Where ESPN Is Getting Left Behind

The ESPN layoffs last week that roiled the media industry didn’t just signify that the “worldwide leader” in sports was trying to cut costs. It was a reminder of how much sports media has changed—and how hard it will be for ESPN to keep its perch.

The network’s cost-cutting is most obviously a result of falling cable subscriptions. But, among younger people at least, there’s also been a cultural shift in sports media in favor of fan-based coverage and away from the reliance on the personalities ESPN is known for—and who bore the brunt of the layoffs.

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CORRECTION: ESPN had 82 million unique visitors across mobile and desktop computers in March, compared with 32 million on Bleacher Report and 3 million at Barstool, according to comScore. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said these traffic numbers were for all platforms.

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