ESPN Announces Layoffs of Prominent Commentators and Reporters Amid Cost Cutting Measures

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In a bid to achieve cost savings and meet its financial targets, ESPN, the sports media giant, recently announced a round of layoffs involving approximately 20 on-air commentators and reporters. Notable figures such as Jeff Van Gundy, Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose, and Steve Young were among those affected by the job cuts. This move follows two previous rounds of mandated cuts by ESPN’s parent company, the Walt Disney Company, as part of broader cost-reduction measures.

The Layoffs and Company Strategy:

The decision to lay off on-air talent, including renowned analysts and hosts, was made in an effort to prevent further reductions to the off-air staff at ESPN. Disney CEO Bob Iger had previously stated plans to reduce 7,000 jobs through either not filling positions or implementing layoffs. ESPN’s recent announcement mirrors a similar situation that occurred in April 2017 when multiple reporters and hosts were informed of their departure from the network.

ESPN’s statement highlighted the necessity of identifying additional cost savings, particularly in public-facing commentator salaries, to maintain overall efficiency and future growth. The company emphasized that these challenging decisions were based on financial targets rather than individual merit. ESPN anticipates a small group of short-term job cuts, along with ongoing cost management during individual contract renewals in the coming months.

Prominent Figures Affected:

Among the notable personalities affected by the layoffs were Jeff Van Gundy, a prominent NBA analyst who had served as ESPN’s top NBA analyst since 2007. Van Gundy recently completed his record 17th NBA Finals broadcast. Suzy Kolber, a longstanding ESPN veteran who co-hosted a nightly show during ESPN2’s debut in 1993 and hosted ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” was also let go. Jalen Rose, a prominent NBA studio analyst and co-host of Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” morning show, had been with ESPN since 2007.

Impact on NFL Coverage and Radio Programs:

ESPN’s NFL coverage and radio programming experienced significant losses due to the recent layoffs. Notable figures such as longtime draft analyst Todd McShay, analyst Matt Hasselbeck, and ESPN Radio’s morning show team of Max Kellerman and Keyshawn Johnson were among those affected. The departure of Kellerman’s afternoon show on ESPN was inevitable after the network signed Pat McAfee to bring his show to its airwaves in the fall. Jason Fitz, an afternoon host on ESPN Radio, was also impacted by the layoffs.

Future Prospects and Talent Assessment:

ESPN is expected to continue assessing its talent pool over the next year as contracts come up for review or negotiation. Although ESPN has long-term contracts in place for NFL, NHL, and baseball coverage, negotiations for the renewal of NBA rights are expected to commence next year. The network had already initiated some reductions by not renewing contracts for NHL studio analyst Chris Chelios, longtime “SportsCenter” anchor Neil Everett, and NFL analyst Rob Ninkovich.


ESPN’s recent round of layoffs involving prominent commentators and reporters, including Jeff Van Gundy, Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose, and Steve Young, reflects the network’s efforts to achieve cost savings and maintain financial targets. While the decision was based on overall efficiency rather than individual merit, it highlights the challenges faced by the sports media industry. ESPN will continue to review and assess its talent pool as it navigates contract renewals and negotiates future broadcast rights, ensuring that it remains a dominant force in sports coverage.