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ESPN shuts down esports news division as part of massive layoffs

After more than four years of covering esports news, ESPN will be closing down its esports news division.

ESPN Esports goes dark as part of massive layoffs

ESPN will no longer have a dedicated esports division as part of a massive lay-off that saw more than 300 jobless. The company also leaves over 200 positions unfilled, massively downsizing its workforce in the process.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, ESPN’s chairman said to the employees last Thursday:

“Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports,” Pitaro wrote in a memo that was obtained by The New York Times. “The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions.”

While its daily news coverage and editorials will cease operations, ESPN will still be covering major esports events and news. While it no longer has a dedicated esports division, it will still cover esports as part of the bigger organization. The media company’s esports page will no longer release new articles, and its Facebook and Twitter pages will go dark.

ESPN started covering esports back in 2014, and established its esports division in 2016. The establishment of its esports division represented a change in outlook for the company, which initially didn’t take esports seriously. The growing viewership and valuation of the whole industry helped changed the minds of ESPN’s decision-makers, as they saw more and more people tune in to esports events over the past decade.

More recently, ESPN Esports entered the livestreaming space, producing video content, as well as holding esports competitions of their own. Last July, it held a Rocket League tournament with a $25,000 prize pool. Just last month, ESPN Esports hosted an All-Women Call of Duty Tournament.

However, the livestreaming experiment didn’t work out. The turnout for their viewership wasn’t good enough to sustain itself, reports Esports Observer.