ESPN Shutters Grantland
In an abrupt and rather stunning move, ESPN announced on Friday that it would be suspending the publication of Grantland, the sports and pop-culture blog that was a popular division of the company’s overall digital strategy.
Following its launch in 2011, Grantland quickly established itself as a respected source for longform sports and entertainment content, including a popular series of podcasts, a few of which grew to become linear programming for the ESPN family of networks – including The Grantland Basketball Show, hosted by Bill Simmons and NBA analyst Jalen Rose.
The future of the division was undoubtedly in flux following the departure of the site’s creator, Simmons, who left ESPN back on May 15. Since then, Simmons has signed a deal with HBO and reports have surfaced of Grantland staffers leaving ESPN to join Simmons in his new venture.
In an official statement from ESPN PR today:
Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland. After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.
Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun. We are grateful to those who made it so. Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent. Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.
Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.