Wednesday was a forgettable day for a number of journalists and others on-air talents as dozens of them were laid off by ESPN, according to a report by New York Times.

ESPN losing its audience

The “World Wide Leader in Sports” has been struggling for the past few years due to declining number of subscribers and the rising cost to broadcast major sporting events. Bringing the Super Bowl to the TV audience doesn’t come cheap as the network reportedly signed an eight-year, $15.2 billion deal extension with the NFL in 2011.

ESPN also has a $12 billion deal with the NBA and $7.3 billion for the college football playoffs.

Over the years, ESPN lost 10 million subscribers as many sports fans turn to their smartphones and watch video highlights of the games instead of watching it on "Sports Center." However, this is not the first time ESPN has Laid off employees.

Back in October 2011, the network was forced to lay off around 300 employees as it searches for ways to cut costs due to changing consumer habits.

ESPN’s message to the employees

John Skipper, president of ESPN, wrote a letter to his employees that stated, “Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent necessary to meet those demands.”

It was reported that ESPN was the reason for an 11 percent drop in Disney’s cable networks division in terms of operating income for the recent quarter compared to the same period from last year.

ESPN defended itself by blaming higher NFL and NBA programming costs and at the same time, lower ad sales that translated to weak results.

The laid off staff

NFL reporter Ed Werder was among the first to announce on Twitter that he had been laid off. He has been with the network since 1998. Later Wednesday, Trent Dilfer, former NFL quarterback and a high-profile NFL analyst, also announced that he was let go by the network.

Here are a few names that people might recognize that were laid off:

  • Jayson Stark, baseball writer since 2000.
  • Len Elmore, college basketball analyst since 1996.
  • Danny Kanell, host of “Russillo and Kanell” since 2009.
  • Calvin Watkins, NBA reporter since 2011.
  • Melissa Isaacson, a columnist since 2009.
  • Ted Miller, a Pac-12 reporter since 2008.
  • Brian Bennet, Big Ten reporter since 2008.

What do you think of the layoffs made by ESPN?

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