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ESPN laying off 100 on-air employees

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/26/2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 100 on-air personalities at ESPN, including former athletes-turned-broadcasters Trent Dilfer, Len Elmore and Danny Kanell, have lost their jobs as part of a company-wide restructuring that emphasizes a more digital future.

The sports network has been squeezed by increased rights fees paid to broadcast live events at the same time as millions of cord-cutting TV viewers are abandoning the company.

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.

ESPN isn't saying who has been fired. Many are releasing the news on social media, including NFL reporter Ed Werder, baseball reporter Jayson Stark and college basketball reporter Dana O'Neil.

Former morning host Jay Crawford, football columnist Jane McManus, ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald, hockey reporter Pierre LeBrun, soccer reporter Mike Goodman, baseball analyst Jim Bowden and baseball reporter Mark Saxon were among the others to announce their departures.

"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."

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