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ESPN Lays Off About 100 Staffers and Notable On-Air Personalities

Throughout the day on Wednesday, ESPN management telephoned approximately 100 employees of the network, including several prominent on-air personalities, that they were losing their jobs.

Of those most notable who were let go by ESPN: NFL analyst Trent Dilfer, NFL reporter Ed Werder, baseball reporter Jayson Stark, college basketball analyst Len Elmore, college basketball reporter Dana O’Neil, SportsCenter anchors Jay Crawford, Jaymee Sire, Darren M. Haynes and Jade McCarthy and legal expert Roger Cossack.

Although ESPN didn’t reveal who had been laid off, several of those fired — including the aforementioned people — took to social media to announce the end of their ESPN jobs.

In recent years, ESPN has been beset by rising fees to broadcast live events while an increasing number of cord-cutting TV viewers have been canceling their ESPN subscriptions. ESPN has lost approximately 10 million subscribers since 2011, based on Nielsen Media Research estimates.

ESPN had also laid off about 300 of its workers in 2015, but on-air talent was mostly spared from those cuts.

In addition: The Charlotte Observer reported that ESPN will move its ESPNU studio operation from Charlotte, N.C. to Bristol, Conn. A few ESPNU positions will remain in Charlotte. Sports Illustrated has learned that ESPN will use some of MLB Network’s studio programming in the near future.

ESPN chief John Skipper said Wednesday the company wants to provide distinctive content all the time on multiple screens, with more personality-oriented “SportsCenter” broadcasts, and is keeping people best suited to the new strategy.

Our goal continues to be to maximize our unparalleled scale in every medium with storytelling that stands out and makes a difference,” Skipper said in a memo to employees. “We are well-equipped to thrive going forward by embracing those themes.”

When Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch asked about the mood around the ESPN offices on Wednesday afternoon, one longtime anchor succinctly replied: