Dan Patrick hasn’t been at ESPN for more than a decade, but he was shocked to see the hammer fall so hard on the network’s employees last month. As the network’s profits slipped amid a changing television sports landscape, hundreds of staffers were let go by ESPN in a very public blood bath.
Patrick sat down with Awful Announcing for a question and answer piece that included a reaction from the longtime SportsCenter broadcaster on the fate of his former peers.
I never thought in a million years that this would happen at ESPN. But it just goes to show there are empires, and there are empires that fall. And ESPN is bleeding now. They’re still the worldwide leader, but for this to happen, it’s a wakeup call for everybody in the business.
He may no longer be with ESPN as his days of hosting SportsCenter are in the rearview mirror, but Patrick’s an important voice in sports media who knows plenty about the four-letter. Plenty outside the company were vocal about watching notable names like Chad Ford and Marc Stein forced out of the company, but Patrick said a lot of behind the scenes losses were critical for the company.
I feel bad because the people who helped build it pay a price. It’s almost like if you’re good, there’s coordinating producers and producers who were too good. They were there long, they were promoted and they made more money. Therefore, they were expendable. It wasn’t fair to them. The same with the on-air talent. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tough business.
While Patrick isn’t the first in sports media to speak out publicly about the layoffs, he certainly won’t be the last. Still, there are few outside the ESPN realm these days that have more sway on public opinion than Patrick, who many often forget hasn’t worked there in over a decade.