The Athletic lays off 46 staffers as pandemic hits media industry

The Athletic lays off 46 staffers as pandemic hits media industry

The Athletic, a subscription-based online sports publication, laid off 46 staffers Friday while reportedly implementing pay cuts across the company.

The layoffs, which amount to 8 percent of The Athletic's staff, comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the media industry, with many companies having to furlough employees, enact pay cuts or lay off people amid a severe hit to the advertising market and the broader economy.

“With sports on pause due to the ongoing pandemic, today we made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our staff in select coverage areas, affecting approximately eight percent of employees,” The Athletic said in a statement.

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“While we are hopeful that sports will soon resume, this measure was necessary to ensure that the company can weather the uncertainty that lies ahead. Overall, our subscriber base remains steady and we are proud of our newsroom’s continuing coverage of the return of sports,” it added.

Axios, citing a staff memo, reported that The Athletic co-founder and CEO Alex Mather also indicated that most employees will be asked to take a 10 percent pay cut for the remainder of the year, with a bigger cut applying to those making more than $150,000 a year.

Professional and amateur sports have largely been on hold since mid-March, with only NASCAR returning last month. Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League are on hold, but are moving to various degrees to reopen their seasons.

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Consequently, media outlets such as ESPN and Fox Sports have been forced to offer old events or debate programs, with sports publications like The Athletic having much less to write about.

Several employees of the publication, including those losing their job, took to social media to share their feelings on the layoffs.