Earlier today Disney-owned ESPN started to notify staff that layoff notices will be coming. This is part of Disney’s plan to cut 7,000 jobs across all areas of the company. Now ESPN says this week’s layoffs will only be the first and will include some onscreen talent also.
These layoffs even include senior longtime ESPN staff. The Sports Business Journal reports that ESPN exec Mike Soltys who has been with the company for 43 years was notified that he will be let go this summer.
Last week Bloomberg reported that Disney will cut thousands of jobs next week as part of its already announced cuts. This is one more step in Disney’s plans to cut 15% of its staff across its entertainment division.
This will include cuts to its TV, film, theme parks, and corporate teams in all areas. Notifications of the cuts will start reaching employees as soon as April 24th.
In total, once all cuts are made, Disney plans to cut about 7,000 jobs. This is reportedly being done by both not filling empty jobs and laying off as many as 5,000 employees.
Disney reportedly plans to cut about $5.5 billion in costs over the next few years. Job cuts are only a part of these cost-cutting efforts. With these cuts, $2.5 billion will be cut from operational costs, and $3 billion will come from cutting back on spending for non-sports content.
Here is the memo sent to staff today:
As Bob Iger previously said, Disney is reducing its workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs as part of a strategic and streamlined realignment. Today I am sharing the difficult news that we are beginning to notify ESPN employees whose positions are impacted.
As we advance as a core segment of Disney, with operational control and financial responsibility, we must further identify ways to be efficient and nimble. We will continue to focus our workforce on initiatives that are most closely aligned with our critical priorities and emphasize decision-making and responsibility deeper into the organization. That said, I do not want to minimize the enormous toll of saying goodbye to dedicated colleagues that have worked tirelessly to strengthen ESPN and deliver for sports fans. The people of ESPN, and their constant resolve to get the job done, to excel and to innovate, have built this place. We will act with compassion, respect for our colleagues, and professionalism as we face these hard circumstances.
Employees in this wave will hear from their leader and HR partner this week. We will have another wave of notifications that will be completed by the start of the summer for those that are not in front-facing talent roles.
To those that will be leaving ESPN, I want to thank you for your many contributions and reinforce that the company is here to support you during this challenging transition. Please reach out to your HR Partner if you have any questions.
While these decisions were made with considerable thought, I also want to recognize that we understand that this has been a long — but thorough — process with a lot of uncertainty. This type of action impacts everyone. Thank you for your continued patience.
ESPN has been built on camaraderie, resilience, and a collective passion to serve sports fans. Those values are crucial during tough times. Please continue to be supportive of each other.