Nov. 5 (UPI) — ESPN introduced Thursday it would lay off 300 workers and won’t fill about 200 open positions, marking its largest variety of job cuts in 5 years.

The sports activities community, which is owned by Disney, employs about 6,000 folks worldwide, 4,000 of whom are in Bristol, Conn. It laid off 300 workers throughout a spherical of cuts in 2015.

“As we speak is tough as a result of ESPN has at all times been — and can at all times be — fortified by its unbelievable folks,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro mentioned in a message to workers Thursday.

“We have now, nevertheless, reached an inflection level. The velocity at which change is happening requires nice urgency, and we should now ship on serving sports activities followers in a myriad of some ways.”

Pitaro mentioned COVID-19 has had a “important impression” on ESPN operations. Because the begin of the pandemic, all main sports activities leagues have delayed their video games and largely eradicated fan attendance.

Pitaro mentioned the community had launched varied cost-cutting steps earlier than the announcement, like government and expertise wage reductions, furloughs and operational adjustments.

“We’re parting methods with some distinctive crew members — some whom have been right here for a very long time,” Pitaro added.

“We’re very grateful for all they’ve meant to us, and I guarantee you we’re taking steps to make their transition simpler.”