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ESPN Asks Top Sports Commentators to Take 15% Pay Cut

The network’s top personalities will see their salary reduced for three months as network weathers coronavirus pandemic

ESPN is asking its top 100 commentators to take a pay cut while the network weathers the coronavirus pandemic, which is hit the sports channel particularly hard with the cancellation of virtually all live sporting events.

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

It is unclear which commentators were asked but ESPN’s highest-profile personalities include Stephen A. Smith, Mike Greenberg, Alex Rodriguez and Kirk Herbstreit. The salary reductions will be around 15% and are expected to last for three months,  an individual with knowledge of the decision told TheWrap.

“In their phone calls with talent and agents, ESPN executives appealed to the commentators and their agents that these cuts would deter furloughs for ESPN employees who may be in more precarious financial positions than some of the on-air commentators,” according to Sports Business Journal.

ESPN network executives have already taken pay cuts which were administered earlier this month by Disney.

Those cuts included Bob Iger, who is now executive chairman, who is forgoing his entire Disney salary, while newly-installed CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50% pay cut. Other top executives will be taking reduced salaries between 20% and 30% depending on their title. Iger, one of the highest-paid executives in Hollywood, earned $47.5 million during the most recent fiscal year.