ESPN is looking to save jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the New York Post. The four-letter network is asking its top 100 on-air personalities to take a 15 percent pay cut for the next three months. Some of the talent who have reportedly agreed to take a pay cut are Stephen A. Smith, Scott Van Pelt, and Dick Vitale.
"We are asking about 100 of our commentators to join with our executives and take a temporary salary reduction," ESPN said in a statement. "These are challenging times, and we are all in this together." ESPN is doing this because they don't want to lay people off during the pandemic. The plan is to ask the highest-paid employees like Smith and Van Pelt to take a pay cut, and other employees can continue to get paid.
"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented sacrifices and like our global workforce has demonstrated, the sports talent we represent intellectually understands that and are embracing the request," Endeavor president Mark Shapiro, who represents Smith, told The Post. Other personalities who have agreed to a pay cut are Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, and Jay Bilas. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote: "ESPN executives were telling the agents of the on-air people that the move is designed to save jobs of lower-paid personnel. ESPN, like all of Disney, is having furloughs. The first at the network to be hit were people who work on remote events that are currently not taking place."
Because of no sports being played, ESPN has been having to do different things in terms of content. Repeat of games have been played during the prime-time spots, and they recently started airing Disney sports movies. It's not clear when live sports will return, but President Donald Trump is ready to have sports back, saying on Tuesday: "We have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old."
Disney owns ESPN, and the company is going through its share of issues during the pandemic. It was reported this week that Disney World is furloughing 40,000 employees starting on April 19. The park has been closed since March 16, but officials took heat after having a "farewell party" on its last night open while coronavirus was spreading.