ESPN has asked its most highly paid personalities to take short-term pay cuts as part of a companywide effort to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The request, first reported by Sports Business Journal, would affect about 100 commentators who are under contract but have been asked to take voluntary cuts of 15% for the next three months.
The move follows salary cuts among ESPN executives earlier this month that ranged from 20 to 30%, and is similar to steps other sports media outlets have taken.
WFAN’s highest paid on-air personalities recently agreed to 20% cuts through July, after the CEO of the station’s parent company, David Field, took a 30% reduction.
“We are asking about 100 of our commentators to join with our executives and take a temporary salary reduction,” ESPN said in a statement. “These are challenging times, and we are all in this together."
The idea behind the pay cuts is to limit furloughs to employees lower on the salary scale.
Most if not all of the top announcers likely will accept the reduction. Stephen A. Smith, Dick Vitale, Mike Breen and Scott Van Pelt are among those whose agents confirmed they will do so, the New York Post reported.