ESPN asking its top talent to take 15% pay cuts amid COVID-19 pandemic

ESPN asked its 100 highest paid commentators, including most of its top talent, to take voluntary 15% pay cuts over the next three months, according to multiple reports including Sports Business Journal and The New York Post.  

The media company's move comes as U.S. professional sports have been shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to Sports Business Journal, ESPN executives told the selected top commentators' talent agents that accepting the 15% pay cut would help offset further company furloughs for their lower-paid colleagues. 

According to The Post, "First Take" host Stephen A. Smith, "SportsCenter" host Scott Van Pelt and longtime college basketball voice Dick Vitale are among the top names to have already accepted the pay cuts. It is unclear how many others have agreed to salary reductions. 

"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," ESPN said in a statement. 

Earlier in the month ESPN's top brass of executives took between 20% and 30% pay cuts. 

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