Would Grantland fold if Bill Simmons leaves ESPN? Is the magazine’s future uncertain? It’s worth asking, given its history. It’s a sports news website with a long history and a loyal following, but what if Bill Simmons left the company? Would the magazine survive without him? If not, why would anyone care? Here are three reasons:
ESPN’s suspension of ESPN’s chief sports writer is a moral and legal decision. The company’s decision to suspend Bill Simmons for his comments on Ray Rice and the NFL draft did not put the site at risk of folding. The suspension was a 50% longer one than Rice’s. In the wake of the NFL trade, Bill Barnwell has continued creating big features for the ESPN network. Currently, he has covered trades involving Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown. He is expected to continue to do so in the future.
While Bill Simmons may be the most prominent voice at ESPN, he is a less frequent contributor at Grantland. He has a lot of other projects, such as podcasts and television work, so his writing has been sparse. The resulting void could be filled by other Grantlanders. On Oct. 11, five of the site’s staff resigned to pursue their own projects. The other three resigned to join Simmons, including college football writer Holly Anderson and pop culture writer Dan Fierman.
The lack of diversity among sports and business savvy was a concern for critics. Critics worried that Grantland would become a playground for male media personalities. In response, Simmons used a classic defence: “Simmons’ readers are dumbass business majors. If Bill Simmons leaves ESPN, Grantland will become a rag for a male media personality.”
Several editors and writers at Grantland were reportedly leaving for “greener pastures,” which may explain the rapid turnover of the staff. Four editors, including Bill Barnwell, are currently working with HBO, which may be a better fit for Simmons. A new editorial staff would need to be in place to replace the old crew. This will create a void, allowing the new editor to make the necessary changes.
It is a tough choice for any sports media executive to make, but a decision that may not be as easy as it seems, could mean the difference between a new career in sports or a career at ESPN. After all, Bill Simmons is a legend, so would Grantland fold if he left? Bill Barnwell would make Grantland a better place, if ESPN didn’t have to pay him a huge amount of money?
While this might sound like a scary scenario, the truth is that ESPN has committed to support Grantland despite the fact that the new chief of the network has no interest in keeping the site running. However, unless Simmons was able to retain his top writers, Grantland is unlikely to survive. Ultimately, this would be a disaster for the sports media business and the sport community.
If ESPN were to fire Simmons, would the podcast fold? In addition to putting ESPN’s brand at risk, ESPN would have to cut its connection to the podcast as well. Moreover, the ESPN owner wouldn’t be willing to accept Simmons’ claims that Goddell is a liar without any proof. However, in the case of Bill Simmons, if ESPN were to fire him, would Grantland’s audience still be watching?
While Bill Simmons is in charge of the sports media business, the financial problems are much more the fault of ESPN than Grantland. ESPN needs billions of dollars in annual revenue to pay its rights fees to a handful of websites. The company has a big sales infrastructure, but hasn’t figured out how to leverage the quality of their content. Moreover, ESPN’s founder is a friend and mentor to many writers.
If ESPN’s decision to cut its staff led to the demise of Grantland, it could mean the end of ESPN for Bill Simmons. The former ESPN anchor has made more than $5 million per year and is arguably the most influential personality in sports. But ESPN and Bill Simmons’s relationship has been rocky in recent years, including a major dispute last year. In addition to scathing criticism of the NFL, he has publicly questioned the organization’s handling of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
While ESPN has a great deal of talent, it does not have the resources to hire an independent media mogul. While Bill Simmons has done great things for ESPN, he would likely do better at running an independent online media company. ESPN should have given him more freedom, and Bill Simmons has earned the right to have his own business. Furthermore, ESPN suspended him for 50% longer than Ray Rice, and he was not even in the same boat as the NFL commissioner.
The suspension was a result of allegations of lying by Bill Simmons and a controversy surrounding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Both of these personalities are controversial in their own right, and ESPN’s suspension of Simmons for three weeks for his comments was a blatant attempt to silence them. He’s also been accused of lying about his relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And he cited the case of Ray Rice’s domestic violence.
While Bill Simmons’ departure from ESPN has not been officially confirmed, rumors have flooded the internet over the last few months. Despite the fact that ESPN has said that it will keep Grantland, the news organization can’t retain all the top writing talent at Grantland. Its competitors are much larger and arguably more profitable. In any case, a successful and long-lived site would not be a mere shell of its former self.
The fear of Simmons’ departure from ESPN has already begun to permeate the newsroom. He reportedly had a longtime agent lined up for him. Lewis Kay, the PR rep for Simmons since 2009, had been lined up as the next act. While his scathing criticisms have dominated his career in the media, he is clearly not interested in losing the buck. If he does leave, ESPN is bound to find someone else to take Simmons’ place.
While ESPN’s loss of Grantland may seem surprising, it is not a coincidence that a major media outlet folded. In fact, it was the opposite. It was founded by a successful music critic before launching Grantland in 2011. While he worked at ESPN for 14 years, he was still a relative unknown and little-known blogger. Nevertheless, his exit would have been disastrous for the sports world.
Without Bill Simmons’ leadership, ESPN would likely lose several of its high-profile staffers. Wesley Morris and Rembert Browne have both moved to other publications. Without their contributions, there would be no news, no game scores, and no opinion pieces. ESPN could easily become the worst company in the world without Simmons. That’s why the company’s move is so surprising. So much has happened to ESPN that we can’t even predict how it might shake out.
Before Bill Simmons left ESPN, the sports giant had decided to end negotiations with the controversial sports blogger. The two sides had been in talks to extend his contract at the network, but that didn’t happen. Rather, they’ve decided to part ways. Simmons’ departure will likely lead to the closure of Grantland. If ESPN does not extend the contract, Grantland would probably fold as well.
If a network can secure the rights to an NFL game, it could steal the show away from CBS or Fox. While the NFL is in structural decline, the deal between CBS and Fox shows that broadcasters are still willing to spend more money to secure rights to the games. According to Michael Nathanson, head of Fox’s broadcast business unit, the NFL will be worth $100 million more per season if it can get the Thursday night games.
CBS or Fox could take the NFL away from CBS or Fox
The new television deal between the NFL and CBS does not kick in until 2023, so there is still plenty of time for the league to strike a new deal. The NFL can opt out of the deal if its value grows significantly over the next seven years. After that, the league would have three years to find another home. It could also opt out if the value of its franchise drops below its current market value.
The NFL, in turn, wants to sell the rights to its games to another network, and it could easily pull that off. The question is: can CBS or Fox take the NFL away from Fox or vice versa? It is highly unlikely, but it is worth a try. It could give both networks what they want and save the NFL a lot of money. Ultimately, CBS would lose the NFL, but it would keep its other sports such as college basketball, the United States Open tennis tournament, and several golf tournaments.
It would be a shame to lose the NFL, but the NFL has long been a major money maker for both CBS and Fox. The NFL has the rights to all games played, and the rights are highly sought after by both companies. And it isn’t just the NFL that’s in danger of being taken away from Fox or CBS. The NFL TV committee’s members include Paul Tagliabue, the commissioner of the NFL, and owners Tom Benson of the New Orleans Saints.
As of November 2010, CBS broadcast its 5000th NFL game. The game featured the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders, and was televised by Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker. Similarly, local CBS stations broadcast preseason games, including the Super Bowl, since 1998. They have also invested more resources in those games, since they have greater appeal. If Fox can’t take the NFL away from CBS or Fox, then it may be time for CBS to do the same.
The new era of broadcasting in the NFL is a time for change. As the media landscape changes, new formats have been created. The NFL’s competition is fierce, and Fox has the resources to remain competitive. Fox’s NFL games are more than worth the price tag. However, if it doesn’t, CBS’s popularity will continue to wane. But there is hope for the NFL.
NBC will continue to televise Thursday Night Football games
The upcoming new television format will have a new name, but NBC will be the same network that televised the inaugural game in 2014. While TNF started airing on broadcast television in 2014, CBS and NBC were less than thrilled with the idea of renewing their contracts. FOX did not get far into their five-year deal. The networks were less than thrilled with the lack of exclusivity in the new format, as they had to share games with NFL Network and a streaming partner.
Fox Broadcasting won the bid to broadcast Thursday Night Football games, beating out NBC and CBS. They boosted their previous prices and will spend a combined $550 million per season for the next five years. NBC and CBS were each awarded five games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The NFL Network will air seven Thursday games each season, while the other two won’t. The networks will continue to share games throughout the NFL season.
NBC has also announced that Al Michaels will join Amazon as the voice of Thursday Night Football. The broadcaster joined the company in 2006 and was named an emeritus role by CEO Pete Bevacqua. Despite the change, Michaels will remain a major contributor to other NBC properties. He’s the play-by-play man for Monday Night Football for 20 years, and has called 11 Super Bowls.
After 25 years, the league has given NBC the rights to broadcast all AFC games, while Fox is keeping the Sunday afternoon schedule of NFC games. The Sunday games, meanwhile, will be aired on Fox and NBC. Both networks will be anchored by the same announcers and analysts, including Cris Collinsworth and Mike Tirico. A new reporter, Melissa Stark, will be joining the crew as a sideline reporter.
Amazon Prime will have in-game reporters
It seems like a no-brainer that Amazon would have in-game reporters for the Thursday Night Football games. However, it was only recently that the company announced they would be hiring Taylor Rooks as their new analyst. Rooks will contribute long-form interviews with NFL players, as well as features for the Thursday Night Football broadcast. She will join Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit, and other special analysts, as well as former players and NFL stars.
In-game reporting will be conducted by the same people who narrate the game. This is a new service that Amazon has partnered with to provide in-game reporting for the NFL. It will include the pregame, halftime and post-game shows. Amazon will air the games exclusively, beginning in 2022, and will air the remaining 15 Thursday nights through 2032. This is one of the biggest changes in the world of television broadcasting, and Amazon is setting the bar high.