ESPN Reportedly Asking Stephen A. Smith, Other Top Talent To Take Significant Three-Month Pay Cut
Earlier this month, Disney ordered a 20-30 percent base salary cut for all ESPN executives and now it appears that ‘the worldwide leader in sports’ is asking something similar of its top talent.
According to John Ouran of Sports Business Journal, the network has asked its 100 highest paid commentators to take a voluntary 15 percent pay cut over the next three months due to the ramification of the sports world shutting down thanks to The Big Cancel.
In a statement emailed to SBJ, ESPN said, “We are asking about 100 of our commentators to join with our executives and take a temporary salary reduction. These are challenging times, and we are all in this together.”
The voluntary pay reductions are not expected to affect ESPN’s lower-paid talent, who make in the low six digits.
While the report indicates that it is unclear how many have agreed to take on the voluntary pay reduction, it does point out that Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg are among those that have been asked to take a pay cut. The two reportedly make $8 million and $6.5 million, respectively, per year.
ESPN isn’t the first nor likely the last major sports outlet that will take a similar approach when it comes to talent and pay cuts over the coming months.
One would imagine that some of the ‘top talent’ will happily accept a pay cut to help out with the entire operation of the network, but for some it may be a more challenging ask. It will be interesting to see if any sort of drama comes out of the situation.