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Simmons / ESPN Split


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#21 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 05:35 PM

Sports on Earth: Bill Simmons Leaving the Nest

http://www.sportsone...nd-john-skipper



#22 DJ MC

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 05:56 PM

From the reports coming out...

 

With John Walsh retired, Simmons lost his primary benefactor in Bristol. So the negotiations were going to be difficult anyway. Then, John Skipper heard about Simmons going on Dan Patrick's show yesterday (the content wasn't the issue, but apparently ESPNers need specific permission to go on that show) and hit the roof. So he made the announcement today, instead of three months from now when his contract actually is coming to an end.

 

This has been coming for a while. ESPN hates how independent Simmons is (petulant is the word being offered by Deadspin's sources), and Simmons hates the restrictions ESPN requires. So it's not surprising, but it is still very shocking.

 

It will be very interesting to see if he decides to hook up and help build a rival conglomerate. FOX would want to tweak ESPN badly, but I would imagine they, let alone CBS or NBC, would have similar restrictions at a corporate level. He would be a great coup for Turner, and might let them create something with a little more prestige than Bleacher Report, even if they use some of the same writers.

 

In terms of going out on his own, he might be the sole person with the audience and prestige to convince investors to give him the necessary funds. But I know it was a struggle to get Grantland going even with corporate backing, and he might not think that it would be worth the effort.

 

One thing I'm wondering, just as I'm typing, is if he and ESPN would just tear up the rest of his contract and let him go now, or if one or both sides will insist they run out the clock.


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#23 DJ MC

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:21 PM

Deadspin: Bill Simmons Cribbing An Old WWE Catchphrase Was The Last Straw For ESPN


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#24 bnickle

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:29 PM

He went to the Goodell well again. He again decided to play chicken with the ESPN suits after his last suspension. He deserved to be fired. Of course, he doesn't give a shit either.

#25 DJ MC

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:34 PM

He went to the Goodell well again. He again decided to play chicken with the ESPN suits after his last suspension. He deserved to be fired. Of course, he doesn't give a shit either.

 

To be fair, Skipper would have made the announcement sooner but Goodell was drinking a glass of water.


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#26 bnickle

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 05:23 AM

I like a lot of the content Simmons helped create but dude is such an arrogant prick. I actually like that ESPN suits one upped him. Hopefully, they make him sit on the sideline for the next 4 months.

He was leaving anyway and he was going to shit on you too. At least you get to throw one haymaker his way.

#27 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:49 PM

Can't see Simmons going independent with another Grantland-like site. While many, myself included, lament the dearth of long-form, in-depth journalism Grantland does, it's just not a very sustainable business model nowadays. He'd need investors who aren't afraid to lose money on an iffy venture....good luck with that.

 

More likely, one of ESPN's competitors will make a run at him. Fox will probably kick the tires on him for FS1, but he doesn't really fit the sports properties they currently have. Turner would seem to be a good fit, given their long-standing relationship with the NBA and that being Simmons' favorite topic. But they also don't have an all-sports TV outlet right now and I don't think he'd fit with the Inside the NBA group. Another Time Warner outfit, HBO, would be an interesting landing spot. They'd probably be willing to go easier on the censorship than another network would. But whether or not either of them would want to do the online written thing a la Grantland is another matter....I suppose Time Warner could hand over Bleacher Report and let Simmons try to totally overhaul and re-brand it. 

 

As for ESPN and Grantland, hard to say what they'll do with it. It was pretty much a vanity project they gave to Simmons. I think as long as they keep Bill Barnwell and Zach Lowe and allow them to do what they've done it will continue to produce quality work....Simmons has had seemingly little to do with it for the past couple years anyway. Same with 30 For 30. But because Grantland just doesn't generate enough clicks for the bottom line, I could see ESPN kind of doing the same thing they've done with Outside the Lines....keep it around, but underfund and just ignore it to the point it dies a slow death on its own.



#28 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 08:08 AM

Can't see Simmons going independent with another Grantland-like site. While many, myself included, lament the dearth of long-form, in-depth journalism Grantland does, it's just not a very sustainable business model nowadays. He'd need investors who aren't afraid to lose money on an iffy venture....good luck with that.

 

More likely, one of ESPN's competitors will make a run at him. Fox will probably kick the tires on him for FS1, but he doesn't really fit the sports properties they currently have. Turner would seem to be a good fit, given their long-standing relationship with the NBA and that being Simmons' favorite topic. But they also don't have an all-sports TV outlet right now and I don't think he'd fit with the Inside the NBA group. Another Time Warner outfit, HBO, would be an interesting landing spot. They'd probably be willing to go easier on the censorship than another network would. But whether or not either of them would want to do the online written thing a la Grantland is another matter....I suppose Time Warner could hand over Bleacher Report and let Simmons try to totally overhaul and re-brand it. 

 

As for ESPN and Grantland, hard to say what they'll do with it. It was pretty much a vanity project they gave to Simmons. I think as long as they keep Bill Barnwell and Zach Lowe and allow them to do what they've done it will continue to produce quality work....Simmons has had seemingly little to do with it for the past couple years anyway. Same with 30 For 30. But because Grantland just doesn't generate enough clicks for the bottom line, I could see ESPN kind of doing the same thing they've done with Outside the Lines....keep it around, but underfund and just ignore it to the point it dies a slow death on its own.

 

 

Vox Media / SB Nation is a possibility. Vox also has VICE Sports, could be something there, tie in with HBO which airs VICE on tv.

 

Sports Illustrated could give him his own space like Peter King's MMQB... but that's probably unlikely.

 

FOX can throw the most money at him, but doesn't have the NBA as you said.

I think he could do something independent, but for it to be profitable... he'd probably have to have less people working for him, then had under him at Grantland. Of course he would have no problem attracting large swaths of quality writers as freelancers, even if the staff was minimal. 

(One issue could be ESPN pushing their advertising partners to not support an independent venture from Simmons.)

 

NBC Sports or CBS Sports could both use him, but they have to be willing to spend more.  NBC giving him a Dan Patrick like show... and using more of the talent they do have overall (which is pretty good)... they could use him to take a leap overall.

 

Think you made a good point about HBO.  If not with VICE, maybe a show like John Oliver once a week.

 

Turner and Bleacher Report is the best fit imo.  Barkley is getting closer to retiring.  Bleacher Report gives him a writing outlet, which reaches a large audience. I don't see him getting the chance to overhaul B/R.  They've done some of that on their own in recent years, and their traffic is very strong. 

If anything, he could have his own kingdom within the larger B/R world.

 

He's going to get paid somewhere. He's going to still have a voice. There will be things he likes about being gone from ESPN, and probably things he won't.



#29 mweb08

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 06:46 PM

Interesting that Simmons has been completely mum since the announcement.

 

Also, I guess he needed Jalen to tell him "Don't get fired" before going on the Dan Patrick show.



#30 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:01 PM

Interesting that Simmons has been completely mum since the announcement.

 

Also, I guess he needed Jalen to tell him "Don't get fired" before going on the Dan Patrick show.

 

He knew what he was doing by going on Patrick's show.

Patrick has talked for years about wanting to have ESPN personalities on his show, and those requests being denied regularly.

There have only been a few exceptions... such as Berman at the Super Bowl a few years ago.

ESPN personalities if requested are supposed to get formal approval to join, most of the time it will definitely be turned down.
He just went on apparently.



#31 mweb08

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:08 PM

Well obviously he wasn't expecting such a severe reaction.

#32 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:35 PM

Well obviously he wasn't expecting such a severe reaction.

 

Just another example of why the split is good for both parties... and should serve as a reminder to him of why there is a good argument for him going independent.



#33 RShack

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:11 PM


Patrick has talked for years about wanting to have ESPN personalities on his show, and those requests being denied regularly.
 

 

Well, that's certainly pissy of them...

 

Did Patrick leave with a trail of animosity breadcrumbs?  Or did he just leave?  Anybody know?


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#34 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:14 PM

Don't believe there was any animosity but don't quote me on that.

There is baseball, and occasionally there are other things of note

"Now OPS sucks.  Got it."

"Making his own olive brine is peak Mackus."

"I'm too hungover to watch a loss." - McNulty

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#35 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:41 PM

There was / is tremendous animosity between Patrick and ESPN.

#36 RShack

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:43 PM

There was / is tremendous animosity between Patrick and ESPN.

 

Do you know why?


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#37 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:51 PM

Love / hate. Appreciates what ESPN is. Ego wants to be recognized further, independently of them. Felt under-appreciated by some, didn't get enough credit for making ESPN what it is. Annoyance with the issue with guests. Rarely goes an hour without calling ESPN the mothership. Seems to always be on his mind.

#38 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:52 PM

I know there was lots of animosity between Olbermann and ESPN....wasn't aware of any with Patrick.



#39 RShack

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:56 PM

Love / hate. Appreciates what ESPN is. Ego wants to be recognized further, independently of them. Felt under-appreciated by some, didn't get enough credit for making ESPN what it is. Annoyance with the issue with guests. Rarely goes an hour without calling ESPN the mothership. Seems to always be on his mind.

 

OK, thanks...

 

BTW, it would never have occurred to me that calling them the mothership was a dig... I would have just assumed that it was simply a reference to ESPN's humongous role in sports TV... more of an acknowledgment of its status than a dig...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#40 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:58 PM

I always find it amusing when people bite the hand that feeds them. Patrick, for example, owes everything he has to ESPN, yet he takes digs at them? I don't understand it.

There is baseball, and occasionally there are other things of note

"Now OPS sucks.  Got it."

"Making his own olive brine is peak Mackus."

"I'm too hungover to watch a loss." - McNulty

@bopper33





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