Well, this happened a lot faster than we expected. Today, ESPN announced it was shutting down Grantland, the site founded by Bill Simmons in 2011.
“Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland,” read an ESPN statement. “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.”
The beginning of the end of Grantland coincided with Simmons’s departure from ESPN. When the company decided to part ways with him, the writing was on the wall. Soon after Simmons left, staffers began to move on too. It seemed only a matter of time before ESPN shut the site down.
Grantland will sorely be missed. Simmons showed a real knack for bringing on a collection of great writers that could provide smart sports and pop culture content. There really aren’t many sites like that anymore. Now there’s even less.
Below is the full statement from ESPN.
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.