ESPN confirms cessation of eSports editorial operations. ESPN Esports will be ceasing its entire esports division, notwithstanding work that has already been filed. The division will no longer publish new news or articles. Its social media accounts will also go dark in the coming days.
ESPN Esports fell victim to the latest round of layoffs the company announced last week. It left writers Tyler Erzberger and Emily Rand announcing their departure alongside editor Sean Morrison and video producer Thomas Tischio. Esports journalist Jacob Wolf earlier announced that he would not be returning after his contract expires in January. Senior editor Darin Kwilinski abruptly announced his resignation last week.
“We have made the difficult decision to cease operations for our dedicated daily esports editorial and content,” an ESPN spokesperson said. “We recognize esports as an opportunity to expand our audience, and we’ll continue to do so through coverage from the broader team for major events, breaking news and coverage.”
ESPN reported last Thursday, according to Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN ‘s chairman, it was cutting approximately 500 workers of its existing workforce to “weather the COVID storm.” Of the 500, 300 positions were laid off, with the other 200 coming from a decision not to fill any empty positions.
However, the esports division was already experiencing budget cuts in areas like freelance. Writers were advised that for the bulk of its news coverage, the division would use syndicated material from Reuters. The travel budget was tightened, and at lower wages than previously seen, new writers were signed.
Looking ahead, ESPN has secured rights for various events on an event-by-event basis with an upcoming broadcast slate that includes NBA 2K, V10 R-League, F1 Esports, and more.