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ESPN to close esports division

ESPN is shuttering its esports division following the reduction of about 10 percent of the company’s workforce last week.

The network confirmed the move in a statement to The Esports Observer on Wednesday.

“We have made the difficult decision to cease operations for our dedicated daily esports editorial and content,” an ESPN spokesperson said. “We recognize esports as an opportunity to expand our audience, and we’ll continue to do so through coverage from the broader team for major events, breaking news and coverage.”

Last Thursday, ESPN announced the elimination of 500 positions — 300 via layoffs — as the network grapples with revenues lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

Esports writer Tyler Erzberger confirmed via Twitter that he and all seven of his colleagues in the department will not be returning to work.

ESPN also canceled the 2020 Rift Rewind League of Legends Free Agency Special, scheduled for Nov. 16.

After the coronavirus pandemic halted major sports in the United States, ESPN aired some esports tournaments and continued streaming other shows. The streamed content failed to generate a lot of traffic, however, with The Esports Observer reporting that only 25 of 288 shows attracted more than 1,000 viewers.

–Field Level Media

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