Rockets to trade Westbrook for Wizards’ Wall, first-round pick: ESPN

FILE PHOTO: Sep 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green (14) defends against Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) in the first half in game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

December 3, 2020

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Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird engaged, ESPN Body Issue, football news, basketball news, 2020

Two-time Women’s Football World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe and four-time Olympic women’s basketball champion Sue Bird have announced their engagement on social media.

Bird posted a photo on her Instagram account on the weekend of a kneeling Rapinoe placing a ring on her left hand.

“Ring Season. Congrats to THE power couple on their engagement!!!” tweeted the Seattle Storm, the Women’s NBA club Bird helped to a league title in October.

Rapinoe, a 35-year-old midfielder, sparked the United States to victory in the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She is a winger and captain for the OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Bird, a 40-year-old guard, sparked the US women’s Olympic basketball dynasty to gold medals in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 and helped the Storm capture Women’s NBA titles in 204, 2010, 2018 and this year, when they played in a Florida COVID-19 quarantine bubble.

Rapinoe was a regular spectator at Bird’s games during the 2020 WNBA season.

The pair have been together for more than three years and in 2018 became the first gay couple to appear in ESPN’s iconic “Body Issue” publication.


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ESPN Preparing to Lay Off Hundreds

After years of losing subscribers, ESPN owner Disney is once again looking to lay off hundreds of employees at the cable sports network.

By some reports, Disney could pink slip up to 700 ESPN employees as the entertainment giant works to bring the sports network’s costs down more in line with its dwindling reach.

According to FrontOfficeSports, the layoffs will affect those employees behind the cameras most, but on-air and radio talent may also be targeted.

While most of the big-name talent appears to be safe from these layoffs, insiders say that some will be required to take a pay cut. Pay cuts may also hit some of ESPN’s executives and managers. Talent whose contracts are up soon will also not be renewed, the reports say.

Disney is hoping to cut “tens of millions” out of the ESPN operating budget, and the layoffs are only the first step, insiders say.

If the expected budget cuts do occur, it will mark the third time in just five years that ESPN instituted sweeping layoffs and a steep budget-cutting campaign.

In 2015, ESPN cut 350 employees, and in 2017 the company shed another 100 employees. Also in 2017, the company cut its budget by $80 million.

ESPN is not alone in losing customers. In general, cable is experiencing steep declines in customers as Americans cancel their cable and opt for streaming services.

In July, for instance, Verizon reported a loss of 81,000 pay-TV subscribers for its FiOS service which is on top of a 25 percent decline in revenue for its media unit.

Only months before that, AT&T noted that it had lost 1.4 million in the third quarter of 2019.

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