ESPN will move out of its studio in New York’s South Street Seaport by the 2025 fiscal year, and will likely shut down its Los Angeles production center and move staff back east or have them work remotely, according to Puck News.
The report comes as Disney reportedly plans to slash about $5.5 billion in costs over the next few years, with cuts in jobs, operational expenses and a reduction on spending for non-sports content.
Back in April, Disney-owned ESPN started to notify staff that layoff notices would be coming. So far this year, ESPN has let go of staff both in front of and behind the camera, including veterans like Jeff Van Gundy and Suzy Kolber. In total, over 300 ESPN staff have reportedly been let go over the last few months, part of Disney’s broader plan to eliminate 7,000 jobs across the company.
Part of these cuts may include reducing the number of studios ESPN has. ESPN could move its South Street Seaport operations to the new ABC studios being built in New York or back to ESPN’s headquarters, Puck said. .
This all comes as the head of ESPN says the growth of cord cutting may force them to launch their new streaming services earlier than originally planned. Last week, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro gave an update on the sports network’s streaming plans at the IMG Summit in London, according to Sports Pro Media.
“We truly do not have a date,” said Pitaro. “We know we have to get this right in terms of timing and price point. We have a really great strategy team that’s on this. It’s their number one priority, getting it right.
“Part of that is also that ESPN+ is going so well for us,” Pitaro went on to say. “We have a ton of exclusive content that’s performing very, very well for the platform. So we don’t necessarily feel the urgency. Again, we’ll see how the next year plays out in terms of traditional [cable] subs and if things continue to accelerate in terms of cord-cutting and the decline, then yes, we will probably pull that date to early an earlier point than we’re right now currently considering.”
ESPN seems to be looking for ways to cut costs and increase its sources of revenue. Consolidating studios will help with the former, and launching a new streaming service could help with the latter.
An ESPN spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the Puck report.