About four years ago, ESPN made significant cuts to its staff of journalists, among both on-air personnel and digital reporters and editors.
The company – and nearly every sports media entity – has seen more layoffs since then, but the departures from the “Worldwide Leader In Sports” over the last year or so have involved some of the company’s high-profile, front-facing talent.
As a significant rights-holder in the sports media landscape, ESPN isn’t going anywhere. But the names and voices sports fans have become accustomed to seeing over the last decade are.
On Monday, longtime anchor Kenny Mayne, who connected with fans and subjects in a novel manner through his “Mayne Event,” NFL Countdown feature, announced he was leaving the network.
Mayne is the latest high-profile, front-facing talent to leave the network over the last year. There were hardly planned farewells or tributes, just exits stage left.
As Mayne put it on Twitter, he was a “salary cap casualty.” Those media deals are expensive. Spreadsheets must be balanced. Shedding personnel is an easy way to accomplish that.
Kenny Mayne in 2012. (Photo: Rich Arden, ESPN Images)
Meanwhile, the network announced an extension for legendary host Chris Berman, who will continue making content for the ESPN+ platform despite seemingly experiencing his own ouster a few years ago, only to be brought back under current ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro.
Here are some notable names who have left ESPN since last year:
Dan Le Batard: Another former daytime radio host who also liked to venture into societal and political conversations, Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper have created a media company called “Meadowlark” that will be hosted on the DraftKings network for the next three years.
Mike Golic: His former morning radio partner Mike Greenberg was promoted to host the daily morning television show “Get Up!” Golic was left in the 6-10 a.m. radio slot and, although he started receiving opportunities as a game analyst toward the end of his contract, his time with the network ended over the summer.
Trey Wingo: Wingo hosted “NFL Live” and “NFL Primetime” before taking over morning radio duties alongside Golic after Greenberg went to TV. He also took over hosting duties from Berman for the NFL draft. He started his own podcast after his departure.
Tom Rinaldi: Now at Fox Sports where he'll work the NFL sidelines, Rinaldi led the network's golf, tennis and college football coverage for years. He was a prolific and accomplished interviewer and routinely composed emotional video features for "College GameDay" on Saturdays in the fall.
Will Cain: The former daytime national radio host now works for Fox News. Cain was never afraid to mix it up with discussion about politics – a no-no in the Pitaro regime.
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