The president of ESPN announced in a statement Wednesday that the sports landscape is changing, in terms of how people consume their product. In response the industry giant will be “enacting a number of organizational changes at ESPN to better support future goals — a process that will include the elimination of a number of positions.”
Quinnipiac Sports Studies and Journalism Professor Rich Hanley said the company is anticipating a future of sports broadcasting that is much different than today.
“So they’re preparing for a decline in viewership simply because people are cutting subscriptions to cable,” said Hanley. “Nobody anticipated that this would happen so quickly.”
An ESPN spokesperson tells News 8 that 300 positions will be eliminated, across the board. Of those, 200 are people based at the headquarters in Bristol. Hanley said with sports consumption shifting to mobile devices, ESPN is trying to stay ahead.
“ESPN is figuring it is past the time when you could basically put any game or sports show on and draw people and get people to subscribe to cable,” said Hanley. “Those days are over. Has to be nimbler, more creative.”
Hanley said right now, ESPN charges $6 per month for cable subscription, saying that’s extremely high compared to other networks. And that they’ll need to adjustments for emerging technology that is quickly changing the landscape.
“Perhaps reducing that price to keep (more people) in the fold, keep people in ESPN’s most profitable division, which is cable,” said Hanley.
ESPN received several million dollars from the state a few years back, as incentive to remain in Connecticut and also to meet employment quotas. An ESPN spokesperson told News 8 that they’ve fulfilled their obligation.