News is breaking this morning that the former Boston Sports Guy, Bill Simmons is leaving ESPN and Grantland.
ESPN President John Skipper Statement on Bill Simmons:
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial – he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”
This is something that has been rumored about for some time now, but most people seemed to feel that Simmons wouldn’t leave the platform that he has at ESPN. The wording used by Skipper in that statement is rather strong, making it seem like it is ESPN deciding they’re going to part ways simply by not renewing his contract, when in reality both sides have been sparring publicly for a while.
Simmons’ creation, Grantland will apparently remain ESPN property, meaning Simmons could either join another media company, or even begin his own.
It will be absolutely fascinating to see what he does next.
Bill Simmons and ESPN Are Parting Ways – Richard Sandomir of the New York Times was the first to break the news.
Wells Report news didn’t change many minds – Chad Finn’s media column has a look at media reaction to the Wells Report, noting that the contents didn’t do much to change people’s minds one way or the other. If you felt one way before, you likely feel the same now.
11 thoughts on “Bill Simmons Leaving ESPN”
I know tons of people give Simmons deserved poop, but I’ve been reading the guy for like 15 years now and will continue to do so. I really enjoy his podcasts, and while his writing isn’t what I used to love it’s still something I check out every single time.
Wonder where he’s going to head off to? Bleacher Report does have a strong NBA crew.
Have to think FOX is going to make a strong push for him.
Honestly, I think any sports media outlet would be dumb to not at least kick the tires on him.
He’s taken many shots at BR so I doubt he’ll want to go there. I bet Simmons goes for the independent model, kind of like Glenn Beck who has created his own multimedia empire. Simmons doesn’t want a boss or any of the corporate restrictions that he had at ESPN (and would have at Fox, NBC/Universal/Yahoo etc). And a Deadspin or other smaller outlet can’t deliver what he wants, not just in $ but in resources, access and prestige.
He one of the very few journalist/entertainers who will take a large audience with him and could have a successful run on his own. He will bring together a small group of investors, friends or other rich people who will view it as a cool investment, and pretty much be left alone.
I hate Simmons but I do like Grantland. What happens to that? Is it Simmons intellectual property? Do the podcasts and writers have jobs now?
He should launch a new site: ilovethesmellofmyownfarts.com…..that would be most appropriate for him at this point in his career. I used to find him mildly amusing back in his Boston Sports Guy days, but now whenever I hear or see him, it just reminds me of the “Smug Alert” South Park episode where everyone in San Francisco was farting into empty wine glasses and then smelling the glasses. His ego is way too big (unjustifiably so, IMO; he’s a decent writer, but outside of his NBA knowledge, which I do respect, I think his sports knowledge is below average).
What’s strange is that while overall he has branched into new ventures (Grantland, etc) and has been forward-thinking as a whole, when it comes to his opinions on the Patriots and Red Sox, he has become similar to the old grumpy columnists to which he originally was a fresh alterntative.
Also, I didn’t like his strange Jeter-philia, especially from a guy who had so much fun making up rules for fans.
I enjoy some of the Grantland writers and none of them are named Bill Simmons.
They are: Zach Lowe, Kirk Goldsberry, Jonah Keri, Bill Barnwell, Charlie Pierce and Jonathan Abrams; among others.
I used to really enjoy Simmons. Back in 2004 he was a must
read. But as time went on and the longer he was out of Boston I felt myself enjoying his takes and opinions less and less. Now it’s to the point that I don’t care what he thinks anymore. Maybe if he moved back to Boston and got a better feel for the area I might care again, but I can’t see that happening. I know national money must be great, but personally I would rather be the king of one
city than just another guy who’s in them all.
If you want to read more on the divorce, Jim Miller, who wrote the ESPN book, has an article up today:
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