According to an ESPN source, the layoffs will come mostly, but “not exclusively,” from tech and sales departments (think regional offices: Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle). Layoffs will begin tomorrow and Thursday will begin today and tomorrow, but may extend beyond that into June. Some of the “cuts” will not be jobs lost but open positions left vacant.
The source says UNITE is on the air tonight. Those affiliated with the show have not yet been notified, but suspect it will be cancelled as reported.
The source claims the cuts are part of a broader corporate tightening ahead of CEO Bob Iger’s departure. The paradigm being used is Marvel, which underwent substantial budget cuts and layoffs in 2011 after being bought by Disney but remains incredibly profitable.
UPDATE: Some additional details from an ESPN source:
The currents cuts, as stated before, will be mostly in the Sales and Technology departments. Some of the offices include Burbank, NYC and Denver. There is no fixed number of layoffs.
ESPN is reviewing its entire studio production department over the next 3-4 weeks, which is about 2,800 employees. It is possible some shows will be cut.
These layoffs are part of a Disney-wide process. They are being sold as entrenching ESPN’s “dominant position in the marketplace” long term. The up front expenses of securing ESPN’s various rights deals were cited as a reason for money being tight.