‘They Forgot Their Core’: ESPN’s Linda Cohn Says ESPN’s Politics Are Hurting Business


The mass layoffs at ESPN dominated conversation in the sports media industry last week. The sports media giant reportedly cut as many as 100 people from their payroll last week.

In an interview with WABC Radio, Linda Cohn, who has been at ESPN since 1992, put much of the blame for the network’s woes on the exorbitant rights fees they paid to sports leagues, in which they are still on the hook for escalating fees even after shedding millions of subscribers because of cord-cutting.

But WABC host Sid Rosenberg mentioned several progressive political causes that either some ESPN hosts or the network at large have championed of late (including Colin Kaepernick‘s National Anthem protests and Caitlyn Jenner being given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award), and said to Cohn: “There seems to be a lot of folks that have a distaste for the way ESPN goes about some of their programming and some of their promotions when socially folks don’t accept these things.”

“You’re right,” Cohn said. “That is definitely a percentage of it. I don’t know how big a percentage, but if anyone wants to ignore that fact, they’re blind.”

The question about whether sports media entities and personalities should “stick to sports” has been hotly debated in recent months. Cohn appears to be coming down on the side of sticking to sports.

“I felt that the old-school viewers were put in a corner and not appreciated with all these other changes,” Cohn said. “And they forgot their core. And you should never forget your core and be grateful for your core group.”

Listen above, via WABC Radio.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: joed@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo