The covid-19 crisis, which has already radically affected the freelance sports journalism industry, is beginning to take a heavy toll on staff jobs too.
Reach, the UK’s largest newspaper group and owner of the Mirror, Express and Star, are set to amalgamate their national and regional operations, like the Manchester Evening News and Birmingham Mail, and cut 12 per cent of the workforce.
The national sports departments have already been operating on a shared basis with staff working across all titles under head of sport Mike Allen.
Newsquest have put 38 editorial roles at risk of redundancies, mostly affecting sports writers and photographers.
The Herald titles in Scotland are set to lose two sports staff while the regionals in England will be heavily hit, affecting staff in Darlington, Lancashire, Cumbria, Stroud and London.
Sports departments all over the country were plunged into crisis when the coronavirus lockdown started and, with it, the end of live action. Both Reach and Newsquest used the furlough scheme but that has not save the jobs.
The BBC has been hit too. Seven sports journalists at the Birmingham hub are set to be made redundant, sparking fears that the extensive coverage of lower league football, rugby and other sports will be severely impacted.
This team is responsible for all the live and news coverage of sport in England outside the Premier League – everything from EFL football, Super League, county cricket, Premiership Rugby.
Ten regional sports journalists will now be asked to do ‘local’ sports news rather than being part of a bigger team. However, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all still have their own dedicated sports teams.