On Wednesday, ESPN laid off over 100 employees blaming expensive TV rights deals and steady year-to-year cable subscriber losses. However, some feel that ESPN is losing subscribers is because they are inserting politics into their programming.
One of those people that are supporting this theory is longtime SportsCenter host Linda Cohn, who has worked at ESPN for over 25 years. Cohn seems to agree that the network’s political stances have contributed to their downfall.
Via NY Post
“That is definitely a percentage of it,” Cohn said Thursday on 77 WABC’s “Bernie and Sid” show when asked whether certain social or political stances contributed to the stupor that resulted in roughly 100 employees getting the ax this week. “I don’t know how big a percentage, but if anyone wants to ignore that fact, they’re blind.”
The example used was of the 2015 ESPYs. Jenner, a former Olympic champion in the decathlon, won the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for publicly coming out as a transgender woman. Some felt athletes suffering from disease or disability — such as college basketball player Lauren Hill, who died from cancer three months before the ceremony, and marathoner Noah Galloway, who lost an arm and a leg in the Iraq War — were more deserving.
Cohn, a 25-year ESPN veteran, toed the company line.
“You know, when you work for a big company, you have to follow in line, you have to pay the bills,” she said. “But you just kind of look in the mirror and do what you think is right no matter what else is going on around you. And that’s what I always tried to do.
It’s hard to say whether ESPN’s political views and stances have anything to do with ratings or subscriber losses, but it is apparent that there is a large group of sports fans (and employees) that are unhappy with the network’s political stances.