ESPN expects to part ways with 100 of its journalists, analysts, play-by-play specialists and other members of its talent pool as the Walt Disney sports media juggernaut places more focus on its rejiggered “SportsCenter” lineup as well as digital content associated with that program.
A person familiar with the situation said those employees will come from the ranks of on-air talent as well as people devoted to producing reports for its print and online outlets. Already, Paul Kuharsky, a nine-year ESPN veteran who has covered the Tennessee Titans and southeastern NFL teams, indicated via Twitter that he did not expect his current contract to be renewed when it expires in July.
“Our content strategy – primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand – still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble,” said ESPN President John Skipper in a memo sent to employees. “Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demand.”
Others who are leaving include Ed Werder, a longtime NFL reporter; Scott Burnside, an NHL columinst for ESPN.com; ESPNU anchor Brendan Fitzgerald; and MLB analyst Jim Bowden.
More to come…