ESPN announced Wednesday that it was laying off 150 people, about 2 percent of the sports broadcasting juggernaut’s 8,000 employees. Unlike a round of cuts earlier this year in which ESPN laid off about 100 people, this one was not expected to include prominent on-air personalities.
“Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated,” the network’s president, John Skipper, said in a memo. “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 redirect resources.”
In April, ESPN laid off several well-known on-air personalities, including the former N.F.L. players Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell, and longtime employees like John Clayton and Jayson Stark. In October 2015, ESPN laid off about 300 people.
It has been a trying year for ESPN. Its flagship channel has lost about 1.4 million cable subscribers since last year, costing it tens of millions of dollars in revenue and continuing a trend that has seen the network lose 13 million subscribers over the past five years.
ESPN has also frequently found itself in the middle of cultural and political wars. The company updated its social media guidelines, but not before the White House called for the firing of a prominent “SportsCenter” anchor after she called the president a white supremacist on Twitter. And last month the company canceled a partnership with Barstool Sports after facing vociferous internal pushback, largely from female employees.
The network has been searching for ways to cut costs as fans increasingly watch sports video clips on their mobile devices rather than on traditional highlight shows like “SportsCenter.” ESPN is locked into expensive, long-term contracts for programming with sports leagues, so savings must primarily come from a reduced staff. The network does expect to continue hiring in some areas.
ESPN is also adapting “SportsCenter” for the digital present and future. A Snapchat version of the show that airs twice each day debuted this month, and on Wednesday ESPN also announced it was eliminating the 7 to 11 p.m. editions of “SportsCenter” that had aired on ESPN News.
Skipper, who has led ESPN since 2012, had his contract extended earlier this month. In September, he reshuffled responsibilities of top executives, for the second time this year.
In 2018, ESPN will open a new studio in New York City. It will broadcast “Get Up,” a sports version of traditional network morning shows, hosted by Mike Greenberg, as well as a new afternoon opinion show. ESPN will also redesign its smartphone app, and begin selling ESPN Plus, a subscription streaming product that it hopes will attract those who do not currently subscribe to cable.