On October 30, 2015, ESPN announced that it was shutting down Grantland, the sports and culture site created by the oft controversial sports pundit Bill Simmons.
In Episode 27 of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill Simmons and frequent guest, friend, and Grantland editor Chuck Klosterman discuss the demise of Grantland and the impact of cord cutting by younger generations on ESPN’s bottom line.
Simmons says the big obstacle Grantland faced was that it wasn’t prepared for the rise of mobile media consumption. Simmons says Grantland was essentially designed for desktop and lacked a mobile app. “We didn’t know the iPad was coming or that people would start reading on their phones,” says Simmons. “By 2015, over half of the people that read ESPN were reading in on mobile devices. We didn’t even have an app. We weren’t prepared for that world. It would be like if you’re a restaurant and suddenly half of your customers are gluten-free. ‘Well crap, we don’t have any gluten-free dishes, sorry’ . . . To not have an app in 2014 is insane.”
Simmons went on to say that Grantland needed the support of ESPN to address this problem and create a plan. That support was apparently lacking, according to Simmons, which he believes led to the site’s eventual demise.
Listen to the complete podcast here.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.