"It's not going to be pretty."
ESPN is reportedly gearing up for another round of layoffs before the end of the year, according to Sporting News. Earlier this year, the worldwide leader in Sports laid off more than 100 employees, including several high-salaried TV talent and reporters, many with multi-year contracts.
Sporting News' Michael McCarthy, reports that the latest round of cutbacks could come next month, or in early December. Anywhere from 40-60 employees may be laid off and it is expected to impact both on-air TV/radio talent as well as behind-the-scenes production staffers.
Per Sporting News,
"This time it won't matter if you're 'liked' or not. It's not going to be pretty," one source warned.
Another source expects the flagship "SportsCenter" franchise to lose people in front of and behind the camera. "I see (ESPN) going down a path where they have less staff — and hire more production companies to provide programs and fill air time."
ESPN has dealt with several controversies in the last few months, including the suspension of SC:6 co-host Jemele Hill and the cancelling of "Barstool Van Talk" after just one episode.
Hill, who co-hosts SC:6 with Michael Smith, recently returned from a two week suspension stemming from comments she made on twitter about boycotting NFL advertisers over the response to national anthem protests.
Prior to the suspension, Hill had made headlines for her criticism of President Trump, who she called a white supremacist and "the worst president of my lifetime."
According to Sporting News, ESPN's dwindling subscribers, their billion-dollar TV rights deals for the NFL, NBA and other sports, and expensive talent costs are driving the lay offs.
"ESPN overpaid for NFL and NBA sports rights at the same time it was losing 12 million subscribers due to cord-cutting. Those millions in lost subscriber revenue, while still paying the fixed cost of TV rights deals, are driving the continuing layoffs, according to sources."
Although the SportsCenter franchise is expected to lose some on air and behind the scenes talent, it's unclear whether the impending layoff will effect newer editions of the program such as Hill and Smith's "SC:6" or Scott Van Pelt's late night show.