Disney continues its road to profitability by cutting staff, this time at ESPN, where as many as 400 people lost their jobs in a cost-cutting measure to offset increased licensing fees for various sports. Although ESPN is sort of a fiefdom of Disney, it is still subject to the same kind of bottom line boosting via staff cuts that has been taking place elsewhere at Disney.

UPDATE, 11:54 a.m.: A laid-off ESPN employee writes us:

I was laid off from ESPN today after 9 and a half years. Completely out of the blue, no warning at all. I was told it was 10% across the board, which would be roughly 400. I was told the reason was they needed to make their profit margin and they chose to do that via layoff of staff.
UPDATE, 12:10 p.m.: More from the laid-off staffer:

btw…..we were told that the layoffs ARE tied to the profit margin that ESPN needs to meet and the fact they haven’t met that number. Your comments about them buying all of these live rights and now needed to reduce overhead costs is dead on.

A few people sent this link to us and wondered anxiously if Marvel might also go under the knife. My only semi educated guess is “No” because they have long been the poster child of manpower austerity.


  1. thats rough. wish everyone the best. just another reminder that no matter how profitable the company you work for is, you’re always vulnerable.

  2. ESPN is responsible for the vast majority of Disney’s profits. This is one of the all-time killing the goose that lays the golden eggs corporate moves. God help Marvel the day Disney realizes it can outsource all of Marvel’s content creation to a third world economy and people will still buy the comics.

  3. Having been to this rodeo a few times myself (and having been privy to the budget numbers) I’ve always wondered why staff are the first to go. Staff, especially anyone below C-level, are relatively cheap investments. When you’re spending $260M to make a single movie and about $50M on those 400 mid-level staffers each year, it just doesn’t add up to significant savings. Especially when that staff is who you’ll need to generate the profit next year.

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