July 5, 2023 2 min read


ESPN Lays Off 20 On-Air Personalities

ESPN has been trimming a lot of its departments with sports betting analyst Doug Kezirian among the people to go in the latest round of layoffs

Kezirian and boxing analyst Andre Ward are part of the 20 or so on-air personalities that the broadcasting group is letting go. The news was confirmed on Monday evening, with the layoffs apparently taking place last week.

Letting Go of Top Talent

Ward has already confirmed the move via social media, but Kezirian has kept mum, at least publicly. A statement issued by ESPN indicated that there were specific circumstances that necessitated the Walt Disney unit to press on with the move, unpleasant as it was.

Kezirian is also the host of ESPN’s iconic Daily Wager show on ESPN2. Daily Wager is one of the first ESPN programs that focused heavily on sports betting and normalized sports betting talk on cable TV.

“This exercise will include a small group of job cuts in the short term and an ongoing focus on managing costs when we negotiate individual contract renewals in the months ahead,” the company explained.

Apart from Ward and Kezirian, reportedly laid off were Jeff Van Gundy, an NBA coach, former NBA star Vince Carter, NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, and a number of NFL players turned analysts for the network.

There has been a fair deal of speculation about what may be causing the recent letting-go of some of the broadcasting network’s top talent.

The McAfee Footprint

One theory is that the arrival of Pat McAfee has required a sizable amount of resources that ESPN has been struggling to muster.

Although no official figures have been shared, it’s believed that the network is paying as much as $17 million to McAfee for a period of five years. This is still short of the money McAfee was being produced at FanDuel where he worked before making the switch to ESPN.

McAfee, though, is a developed on-air personality with a loyal following, which means that he doesn’t have to struggle to build up his audience.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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