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ESPN ends Grantland

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by J.R., Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Haymitch

    Haymitch Custom Title
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    For those talking about how Grantland didn't get enough traffic:

    Simmons talked about this for a while in his recent podcast with Wesley Morris. Basically, Grantland got no help from the main site. Most of their traffic was from people who were going straight to Grantland dot com, whereas ESPN would regularly help out and/or feature their other side projects. They also put in very little effort to find sponsors or do anything else that would help to make the site profitable.

    It's worth listening to that podcast if you want some more insight on what went down behind the scenes... according to Simmons, that is.
     
  2. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    I think many of you guys miss the point of Grantland. It wasn't to bring great writers together to write long sports articles - it was to explore monetizing sports coverage in non traditional ways. It was an incubator more than anything and Simmons did have some success in creating revenue markets that ESPN had never been able to grow - most famously with sports documentaries, but also with frequent podcasts, etc. Once Simmons was ousted, there was no one in place who had that vision - Chris Connelly was a guy steeped in the old media ways - he didn't know internet subculture and Connelly was the hippest guy left standing in a decidedly old school ESPN culture.


    Simmons was the guy who had an internet following and was heavily engaged in social media - ESPN rarely engaged in those plays at all pre-Simmons. Simmons was the guy pushing the blurring of coverage lines - writing about reality TV, the personal lives of players, bringing guys in to write about player's uniforms, etc. You make money in today's media by aggregating eyeballs and Grantland was the umbrella for all kinds of non traditional "sports" coverage - podcasts, mailbags, fantasy reality TV rankings, Uni watches, digital shorts, think pieces, etc. To think packaging media together to aggregate the fringe into a tidy stream for advertisers - that's not a crazy idea at all. Was it successful? Probably not financially, but I think it was definitely impactful and SHOULD have been kept around by ESPN if they only had someone smart enough to run it. I think where Simmons failed is he couldn't connect the audience to the advertisers but I don't think it's that he didn't have a sizeable enough audience.

    ....I'm sad to see Grantland go - hope the NBA guys like Lowe and Goldsberry find other gigs that allow them to keep doing the same thing. I could give a **** about Jalen and Jacoby but then again, I don't care which players have off court beefs with each other, etc...but their NBA coverage was really strong and now I'll have to sit through a very long season of hearing guys like Stephen A Smith, Skip Bayless, Ehmin Elhassen, and Ethan Sherwood Strauss spout a bunch if ignorant bull ****.
     
  3. BMoney

    BMoney Contributing Member

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    "Create a schtick for himself?" That's silly. He's a fine writer.
     
  4. zeeshan2

    zeeshan2 Member

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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr">. <a href="https://t.co/BrcfFIXWGK">pic.twitter.com/BrcfFIXWGK</a></p>&mdash; Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) <a href="https://twitter.com/kirkgoldsberry/status/660167949064368128">October 30, 2015</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
     
  5. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    Ahh - so a personal beef? Full disclosure, man! Ha!
     
  6. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

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    Good, ESPN can dedicate more resources to Jason Whitlock's Black Grantland. Can't wait!
     
  7. tehG l i d e

    tehG l i d e Member

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    They said they would honor the contracts of their sports journalists to write on their other sites. Grantland was half a pop culture site. What about those writers/journalists?
     
  8. tehG l i d e

    tehG l i d e Member

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    I hope Andrew Sharp never finds a job. He tainted Grantland for me.
     
  9. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    ...and to think, if there was a somewhat competent commissioner of the NFL, this would have never happened. The downfall of Grantland started with Roger Goodell's mishandling of the Ray Rice case.
     
  10. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    I agree, the difference between him and any other beer drinking, sports loving trust fund college kid is nothing - literally nothing.
     
  11. mtbrays

    mtbrays Contributing Member
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    It's sad to see so many of these top-tier writers have their futures suddenly in doubt. Without Grantland, I never would've discovered Zach Lowe, Shea Serrano, Kirk Goldsberry, Jonathan Abrams, netw3rk and many more. Hopefully they all find appreciative homes soon and aren't buried among the dreck on ESPN's main site. It would be a shame to see a thoughtful, analytical Lowe piece sandwiched between Jemele Hill and a listicle.

    There's a lot of finger pointing about what caused Grantland's traffic woes and there's probably validity to both sides (low traffic, lack of promotion and ad sales, etc.). But, it's hard to attract eyes to long-form anything in the era of Buzzfeed.

    Don't feed the trolls like Commodore. He's more interested in perpetuating his Randian world view on this BBS than actually commenting on the quality of writing that Grantland featured.
     
  12. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    I suspected this was the case. Simmons hinted at it a few times on his podcasts when he was still with Grantland - being careful to point out the sponsors that he personally brought to Grantland.
     
  13. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    Therein lies the philosophical differences between the staff at Grantland and the people that own Grantland--that Grantland was about substance and a different way to look at sports (e.g. analytics and something new age people call intelligence) while ESPN needed to provide the scores and rapid reactions that have zero substance.
     
  14. lnchan

    lnchan Sugar Land Leonard
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    Crap... my Disney stock is losing value...
     
  15. mtbrays

    mtbrays Contributing Member
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    That's true. However, ESPN is in need of a lot of soul-searching these days; the Grantland shuttering comes a week or so after they laid of 300 other employees. Consumer habits like cord-cutting are partly to blame, but I'd guess that content quality is another reason fewer people are reading and watching ESPN outside of live games.

    They've appeared hellbent on being the TMZ of sports (wall-to-wall Tebow coverage, #HotTakes from the likes of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless) instead of substantive coverage.

    A lot of ESPN's recently-acclaimed work is a direct outgrowth of Simmons and Grantland (30 for 30 in particular). It's a shame that the former calling Roger Goodell a liar is what changed all of this and, understandably, forced ESPN to pledge allegiance to its NFL contract instead of its longform writers. The NFL clearly butters the bread, but it tasted good because of nurtured talent on sites like Grantland.
     
  16. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    They write for a living in the age of the internet. Their futures have always been and will likely always be in doubt. The old business model to monetize writing blew up, and a new business model has yet to formulate.
     
  17. mtbrays

    mtbrays Contributing Member
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    I never claimed that journalism was a stable profession and that they should expect long-term security. But finding out that your medium was closed via Twitter on a Friday afternoon (the best time to bury ledes in the PR business) is pretty cold-blooded.
     
  18. bulkatron

    bulkatron Member

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    You're right - I misread the quote.
     
  19. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    As I mentioned in my post above - to be accurate, the difference is between monetizing scores and rapid reactions vs monetizing alternative sports media coverage. ESPN made it's fortune at the former while Grantland was trying to find a revenue stream in the latter mostly through new media on the internet. If this were a real business(and not just an overgrown boys club), it would be something like a company with a core business team, and a separate innovations/new business team. The goals are different, the risks are different, and the type of people they attract are different....
     
  20. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Anything that he has detected intellectual elites derive some enjoyment from, he is against as a matter of principle.

    It's sort of like a Cultural Revolution style taint by association.

    Meanwhile, anything that involves large powerful entities oppressing smaller invididuals, he is for.

    As far as I can tell, the Commodore ideal world isn't really Randian but some universe where a bunch of mindless idiots are enslaved by a giant AI Machine incorporated as a closely-held LLC.
     
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