play-by-play man Kevin Harlan, getting the chance to call the game for CBS was predetermined by the network brass before the season even started.

“It’s just by luck and just by the draw that we got this game,” Harlan told Richard Deitsch of The Athletic. “I don’t know anyone could have forecast that it would be this kind of setup. It was determined before the season even began. We kind of got lucky, and that’s basically it.”

Harlan noted that the broadcast crew assignments are put together for the first three weeks of the season. From there it becomes a week-to-week sort of thing. But network executives do put a lot of thought into who goes where.

“I think people think that we are throwing darts up at a board and putting broadcast teams wherever, but there’s a lot that goes into it,” Harlan said. “(CBS Sports executives) have multi-person meetings where they’re looking at (coverage) maps, trying to figure out where our games will go and what teams will draw the best audience. Clearly, when you have (Jim) Nantz and (Tony) Romo as our signature team, they want to put them with the best teams, as they should. The rest of the crews all kind of fall in line after that.”

Kevin added that while Nantz and Romo could’ve easily been in Miami instead of Indianapolis like they were, they’re glad they stuck to the plan. Still, while an early season battle between two 2-0 teams on paper seemed amazing, that didn’t change Harlan’s mindset and prep work.

“CBS decided not to make a change. We’re thankful for that,” he said. But (he, broadcast partner Trent Green and sideline reporter Melanie Collins) would approach this game if was 0-2 versus 0-2 the same exact way.”

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NFL Sunday Ticket Crowded With More Issues in Week 3

A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

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The NFL Sunday Ticket issues that appeared in the first two weeks of the NFL season continued to show themselves in Week 3.

In the first two weeks of the season, DirecTV was lambasted online for not being able to provide customers access to the entire NFL slate as the service promises. On Sunday, it was much of the same. A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

DirecTV has one more year of the service’s distribution rights before it will move on to another company. The new company that will host the NFL Sunday Ticket feature has not been announced.

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