The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant shutdown of sports continues to affect the sports media industry.
Management at The Athletic told its staff on Friday that it would reduce it by eight percent and implement salary reductions, The New York Post confirmed.
I’m one of the unfortunate many to say this, but today was my final day with @TheAthleticBUF.
I am sad, I am extremely disappointed, but I am not defeated. I am forever thankful to have had the opportunity to write there and tell stories. I love you, Buffalo.
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) June 5, 2020
Axios first reported the news. It said that 46 people would be let go. A source told The New York Post that the audio department would be impacted as a result of podcast advertising being down. One of its original big hires, Armen Keteyian had already left months ago.
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
According to The New York Post, those making $55,000 to $150,000 would receive a 10 percent decrease, while $150,000-199,999 would take a 15 percent cut. Those with salaries more than $200,000 would take a 20 percent cut. The cuts are through the end of this year.
Well, it was a pretty good run. Unfortunately, I was one of the 46 laid off today. Just wanted to thank @TheAthleticMIA for bringing me home back in 2018. I throughly enjoyed my time with The Athletic; it was a great gig. See y’all down the road. pic.twitter.com/EZxbiNMwRr
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) June 5, 2020
Co-founder and CEO Alex Mather says that the company is preparing “for the strangest six months in sports history,” noting shortened seasons, play-in tournaments, round-robins, no fans, insanely short off-seasons, hub cities, and bubble cities.
Good afternoon folks. I’m sad to report that I am one of the 46 people laid off today by @TheAthletic
Disappointing news, to be sure. I’m proud of the work I was able to do during the past 9 months, thankful for the opportunity to be part of the growth of @TheAthleticWPG
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeAthletic) June 5, 2020
Mather says the founders assessed every part of the business with two criteria in mind: 1) Whether that line of business could drive subscriber growth and engagement; and 2) Whether it could be sustainable on its own long-term.
TheAthletic NHL writers laid off today, to my knowledge:
– Ken Wiebe (WPG)
– Craig Morgan (AZ)
– Joe Yerdon (BUF)
– Marc Dumont (MTL)
– Sean Gordon (MTL)
– George Richards (FLA)
— NHL News (@puck_report2) June 5, 2020
Mather notes that the layoffs and pay cuts are a last resort and that the company did try to control burn “through reduced travel, freelance cutbacks, extreme cutbacks on marketing spend, and deep pay cuts for our entire HQ leadership team.”
By Jon Sorensen