Niche sports channel One World Sports has furloughed certain workers in an effort to cut costs, and the network is in talks with a potential buyer.
News of the furloughs was first reported by sports web site Awful Announcing.
According to sources familiar with the company, a potential investor One World Sports was courting dropped out of the picture, which forced the sports network to look for short-term cost cutting opportunities, including the furloughs. One World also is in talks to sell the channel to an investor that can help it scale expenses.
According to Awful Announcing, the troubles at One World are much deeper. Citing anonymous sources, the website said that despite president and CEO Sandy Brown’s characterization of the furloughs as temporary and involving “some” employees, every employee has been let go and that the company regularly missed payroll and failed to pay vendors.
In addition, Awful Announcing reported that Brown told employees Sunday that he was seeking a buyer and if one wasn’t found this week, One World Sports would file for bankruptcy protection.
In a brief interview, Brown told Multichannel News that much of Awful Announcing’s information was inaccurate, but he wouldn’t give specifics.
“We’re very excited about where the network is headed,” Brown said in an interview. “We’ve got a very bright future and we’ve just got to get through this.”
While he said he could not give specifics about sales talks, he was confident a deal will be reached soon.
“I think we’re going to get this resolved,” Brown said.
One Word Sports was formed in 2010 and is owned by Dallas-based One Media Corp. The network primarily offers NASL soccer games – One Media’s chairman is New York Cosmos owner Seamus O’Brien – English soccer from Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, and FC Bayern Munich and top soccer from Asia and the Pacific Rim. The network also telecasts the England National Cricket Team’s international home matches, Kontinental Hockey League, Champions Hockey League, Chinese Basketball Association, OneAsia Golf Tour, and table tennis and badminton competitions around the world.
The Cosmos and the NASL also are having difficulty. ESPNFC reported that the Cosmos denied reports of shutting shut down operations and said the club's future would be decided after wrapping up negotiations with the league. The NASL itself is having problems and other club owners are currently meeting in Atlanta with potential investors in the hopes of keeping the second-tier league afloat.
One World Sports is available in about 43 million U.S. homes and has carriage deals, mainly on sports tiers, with Charter Communications, DirecTV, Verizon Fios, Mediacom Communications, RCN, Atlantic Broadband and others.
This item was updated on Dec. 1 to correct a reference to the ESPNFC story linked above.