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Van Gundy, Kolber, Rose and Young are among roughly 20 ESPN personalities laid off

by Lucas Garcia
2 comments
ESPN layoffs

A group of approximately 20 ESPN personalities, including Jeff Van Gundy, Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose, and Steve Young, were laid off on Friday as part of cost-cutting measures by the network. This move was aimed at preventing further reductions in off-air staff following previous job cuts mandated by the Walt Disney Company, ESPN’s corporate owner.

In February, Disney CEO Bob Iger had announced plans to reduce 7,000 jobs within the company through layoffs or by not filling positions. In an effort to meet financial targets and ensure future growth, ESPN decided to identify additional cost savings in public-facing commentator salaries, resulting in this round of layoffs.

The announcement mirrored a similar incident in April 2017 when reporters and hosts were informed simultaneously about their departure from the network. ESPN stated that this process was challenging, involving individuals who had made a significant impact on the company. The decision to cut jobs was based more on overall efficiency than individual merit, and it would help ESPN manage costs and meet financial goals.

The New York Post initially reported the layoffs of Van Gundy and Rose. Van Gundy had served as the network’s top NBA analyst since 2007 and recently completed his record 17th NBA Finals coverage. Kolber, a longtime ESPN veteran, had co-hosted a nightly show on ESPN2 since its debut in 1993 and also hosted ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” show.

On social media, Kolber expressed her sadness over being laid off but acknowledged her 27-year tenure at ESPN and her 38-year career in the industry, particularly highlighting the longevity of women in the field.

Rose, who had been with ESPN since 2007, primarily contributed to NBA studio shows and had hosted a radio show for 11 years. He also co-hosted the morning show “Get Up” alongside Mike Greenberg when it premiered in 2018.

The NFL coverage and radio divisions at ESPN experienced the most significant impact from the layoffs. Todd McShay, a well-known draft analyst who also contributed to college football coverage, and analyst Matt Hasselbeck were among those laid off. Max Kellerman and Keyshawn Johnson, part of ESPN Radio’s morning show, as well as afternoon host Jason Fitz, were also affected. Kellerman’s afternoon show was unlikely to continue after Pat McAfee signed a deal to bring his show to ESPN in the fall.

Other affected individuals include “SportsCenter” anchor Ashley Brewer, radio and ACC Network host Jordan Cornette, college basketball analyst LaPhonso Ellis, NBA reporter Nick Friedell, baseball writer Joon Lee, and “College GameDay” analyst David Pollack.

Most of the laid-off employees will receive a full pay buyout as part of their contract terms. However, if they choose to pursue another job, they would need to negotiate an exit arrangement with ESPN.

The departures of Johnson and Rose may draw attention, especially after Shannon Sharpe’s departure from FS1’s “Undisputed” due to increased tensions with co-host Skip Bayless.

ESPN is expected to continue assessing its talent pool over the next year as contracts are reviewed or negotiated for renewal. While the network’s contracts for NFL, NHL, and baseball are secured for the foreseeable future, negotiations for the renewal of NBA rights are expected to commence next year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ESPN layoffs

What is the reason behind the layoffs at ESPN?

The layoffs at ESPN were implemented as part of cost-cutting measures by the network to meet financial targets and ensure future growth. The decision aimed to identify additional cost savings in public-facing commentator salaries.

How many ESPN personalities were affected by the layoffs?

Approximately 20 ESPN personalities were laid off, including notable figures such as Jeff Van Gundy, Jalen Rose, Suzy Kolber, and Steve Young.

Will the laid-off employees receive any compensation?

Most of the laid-off employees will receive a full pay buyout as part of their contract terms. However, if they decide to pursue another job, they would need to negotiate an exit arrangement with ESPN.

How will these layoffs impact ESPN’s coverage?

The layoffs will have an impact on ESPN’s coverage, particularly in areas such as NBA analysis, NFL coverage, radio shows, and college basketball analysis. The network will have to reassess its talent pool and potentially make adjustments to ensure comprehensive sports coverage.

Are there any plans for future layoffs at ESPN?

ESPN is expected to continue assessing its talent pool over the next year as contracts are reviewed or negotiated for renewal. While the network’s contracts for NFL, NHL, and baseball are secured, negotiations for the renewal of NBA rights are anticipated to begin next year, which could potentially impact future layoffs.

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2 comments

SportsFan23 July 1, 2023 - 9:39 pm

wow, ESPN layin off so many personalities?! jeff van Gundy, jalen rose, suzy kolber…they’re legends! what a bummer. ESPN wont be the same without them!

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NewsJunkie45 July 2, 2023 - 12:48 am

ESPN cuttin costs, not good for the network. Layoffs hit hard with big names like Van Gundy & Rose gone. Gonna impact sports coverage. Hope they figure it out.

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