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.
“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.
This morning The Athletic announced layoffs of 46 staffers. I’m one of them. For two years, I got to be a part of the best sports writing team in America. I got to cover the Lakers. I’m deeply sorry that it’s ending, but it has been one of the great experiences of my life.
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) June 5, 2020
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.
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.
I was informed that this will be my final day at The Athletic due to economic constraints resulting from the covid-19 pandemic. I’ve had an absolute blast covering the Atlanta Falcons. I want to thank every person who subscribed to read my work over the past two years.
— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) June 5, 2020
Thanks to @TheAthletic for three great years. I was among today’s round of layoffs. I wish my former colleagues nothing but the best. And a special thanks to @amather @TheAuthletic and @ByJasonLloyd for the opportunity.
— Tom Reed (@treed1919) June 5, 2020
Today was my last day at The Athletic as well. I echo everything Dustin says below. These last eight months were incredible and I wouldn’t trade my time on this team for anything.
If you know anyone who needs a sportswriter, I’m available for hire and my DMs are open. https://t.co/h63lOuJ1RO
— Danielle Lerner (@danielle_lerner) June 5, 2020
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