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ESPN lays off 100, including on-air personalities and writers

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NEW YORK -- ESPN is laying off 100 on-air personalities and writers.

The job cuts, including television, radio and online personalities were announced Wednesday, and most will take effect immediately. ESPN also plans to cut what a source described as a limited number of additional off-air jobs.

Rich Hanley, journalism professor at Quinnipiac University said, "People don’t seem to be as interested in sports as they used to be. Every time somebody eliminates their cable subscription, ESPN loses $7 a month, said Hanley.

Hanley added," You don’t have to watch ESPN for the highlights. That highlight can come up on your phone."

Hanley said the layoffs have come to no surprise due to the fact that ESPN is trying to reinvent itself because they are going more toward digital.

What impact do these layoffs have on local restaurant owners?

"That’s the big reason we are around here because of them. So if ESPN closes down, small businesses, they go down, too," said Avdulla Zhuta, Owner of Luiza’s Diner.

ESPN is shifting its focus toward digital as it faces cable subscriber losses and increased pressure on costs. The network has spent billions of dollars in recent years on rights deals with major sports leagues and college conferences.

ESPN released a statement on the layoffs, which they're saying are part of a "content evolution strategy"  and ESPN president John Skipper mentioned the changing habits of viewers.

"These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company," he wrote. "I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN."

It was not immediately clear who was losing their jobs but Ed Werder, a prominent NFL reporter, said on Twitter that he was among those laid off.

"I have no plans to retire," he said.

ESPN declined to comment on the job cuts.

Many of the people who were laid off were coming to the end of their contracts and did not want to accept large pay cuts, a source said. For others, ESPN offered to buy them out of their contracts.

ESPN employs about 8,000 people around the world.

Jim Miller, the co-author of "Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN," told CNNMoney that ESPN believed the moves were necessary "to not only stay competitive, but to help transition their content strategy for the future."

"SportsCenter," ESPN's flagship show, will become more of a digital presence and move away from "a show with many, many, highly paid anchors," Miller said. "ESPN is arguably one of the greatest success stories in the history of modern media but now even it can't escape some of the harsh realities of an ever changing technological landscape."

Deadspin.com is keeping a running tally of those laid off.

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