ESPN Ends Grantland

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October 30, 2015 2:06 p.m.

ESPN is suspending its culture and sports website, Grantland, according to a company statement on Friday.

Grantland was launched in 2011 under the guide of former ESPNer Bill Simmons. Simmons left ESPN in May amid a contract dispute; he joined HBO in July.

There were questions about how long Grantland would continue to exist — if at all — after Simmons’ departure. Despite the loss of talent (including Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Wesley Morris to the New York Times), Grantland put up their best six months in terms of unique visitors in 2015 even after Simmons’ departure, according to CNN.

However, this was roughly how Simmons found out his contract negotiations had ceased. A New York Times report in May broke the news to Simmons, according to CNN.

Existing contracts will be honored, according to multiple reports.

Here’s the full statement released Friday afternoon on ESPN’s site:

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.

Some of those “projects” include the long-coming website on sports and race called The Undefeated, popularly referred to as The Black Grantland. On Oct. 19, ESPN announced they poached Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida to serve as editor-in-chief.

Staffers took to Twitter to respond to the news:

Simmons kept on trend and tweeted his condolences.

This post has been updated

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