Grantland looks to be no more. ESPN announced Friday that it has stopped publication on the sports and pop culture website, five months after the site’s founder, Bill Simmons, parted ways with the company.
“Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland,” a statement reads. “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.”
Simmons reacted to the news shortly after the announcement. “I loved everyone I worked with at [Grantland] and loved what we built,” he wrote on Twitter. “Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.”
The website was founded by Simmons in 2011. Just under four years after its first date of publication, Simmons’ contract was not renewed by the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports. He then inked a multi-year, multi-platform deal with HBO. Simmons’ popular podcast began new episodes at the beginning of the month, and he recently hired away four former Grantland employees — Sean Fennessey, Chris Ryan, Juliet Litman, and Mallory Rubin — for a new, unannounced enterprise.
“Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun. We are grateful to those who made it so,” ESPN’s statement continues. “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.”
On Twitter, ESPN public relations representative Mike Soltys noted “all Grantland writers will have their contracts honored. The intent is to use the sportswriters on other ESPN platforms.”
Based on their responses online, staffers were surprised by the news.