ESPN has lost more than 10 million subscribers in recent years as more and more people are going without cable, the New York Times reports. That decline had major consequences Wednesday when the sports network laid off about 100 of its on-air talent and journalists. Just a few of those cut loose by ESPN, according to USA Today: Ed Werder, Trent Dilfer, Jayson Stark, Jim Bowden, Scott Burnside, Pierre LeBrun, Danny Kanell, and Jay Crawford. In a memo to staff, ESPN President John Skipper called the layoffs "a necessary component of managing change."
ESPN's problem is that while it's losing subscribers, it's also paying billions for the rights to broadcast pro and college sports—and those rights are only getting more expensive. The network currently pays $15.2 billion to the NFL, $12 billion to the NBA, and $7.3 billion for the college football playoffs, just as a start. Deadspin argues Wednesday's layoffs aren't really meant to be a permanent fix for ESPN's problems but to act as "symbolic sacrifices" to buy "a little more slack from investors." This past quarter, ESPN parent company Disney blamed the network for the entirety of the 11% decline in its cable network division's operating income.