ESPN president John Skipper spoke with Vanity Fair about the closure of Grantland, and though he doesn’t exactly say why he decided to shut the site down, he does offer some interesting quotes.
Skipper explained that he and others at ESPN were torn over whether to shutter Grantland. “I loved the site,” said Skipper, but in the end, “I made the decision. There was no influence from [ESPN corporate parent] Disney on this.”
As for why he made that move, Skipper hinted that it was financial motivated, and then backtracked in the next breath.
“You look at the resources, the time, the energy necessary to do this well and balance that with the things you get from it. This was never a financial matter for us. The benefits were having a halo brand and being Bill Simmons related.”
Somewhat fittingly, Skipper did admit that he underestimated the impact of closing Grantland. “We lacked a full understanding of the bonding nature between Bill and those guys,” he said.