Back in March, ESPN hailed the launch of WTTM 1680 in Philly as a new ESPN Deportes Radio station as “part of our ongoing commitment to better serve Hispanic fans.”
Just more than two months later, ESPN is ending ESPN Deportes Radio entirely.
ESPN announced Tuesday that it would shut down its Spanish-language radio business on Sept. 8. According to the network, other aspects of ESPN Deportes’ business — including television and digital — will continue to operate. Some ESPN Deportes shows, such as Jorge Ramos y su Banda and Raza Deportiva, will be turned into podcasts.
“Hispanic audience consumer habits are changing rapidly and this requires ESPN to evolve as well," the company said in a statement, adding that, “Hispanic fans skew heavily on digital and social.”
Radio ratings were down more than 70 percent across all ESPN Deportes Radio stations over the past five years, according to a source with knowledge of the numbers. According to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand, the move will lead to layoffs for 10 full-time and 25 part-time employees, and ESPN will close ESPN Deportes Radio’s offices in Coral Gables, Fla.
In addition to running many ESPN Deportes Radio shows, WTTM 1680 airs Spanish-language broadcasts for both the Phillies and the Eagles, which won’t be impacted by ESPN’s decision.
Including Philadelphia, ESPN Deportes has 44 radio affiliates across the country. ESPN Deportes Radio 1050 AM in New York City is owned by ESPN, and will switch to an English-language sports format, according to multiple reports.