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May 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

When Disney reported strong second-quarter profits earlier this month, it singled out cable sports network ESPN as a major contributor to the results with revenue rising 9 percent to $3.4 billion. But on Tuesday ESPN issued a surprise announement that it was laying off nearly 400 employees “to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs.” Sports blog Deadspin, which first announced the layoffs, speculated that the cutbacks may have been prompted by the recent increase in ESPN spending. Only last week ESPN announced that it had acquired exclusive rights to broadcast the U.S. Open tennis tournament. An ESPN employee who said that he had been laid off “out of the blue” after nine years with the network, wrote that “we were told that the layoffs ARE tied to the profit margin that ESPN needs to meet and the fact they haven’t met that number. Your comments about them buying all of these live rights and now needed to reduce overhead costs is dead on.”