Fox Sports lays off staffers as part of corporate restructuring

(Logo: Fox Corporation/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Fox Sports issued pink slips to around 80 workers this week as part of a corporate restructuring effort following the sale of broadcast assets to the Walt Disney Company.

The approximate number of employees affected by the layoff was confirmed by a source with knowledge of the move. The news was first reported by entertainment blog The Wrap on Friday.

The layoffs impacted workers on low-rated Fox Sports productions across the Fox broadcast network, FS1 and FS2.

The move was not unexpected: Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox Sports, had for months planned to issue pink slips as part of a corporate restructuring following the sale of its Fox Sports-branded regional networks to the Walt Disney Company last year (the networks are now owned by Diamond Sports, a subsidiary of the Sinclair Broadcast Group).

On Friday, a Fox Sports spokesperson said the measure was part of the company’s “commitment to become a more efficient organization.”

“We are taking steps to streamline our business,” the spokesperson said. “As a result, today we announced the restructuring of several positions.”

The website Barrett Sports Media said most of the layoffs at Fox Sports occurred on Thursday.

It was the second round of layoffs to hit the Fox Sports group in less than two months. In June, the trade publication Sports Business Journal said nearly two dozen employees had been laid off. That restructuring was unrelated to the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, the broadcaster said.

Around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Fox Sports employees were asked to take a 15 percent cut in pay, mirroring requests made to employees at Disney’s ESPN and other sports networks as businesses pulled commercial spending and sporting events ground to a halt.