The future doesn’t look bright for ESPN.
The sports network sent out a memo on Wednesday announcing the elimination of 150 jobs, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The company says it’s focusing on cutting jobs in production and technical fields. On-air talent will be left untouched for now.
“The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources,” wrote ESPN president John Skipper in the memo. “We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.”
The latest layoffs come shortly after ESPN let go of 100 employees in April–including on-air personalities. In 2015, the network cut 300 jobs.
ESPN faces a number of hurdles, including higher fees for broadcasting live events. The higher costs come at a time when the network has lost 10 million subscribers in the last six years, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Political controversies have arguably also taken a toll on ESPN. Since its on-air talent has become increasingly political in covering sports, the network has exposed itself to backlash from both sides of the political aisle.
In one of the most recent organized efforts against ESPN, left-wing fans boycotted the network to protest the suspension of SportsCenter host Jemele Hill, who called for a boycott of NFL advertisers.
Many conservative fans have also vowed to “cut the cord” on their cable packages as a way of protesting the ongoing national anthem kneeling. Lost cable subscribers translates to fewer subscribers for ESPN.
The network is now walking on a tight-rope in which any action (or inaction) can potentially offend one side of the political spectrum or the other.
Perhaps, they should just layoff their political commentators?
— Craig Walendziak (@Craig_Mack) November 29, 2017
So ESPN stands by an employee who encourages people to boycott ESPN coverage of Dallas Cowboys, but fires 150 people because of declining revenue from NFL advertising? #LiberalLogic
— Lorraine (@locovision) November 29, 2017
Unfortunate that the people behind the scenes are the ones who pay when the people in front of the camera couldn’t keep politics out of sports
— BRoberts (@brobsc) November 29, 2017
On that list as #1 should be @jemelehill Maybe the next round? She’s the reason for rotten ratings.
— DGreene (@baby9er) November 29, 2017
Hopefully just the beginning. ESPN no sports just politics.
— Steven Lapprich (@SLapprich) November 29, 2017
ESPN killed themselves by getting into Liberal Politics
— Joshua Skelton (@jskelton522) November 29, 2017
— Krista A (@LizLemon5759) November 29, 2017