ESPN's sports and pop culture blog Grantland has been shuttered. Visitors to the popular site were greeted with a message today announcing that after four years, the blog would be no longer, according to Julia Greenberg of Wired.
The network released a statement regarding the seemingly sudden decision to suspend the operations 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."As Laura Wagner of NPR points out, ESPN slashed approximately 300 jobs earlier this month as the network continues to struggle, as most cable networks are, to transition to a new media age that sees increasing sports viewership online and an ever decreasing cable television subscriber base.
"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."
While fans of Grantland have taken to the internet to express their dismay at the sudden move, Greg Howard of Deadspin reports that Simmons had lured away Grantland's top editors in a de facto coup to defect on the same day and without warning to ESPN, placing his personal beef with the powers that be at the "Mothership" ahead of professionalism. The move was indeed a detriment to the blog, but fans of the site continued to visit the blog in hopes that Connelly would be able to continue the spirit and work for which Grantland had become beloved.
While said editors have apparently joined Simmons, who, between rocketing to sports journo superstar status with ESPN and his new, lucrative HBO deal has become a self-made millionaire, in an as of yet unannounced venture, expected to be similar to Grantland, nothing has been announced. Perhaps with ESPN effectively waiving the white flag on pop culture and political commentary, HBO, between Simmons, Real Sports, and sister network Showtime's Jim Rome on Showtime, the a la carte cable network can capture the market on in-depth sports journalism and commentary. Perhaps, the network could even visit the idea of an add-on pay network revolving solely around sports. Only time will tell.
[Image via ESPN / Grantland.com]