ESPN Kills Bill Simmons’ Grantland Website


ESPN announced this week the shutdown of sports and pop culture offshoot Grantland. Grantland was launched in 2011 by founder Bill Simmons. Simmons broke his tumultuous relationship with ESPN earlier this year for a new show on HBO that was announced in July. The show is set to premier next year.

ESPN made the announcement in a statement saying, “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.”

The shutdown affects 50 contributors that are listed on the site. Following the announcement, Simmons tweeted the following response.

Grantland was an eclectic mix of sports commentary, comedy and entertainment coverage throughout its four-year history.

The end of Grantland is a harsh exclamation point at the end of ESPN and Bill Simmons’ relationship. Simmons had been suspended multiple times by ESPN throughout his tenure. In 2008, Simmons announced he was quitting his popular podcast The B.S. Report due to ESPN editing content out of them. He later returned to the podcast, but a disclaimer about its mature content was added.

In 2009 he was suspended from Twitter by ESPN due to critical tweets he made directed toward ESPN’s First Take. Then in 2014, he was suspended for a final time after making critical comments on his podcast about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case. In the podcast he claimed Goodell had lied about the investigation surrounding Rice. Earlier this year, ESPN announced that they would not be renewing Simmons’ contract.

Simmons’ HBO show is said to be a weekly talkshow that will feature guests from the sports and culture worlds. He will also act as a consultant for HBO’s other sports-related shows. This does not include boxing coverage. No premier date has been set for Simmons’ show.