ESPN Abruptly Shutters Grantland
The Worldwide Leader in Sports announced the decision in a statement issued Friday afternoon:
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.
Simmons, who is expected to unveil his new project for HBO in the near future, weighed in on Twitter.
I loved everyone I worked with at G and loved what we built. Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 30, 2015
Grantland writers, whom ESPN says will be used across other platforms, reacted with equal parts shock, wit, and gratitude that a place like Grantland could exist in the first place, if only for four years.
Well that's the first time I've ever found out I was laid off via Twitter
— Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 30, 2015
Monday would've been my one-year anniversary. Really wanted that Disney pin.
— Ryan O'Hanlon (@rwohan) October 30, 2015
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) October 30, 2015
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) October 30, 2015
Unsurprisingly, the untimely death of a site that truly valued quality content had more than few writers deeply upset and disenchanted.
Grantland isn't even the beginning. Its the continuation. In 5 years, unless we work to change, everything will be Facebook Instant stories.
— Stu Horvath (@StuHorvath) October 30, 2015
The Classical, Sports on Earth…aspirational sports sites are tough pull off. ESPN had the money to do it. Now they don't want to spend it.
— Sam Laird (@samcmlaird) October 30, 2015
Whether you liked Grantland or not, its ending means there is one less outlet that pays writers a fair wage. This hurts all of us.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) October 30, 2015
Just sucks cause it's now another precedent of "paying good writers" isn't going to be a successful business model
— Patrick Kearns (@PatrickKearns) October 30, 2015
Goodnight, sweet prince.