How ESPN is selling significant pay cuts to their top talent

ESPN is asking its top 100 on-air personalities to take a 15 percent pay cut for the next three months.

ESPN executives are selling the idea to its highest paid employees, like Stephen A. Smith, Mike Greenberg and Scott Van Pelt, that taking the temporary pay cut will help others keep their paychecks during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are asking about 100 of our commentators to join with our executives and take a temporary salary reduction,” ESPN said in a statement. “These are challenging times, and we are all in this together.”

The news was first reported by Sports Business Journal.

ESPN executives were telling the agents of the on-air people that the move is designed to save jobs of lower-paid personnel. ESPN, like all of Disney, is having furloughs. The first at the network to be hit were people who work on remote events that are currently not taking place.

Smith recently agreed to a deal that will pay him close to $8 million in salary per year, while Greenberg makes $6.5 million. Van Pelt also makes multi-millions, though, his exact figure is unknown.

Disney, owners of ESPN, previously announced that vice presidents and above were being asked to take a pay cuts of 20 percent or higher. The company has also furloughed thousands at its park and other inactive businesses.

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