Tuesday September 26, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Nate Silver Leads List Of Execs Laid Off By Disney and ESPN

  • His FiveThirtyEight blog will continue without him.
  • This week’s layoffs hammering off-camera talent.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies

We delve into the potential long-term impact of the five-month strike.
Listen Now
September 26, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

More names continue to emerge out from what’s shaping up as ESPN’s worst round of layoffs in years.

The looming specter of a layoff has hung over ESPN since parent Walt Disney Co. announced in February it would cut 7,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in costs. ESPN could lose up to 100 executives and staffers this week.

Over the first few days, ESPN’s radio/podcast operations and the FiveThirtyEight blog seem particularly hard hit. Some of the names identified as sadly leaving Disney/ESPN since the pink slips began flying Monday morning include: 

  • Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight. He was named as one of the “The World’s Most Influential People” by Time in 2009. That didn’t save him from the layoffs impacting high-salaried executives and off-camera talent. ESPN bought it in 2013.

“Disney layoffs have substantially impacted FiveThirtyEight. I am sad and disappointed to a degree that’s kind of hard to express right now,” Silver tweeted Tuesday. “We’ve been at Disney almost 10 years. My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it.”

Silver’s FiveThirtyEight colleagues Maggie Koerth, Chadwick Matlin, Alexandra Samuels, Anna Rothschild, Andrew Mangan, Curtis Yee and Elena Mejia also tweeted their layoffs on Tuesday.

“Looks like over half of the FiveThirtyEight newsroom got laid off (including me). Horrible day,” tweeted Mejia.

  • Russell Wolff, ESPN executive vice president and general manager of ESPN+. The longtime boss of international operations was once considered a candidate for the ESPN presidency held by Jimmy Pitaro and John Skipper. But the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Wolff was among those leaving the company. 

“The company has invested heavily in ESPN+, but has been cautious about moving major sports content from its TV channel to that service,” noted the WSJ.  “ESPN+, which had 24.9 million subscribers as of Dec. 31, streams live events from the National Hockey League and other leagues, as well as original programming. The service costs $9.99 a month and is also available in a bundle with Disney+ and Hulu.”

Disney is open to potentially selling an equity stake in ESPN.

ESPN Hit By Disney-Mandated Layoffs

ESPN layoffs is part of Disney’s drive to slash 7,000 jobs.
April 24, 2023
  • Peter Gianesini, ESPN’s senior director of digital audio programming. The 25-year veteran announced on LinkedIn that his position had been eliminated during the current restructuring. Gianesini served at ESPN for 25 years. 

“Thank you to the talent who trusted me with their voice and their reputation. I never, ever took that responsibility lightly,” he wrote.

  • Mike Soltys, ESPN’s vice president of corporate communications. The beloved 43-year veteran is ranked as ESPN’s second-longest tenured employee. The PR executive joined the new network as an unpaid summer intern in 1980. His wife, Teresa, is undergoing her second round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. 

Tributes poured in for Soltys, a savvy strategist who deftly massaged one crisis after another for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

“There is no more demanding place to work in sports television than ESPN,” tweeted Fred Gaudelli, the longtime executive producer of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage. “The fact that @espnmikes flourished there for 43 years tells you all you need to know about Mike Soltys.”

Added former ESPN colleague Howie Schwab: “What makes me upset about Mike Soltys being laid off is twofold. After 43 years of loyalty, he couldn’t leave on his own terms. Second, he is going through a lot with his wife having cancer. Cruel business world now.”

  • Louise Cornetta, program director for ESPN Audio. She tweeted she was out after a 26-year run at the Worldwide Leader. “Excited for a new adventure…and never seeing snow again!” she wrote.
  • Scott McCarthy, vice president of ESPN Audio, is among the layoffs, according to Barrett Sports Media.
  • Ditto for Ryan Hurley, program director of ESPN’s 98.7 radio station in New York.
  • Plus, Amanda Brown, program director at the ESPN LA 710 radio station.

ESPN’s on-air talent will come under the microscope this summer as the last wave in the rolling layoffs. Talents with expiring contracts or with less than a year left on their deals will be vulnerable.

Some talents will be offered painful pay cuts for as much as half of their current salaries.

This is a developing story that will be updated

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

NFL's Swift Mania Starting To Show Impact Through Merch Sales, Viewership

Taylor Swift stole the NFL's spotlight by attending Sunday's Chiefs game.
First Take vs. FS1

Sharpe: 'First Take' Would Still Beat 'Undisputed' Without Stephen A.

Even if Smith leaves, Sharpe said he will still beat Skip Bayless in the ratings.

ESPN Reportedly Closing Studios In Aftermath Of Layoffs

ESPN's Seaport studio will reportedly close by 2025.

Oakland-MLB Relationship Devolves Into Next-Level Toxicity

Commissioner, mayor have very different accounts of July meeting
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies


Featured Today

Jacksonville Jaguars Team President Mark Lamping addressed community members at Strings Sports Brewery on Main Street for the first of 14 planned town hall sessions to present the team's plans for the new "stadium of the future" complex and address the public concerns.

Jacksonville Jaguars President Walks Back Stadium ‘Threat’

"Viewing those comments as a threat to leave Jacksonville isn't correct."
Chatri Sityodtong
September 25, 2023

ONE Championship's Quest To Challenge Rival UFC Through U.S. Expansion

Leveraging its Amazon deal, ONE Championship seeks to expand in U.S.
September 24, 2023

Savannah Bananas Break All The Rules To Hit The Mainstream

Team concludes 2023 tour with even-bigger plans for next year
Deion Sanders with The Rock on ESPN's "College GameDay."
September 23, 2023

Deion Sanders Generated $45M In Earned Media For Colorado

From Sept.1-22, Sanders generated $45.7M for the public university.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Coach Prime bringing improved tv ratings.

Coach Prime's Colorado Changing College Football Viewing Habits

The excitement around Deion Sanders and Colorado is helping drive record September TV ratings for college football.
Chiefs-Bears was the most-watched NFL game on any network this week — averaging 24.3 million viewers on FOX.
September 26, 2023

CBS Nets 13-Year High in September NFL Viewership

This month’s NFL on CBS broadcasts averaged 18.69 million viewers.
Viewership for TNF on Amazon is up 21% through two weeks over last season.
September 26, 2023

Amazon Gets Back-to-Back 'Thursday Night Football' Ratings Wins

Amazon's TNF viewership is up 21% through two weeks over last season.
Ohio State players celebrate after after their defeat of Notre Dame in the final seconds at Notre Dame Stadium.
September 25, 2023

Ohio State-Notre Dame Scores Historic 10.5M Viewers for NBC

It was NBC’s second-most-watched regular-season college football game ever.
The in-market KnightTime+ streaming service will offer 69 regular-season games.
September 25, 2023

Vegas Golden Knights Launch New Streaming Model Amid RSN Fallout

The KnightTime+ streaming service will offer 69 regular-season games.
September 24, 2023

Fox Opts For College Sports Over WWE Post-UFC Merger

Fox has plenty of college sports to lean on in WWE's absence.
Deion Sanders on College GameDay
September 22, 2023

ESPN Beats Rival Fox in Deion Sanders Bowl

ESPN’s “College GameDay” more than doubled the audience of Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” in Boulder.
Deion Sanders and The Rock
September 21, 2023

Deion Sanders Reshaping College Football Fanbase With Buffaloes Surge

Deion Sanders has made Colorado "Black America's Team."