Adnan Virk was fired by ESPN after an investigation into a company leak. Virk was escorted Friday from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut, campus after the network determined that he passed information from a conference call about its baseball coverage to the sports blog Awful Announcing.
A story written Jan. 28 by Ben Koo reported that ESPN was not going to expand baseball-specific studio programming because it didn’t anticipate high ratings for it. The story also detailed negotiations between ESPN and Major League Baseball about coverage.
According to a person familiar with the situation, Virk was not present for the entirety of the call in question but followed up afterward with a series of questions. The information that was discussed in the follow-up call appeared in the Awful Announcing report.
Virk’s leak was considered premeditated, and more severe, because he had alerted the reporter about the meeting before it took place. Virk was described as being uncooperative with ESPN’s internal investigation before he was fired. ESPN has a policy against sharing confidential information with reporters.
Representatives for Virk declined to comment, as did Koo.
“Adnan Virk no longer works at ESPN,” said company spokesman Josh Krulewitz.
The New York Post first reported Virk’s firing.
In the days after the Awful Announcing story was published, Forbes reported that MLB and ESPN were in negotiations to extend their current media rights deal; Bloomberg reported that MLB had submitted an offer to buy a series of regional sports networks that ESPN’s parent company, Disney, is selling.
Virk was considered by many a rising star at ESPN. He served as a host of “Baseball Tonight,” ESPN’s studio baseball show that was canceled in 2016, and he hosted college football coverage. He also developed a podcast, Cinephile, that focused on movies.
He joined ESPN in 2010 as an ESPNEWS anchor after working for the Canadian network TSN. Virk, 40, grew up in Canada after emigrating from Pakistan.