In what is simultaneously a shocking and unsurprising move, ESPN announced today that effective immediately, Grantland is no more. On one hand, the recent departure by Bill Simmons, when his contract was not renewed, raised the suspicion that ESPN was going to starve out, eliminate, or fundamentally change Grantland. Indeed Bill Simmons has been vocal in his podcasts about how ESPN was blatant in its treatment against Grantland. These claims may very well have been further demonstrated by the lack of transparency from ESPN to Grantland freelance writers and current staff.
Well that's the first time I've ever found out I was laid off via Twitter— Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 30, 2015
Conversely though, the move is a stunner given how popular and respected the site had become. It produced not only popular cultural pieces that people could discuss, it brought basketball fans the joys of Zach Lowe. In fact, ESPN had noted on August 31st that:
Grantland scored its second-highest monthly unique visitor count ever with 7.2 million in July. The site's three highest monthly unique visitor totals have come in the past three months (No. 1 in May, No. 3 in June).
Stay tuned for more updates on the developing story and perhaps more news on where some of the writers may end up going.
(Editor's Note: Grantland was a great spot for in-depth and alternative sports coverage, and while it's home page might not have been everyone's go-to, a lot of great stories went viral. Bill Simmons essentially started the blogosphere, making sites like Clips Nation and SBNation possible and creating job opportunities for the best in the business. Grantland was also notably the home of Zach Lowe, the objectively best NBA writer in the game today. The fact that ESPN would cut Grantland shows exactly how much they care about quality content and coverage vs Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith yelling nonsense at each other over a made-up controversy. RIP Grantland and--I think it's appropriate--FESPN. --Lucas)