The latest corporate restructuring at ESPN has flooded the sports media market with some very recognizable talent.
When Walt Disney’s sports media juggernaut pink-slipped 100 anchors, writers and analysts last week, it made available some of the medium’s most durable names: “SportsCenter” stalwarts, veteran baseball and hockey beat writers and masters of long-form sports storytelling. ESPN has positioned the move as one made to focus on personnel who fit a lineup devoted to personality-driven “SportsCenter” broadcasts and digital-video projects built around them.
But the network doesn’t operate in a vacuum. There are scads of competitors — Fox Sports 1, NBCSN, CBS Sports Network, cable networks operated by the major sports leagues and sports sites like The Ringer, the sports and culture site under the aegis of former ESPN star Bill Simmons — that could provide a welcome home for those let go.
Below we look at a few of the people leaving ESPN and ponder where they might go:
Jay Crawford: ‘SportsCenter’ anchor; age, 51 (top left)
ESPN diehards may remember Crawford from his time hosting “Cold Pizza,” the ESPN2 morning show that evolved into “First Take.” His ability to mix sports news with a lighter take on events would make him a reliable host at a number of venues.
Jayson Stark: Baseball writer; age, 65 (top middle)
A former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Stark enjoys the sort of national reputation for big-league coverage that seems to be fading from sports media. His perspective would lend credibility to a radio broadcast or sports network. Might MLB Network want him in its lineup?
Ed Werder: NFL writer; age, 56 (top right)
This 17-year ESPN vet has a deep knowledge of the Dallas Cowboys and was a regular contributor to “SportsCenter” and “Monday Night Countdown.” His nearly 210,000 Twitter followers show his popularity among pigskin fans. He could carry the ball for the NFL Network.
Jaymee Sire: ‘SportsCenter’ anchor; age, 37 (bottom left)
Known most recently as host of the revamped morning edition of “SportsCenter,” this TV news veteran has extensive experience as a sideline reporter for the Oakland A’s, the Golden State Warriors and the Little League World Series.
Britt McHenry: Reporter; age, 30 (bottom middle)
Washington D.C.-based McHenry was at the center of an odd viral incident in which a video of her berating a convenience-store employee sparked attention on social media. Could Fox Sports benefit by creating a comeback story for her?
Steve Delsohn: Reporter; age, 59 (bottom right)
This veteran sports scribe has contributed to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” where his work won a Peabody Award. Delsohn has several in-depth books to his credit, including The New York Times best-seller “Out of Bounds” with NFL great Jim Brown and “Talking Irish: The Oral History of Notre Dame Football.” Delsohn said in a brief interview via Twitter that he was starting to figure out his next steps. Perhaps Sports Illustrated or a sports news outlet keen on long-form investigations could make use of his talents.