March 6 (UPI) -- Disney told ESPN to trim $100 million from its 2016 budget.
Now the sports news network is taking a deeper dive, meaning you will be without some familiar on-air faces in the near future.
ESPN has had quite the shakeup already, watching Chris Berman depart and leaving vacancies at Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, and it's opening night NFL Draft coverage.
Sports Illustrated reported this weekend that Sam Ponder has been offered the position of host of Sunday NFL Countdown. Suzy Kobler is set to see a larger role on Monday Night Countdown. That show's viewership was down five percent from its 2014 viewership. Sunday NFL Countdown experienced an 11 percent viewership drop from 2015, according to the report.
CNN Money reports that the network has been told by Disney to cut $250 million from its 2017 budget. . No names have been released yet, but the network is expected to make significant moves to cut costs.
According to reports, the company will buyout contracts in order to trim tens of millions in salary. Those cuts will reportedly focus on radio and on-screen talent. Layoffs are expected to be over by July, according to the New York Post.
"We have long been about serving fans and innovating to create the best content for them," ESPN said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. "Today's fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent. We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports."
Shares of Walt Disney Co. stock are currently at $110.67, down from $120.07 in 2015. It sank to $91.15 in February 2016. ESPN had 88.4 million household subscribers in Dec. compared to 100.002 million in Feb. 2011, according to Sports Illustrated. The network pays $4.3 billion annually to broadcast the NFL and NBA.
"We believe that the best approach to doing well in a world that is disruptive, in a world that has far more digital distribution, is to have great content and tell great stories. And that includes ESPN, by the way," Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts last month during the company's quarterly conference call, via MarketWatch. "But I can tell you that it is our full intent to go out there aggressively with digital offerings direct to the consumer for ESPN and other Disney-branded properties."
ESPN's 2015 staff reduction included about 300 behind-the-scenes staff, according to reports.
Those previous layoffs included big names like Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann.