Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs.  (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs. (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he isn’t surprised about the massive layoffs at ESPN. In fact, he predicts they will continue for the next several years.

In an interview Wednesday on CBS Radio in Cleveland, the former ESPN yapper said the WorldWide Leader is forking over too much money for rights agreements. The network is now paying $3.3 billion annually to broadcast the NFL and NBA.

“This is not going to end today. They have really cost-prohibitive contracts, combined with cord-cutting,” Cowherd said. “I said this [last year] when they cut 350 people, I said it the next day, it’s awful, and it will happen annually for the next decade.”

ESPN signed a whopping nine-year contract with the NBA worth $1.4 billion annually that kicked in at the start of this season. The network inked a $15 billion rights deal with the NFL, despite an increasingly lackluster Monday night schedule. In addition to “Monday Night Football,” ESPN receives access to game highlights and broadcasts one postseason contest per season.

Given the prevalence of cord-cutting, the strategy of overextending for TV contracts doesn’t appear to be a sustainable business model.

“At Fox, we pay $1.1 billion for the NFL,” Cowherd said. “You have the 1:oo window and the 4:00 window, wild card games, NFC Championship, and two of the next four Super Bowls. We make a lot of money on the NFL … ESPN pays $1.9 billion, gets a bunch of highlights, no Super Bowls, and one increasingly irrelevant Monday Night Football game. We have a great NFL contract, they have a really marginalized NFL contract.”

Cowherd is one of several big name ESPN personalities who’s left Bristol in recent years. The longtime talk radio host signed with Fox Sports in 2015 for a contract that pays him more than $6 million annually. Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Skip Bayless are also no longer with ESPN. The WorldWide Leader was reportedly prepared to offer Bayless a deal worth roughly $4 million per year, but Fox Sports topped them.

Since ESPN is hemorrhaging subscribers –– its lost at least 12 million households over the last five years –– it will likely keep looking to cut costs. The WorldWide Leader can seemingly no longer afford to pay exorbitant rights fees and keep its newsroom intact.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
ESPN is cutting virtually all of its NHL coverage. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

ESPN is cutting most of its NHL coverage. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Hockey diehards often lambast ESPN for skimping on NHL coverage. But now it looks like the WorldWide Leader is preparing to ignore the sport all together.

As expected, ESPN underwent mass layoffs Wednesday, cutting dozens of high-profile employees so it can trim tens of millions of dollars from its payroll. The network’s relatively minuscule NHL department was hit hard, with three respected reporters receiving their walking papers.

NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun, columnist Scott Burnside and Boston-based reporter Joe McDonald have all announced they were laid off. The status of anchor John Buccigross, who plays a significant role in the network’s Stanley Cup Playoff coverage, remains uncertain. The Hollywood Reporter said earlier Wednesday he was let go, but walked the story back. Buccigross’ contract expires July 1 and hasn’t been renewed.

“Whatever happens, I’m very optimistic about the future of ESPN and about my future,” Buccigross told Sporting News last month. “We both will be fine. I’m not the anchor for gossip. I go into work with my head down, work with our producers to put a compelling 60 minutes together, and walk out the door and drive to my rural Connecticut home singing Jason Isbell songs. I get home, eat 10 pieces of American cheese and then read until I fall asleep.”

Given Barry Melrose was the only NHL analyst to receive significant television time, the coverage on “SportsCenter” and other studio shows likely won’t be much different. But the NHL’s limited exposure on ESPN’s digital properties will probably be further minimized.

Since ESPN doesn’t own NHL rights, this decision isn’t surprising. Like every other TV network, ESPN is interested in promoting its own programming.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

The attorney for Aaron Hernandez’s alleged prison friend affirmed Wednesday his client enjoyed a close relationship with the disgraced ex-NFL star.

Aaron Hernandez's family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

The attorney for Aaron Hernandez’s alleged prison friend affirmed Wednesday his client enjoyed a close relationship with the disgraced ex-NFL star.

At a press conference, Lawrence F. Army Jr. said Kevin Kennedy, the 22-year-old armed robber who Hernandez reportedly befriended at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, was the intended recipient of Hernandez’s third suicide note. State officials have confirmed the other two letters were written to Hernandez’s fiancee and four-year-old daughter. A judge ruled copies of the messages will be given to Hernandez’s family.

“My client has also relayed to me that he and Aaron Hernandez were close friends and spent a great deal of time together in prison,” Army said in his opening statement.

Army wouldn’t confirm the nature of their relationship, saying Kennedy will address that himself at a later date. The Daily Mail reports Hernandez and Kennedy were seeing each other behind bars.

Kennedy, who’s currently on suicide watch, is believed to be the last person Hernandez saw before he hanged himself in his prison cell last week just before 3:00 a.m. Army said Hernandez told Kennedy he was thinking about ending his life three weeks ago. “I think I’m going to hang it up. LOL,” the note allegedly said.

Army also claims Hernandez gifted a $50,000 watch to Kennedy on his 22nd birthday. The whereabouts of the piece of jewelry is unknown.

Army said he’s requesting the note in question be released to his client. The content of the letter is apparently unclear, because it was written in code. But Army says it was meant for Kennedy, citing the closeness of their relationship and a prison source. Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, insists no such letter exists.

In an apparent effort to prove Kennedy’s friendship with Hernandez, Army read aloud one sentence from a letter the former Patriots tight end purportedly wrote to Kennedy’s father. “He’s my brother and always will be,” it said.

In September 2006, Hernandez and Kennedy asked to live with each other, Army said. But the request was denied.

“Aaron Hernandez was one of the most powerful forces as a person [Kennedy] has ever known, Army said. Aaron could took any situation, no matter how bad it seemed, and turn it into a positive.”

Kennedy was arrested in January 2015 for robbing a Cumberland Farms gas station in Northbridge. During the burglary, he was sporting a black mask and wielded a butcher knife. Police handcuffed him after a high-speed chase.

Kennedy is eligible to be released from prison March 1, 2018.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?

[0:01:35] ... I think you hinted that god should be pissed off the both Matt Barnes throw but he figures. I think you authorities to check in the area seven years old Oregon and and what is wrong ...
[0:03:42] ... It it's really just one person it's usually just pissed off at Matt Barnes I don't think well if Matt Arnold I don't know. When Hibbert went 31 thing about Rodriguez not be able to get it done. And Matt Barnes missing who think Johnson call for them. You don't think we're Troy wanted to end it Jessica when he wanted to hit. Wanted to gun rights right you are met or they have to get stuff done that are made him made the entire team personally but to knuckle into the first and so John Ferrell hold for Matt borns to throw that that at some unintended the item in the week we all agree with the. But none of info that I mean it might have been bought the point is is that. Might have been Chris Sale might have been report Selma and Carl Willis. It might have been Craig Kimbrel out the bullpen the leader of the bullpen you know it could have been one of ...
[0:05:29] ... the dugout there should be saying this is all what it's done Matt Barnes runs on the open in Joe's which out or. But do we beat you were the bullpen to be called continental or wasn't we're done we're done when it Machado is next at bat so I think that's the only thing we're tickets not meet them. Once you rod miscue. I want it in off. They didn't. So there's a bunch of waiters the way that's the only thing and they'll manage and handle it it just is is I guess is calling out Matt Barnes and the love affair with a shot. It's like two to bettering guy's guy you know we should be on the same ...
[0:07:40] ... hello it's the softest hundreds. But you know you are done as Matt Barnes is our eighth inning guy he's been effective in Matt Barnes he's member you don't drown. Each. Well but again got a guy like that slightly up barrel would have to know about ...






Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?

John Skipper has just sent memo to all @espn employees. Layoffs announced today. Around 50 names you will recognize; another 50 you may not.

— jamesmiller (@JimMiller) April 26, 2017

ESPN is making major layoffs on Wednesday and many of the those affected are big names at the Worldwide Leader. Here is the ones we know so far:

— NFL reporter Ed Werder

— Hockey writer Joe McDonald

 

— Titans beat writer Paul Kuharsky

— NHL columnist Scott Burnside

— Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun

— College basketball reporter Dana O’Neil

— ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald

— Soccer writer Mike Goodman

— Big Ten reporter Austin Ward

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge
Buck joins the guys to discuss his piece on how the Red Sox need to address the Dustin Pedroia-Matt Barnes situation.

[0:03:49] ... little that these days. So so no I had no problem with Dustin Pedroia he's a rookie years in MVPs of gold glove winner he's won two World Series is probably gonna go all the pain. ...
[0:05:02] ... and you and I when we do agree is that is that John Farrell does some wacky things as manager. And on a regular basis I call him out. And the idea for all the people who said he's not a great game manager but that's not the most important thing is is that not a calling kind of John Farrell didn't come Brodsky say it. And and rob Bradford sales while the writers that we saw the passing game manager but that's not the most important thing that place home. That's the most important thing is that the way he runs the club ousted at the same page that is organization. Sometimes I don't see any organization I didn't see it in his last communication. I people in this case and one of the biggest concerns and coming in this season was there. Losing to real well. And David Ortiz that it would be in my view okay along with the public about where its name because he's not the about a ...
[0:07:04] ... job is that it's an athletic game you met we don't know Matt Barnes and John Ferraro. They gave it right we don't try to hit him on purpose and I have no problem but that's ...
[0:10:55] ... the team. That that is Kenya Africa put it this way if Matt Barnes didn't have any you you'll you know there's a good idea of the anatomy and Matt Barnes didn't have an issue with a Dustin Pedroia kidneys too scared to reveal that's what are just concerned OK I know hold on us too scared to reveal. Because the joy is though he isn't that locker room. OK but if he was a veteran you reduction and got right back and rejoice faith that this should happen you know I did try to hit him in the head. You everybody note which I don't know if you try to hit it in ahead. But the agency tried to hit them he missed a spot ski get scared because nobody wants you know there is what you would but I hardly think Matt Barnes is spot was. It's a bit of the bill but yes and yes but the guys are once guys uncomfortable thrown its ...






Buck joins the guys to discuss his piece on how the Red Sox need to address the Dustin Pedroia-Matt Barnes situation.

[0:03:49] ... little that these days. So so no I had no problem with Dustin Pedroia he's a rookie years in MVPs of gold glove winner he's won two World Series is probably gonna go all the pain. ...
[0:05:02] ... and you and I when we do agree is that is that John Farrell does some wacky things as manager. And on a regular basis I call him out. And the idea for all the people who said he's not a great game manager but that's not the most important thing is is that not a calling kind of John Farrell didn't come Brodsky say it. And and rob Bradford sales while the writers that we saw the passing game manager but that's not the most important thing that place home. That's the most important thing is that the way he runs the club ousted at the same page that is organization. Sometimes I don't see any organization I didn't see it in his last communication. I people in this case and one of the biggest concerns and coming in this season was there. Losing to real well. And David Ortiz that it would be in my view okay along with the public about where its name because he's not the about a ...
[0:07:04] ... job is that it's an athletic game you met we don't know Matt Barnes and John Ferraro. They gave it right we don't try to hit him on purpose and I have no problem but that's ...
[0:10:55] ... the team. That that is Kenya Africa put it this way if Matt Barnes didn't have any you you'll you know there's a good idea of the anatomy and Matt Barnes didn't have an issue with a Dustin Pedroia kidneys too scared to reveal that's what are just concerned OK I know hold on us too scared to reveal. Because the joy is though he isn't that locker room. OK but if he was a veteran you reduction and got right back and rejoice faith that this should happen you know I did try to hit him in the head. You everybody note which I don't know if you try to hit it in ahead. But the agency tried to hit them he missed a spot ski get scared because nobody wants you know there is what you would but I hardly think Matt Barnes is spot was. It's a bit of the bill but yes and yes but the guys are once guys uncomfortable thrown its ...