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Grantland shut down by ESPN immediately


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#21 mweb08

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:06 PM

RIP to one of the best sports journalism / podcast sites ever.
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#22 mweb08

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:08 PM

Lowe has on multiple occasions on his pod referred to Grantland as a site that still exists. Obviously he won't be able to say that anymore. Great NBA writer though. He and Simmons were quite the duo.

#23 The Epic

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 02:04 PM

I'm wondering how many of them will end up on Simmons' new project.

 

Rembert Browne probably made three of my 10 favorite articles (about his trip to Ferguson, his trip to Burning Man, and about the Heat's tribute to Trayvon). Hollywood Prospectus and Cheap Heat were two of my favorite podcasts. And every week or so, they came out with an article about something that I would never care about, which would make you go, "Holy crap. I never knew..."

 

It'll be missed.



#24 PD24

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 12:47 AM

 

 

 
 
Just remember that despite ESPN cutting costs, these two, and all the others like them at the network (each making a LOT of money), are going nowhere.

 

People don't really care about the kind of writing Grantland was doing, and they didn't want to do any of the gimmicks that draw clicks. The site needed Simmons to be the draw while the rest of the writers developed around him. The real proof of how ESPN viewed Grantland is the fact that, despite multiple public problems with Simmons over the years and his contract coming up for renewal, they never prepared any kind of succession plan for the site. They just threw Connolly out there as a stop-gap until they could figure out how to close things down.

 

You're right and there are 2 things here. Number one is your main point in that most readers of ESPN aren't as intelligent about as most of us here on this site, so we are the minority. I really, really enjoyed the Grandland articles. But most people don't because it's too in depth and they either don't understand or don't want to sit down and read a 10 minute article.

 

Furthermore, from a business perspective, advertisers don't want to be in Grandland...Papa John's doesn't care how smart the authors are at Grandland...they care about viewers and Skip and Stephen A, as sad as it is for pure sports fans, bring in the viewers and the ratings. 


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#25 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 10:13 AM

Interesting podcast with Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell.  They spend a large chunk of the first part of it discussing his end at ESPN and the demise of Grantland.

 

In terms of making money, it sounds like Simmons is in denial.


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#26 NewMarketSean

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 10:17 AM

Nothing will ever top the mailbag after the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFCCG in 2012. Nothing.

 

Bernard Karmell Pollard


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

#27 mweb08

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 10:27 AM

Richard Deitsch had James Miller on shortly before Grantland was shut down, but the discussion on the site and Simmons is still well worth listening to. 

 

Grantland wasn't really supposed to make money, at least not for quite some time.

 

They also did a crappy job with monetizing their podcasts and with promoting Grantland on their other platforms.

 

I'll have to check out the pod with Gladwell.



#28 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 11:22 AM

Long form journalism and the web are pretty much the antithesis of one another. And as more people are accessing the internet from mobile devices, that will increasingly be the case. The average visit to a web page is just 30 seconds, so content creators only have a short time to reach their readers. 15 minutes to read an article isn't going to work. There will still be a place for long form journalism to thrive, but the territory is shrinking and it's almost exclusively limited to print or e-reader formats, where people go expecting to spend a half hour to an hour reading.



#29 BSLRobShields

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 11:55 AM

I will say that I am not surprised Grantland suffered.  

 

First of all, most of the info is over most sports fans head.  I know for a fact that Chris has had this complaint from some for this site and that's obviously on a way smaller scale than ESPN.

 

Secondly, as Mike said, they didn't do a good of promoting it.  I mean, I don't think one Grantland writer was ever on Mike and Mike, for example.

 

Did they ever feature them on SportsCenter?  Seems to me it was Simmons and thats it.

 

it was almost destined to fail in terms of people reading it.


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#30 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:14 PM

People read it, it had an audience... it didn't have enough to make a difference one way or the other with a giant organization like ESPN.

 

Lowe, Barnwell, Mays, Hinton, Titus, Goldberry, Chris Brown, Ben Lindbergh, Keri could have all been featured more (Keri was utilized some on BBTN). None of them were in the regular rotation of ESPN Radio guests... which as Rob says above, is just odd.

 

Birds of Bmore's points are accurate... but I think because of that, there is a place for sites that strive to differentiate themselves from the pack, vs. being the pack. What does happen though, is that those sites just have a lower potential overall reach (the flip side is that they have loyal audiences, who spend longer times on the site...also tend to be more informed, more affluent consumers).

 

Mike Weber is correct that Grantland wasn't supposed to be profitable.  It was an opportunity to showcase Simmons, offer some higher quality content...  and to repeat what I said before... It was a noble project, but a vanity project...  without Simmons the quality didn't really change, but they were missing their captain. Simmons served as the advocate for the project to his superiors at ESPN. They wanted to reward / showcase him... without him, their desire to keep the project going was probably eliminated.

 

I continue to think the real bottomline here was that the ESPN brass likely realized that Grantland talent would be trickling out the door to follow Simmons. Rather than watch the quality of the site decline, easier to just eliminate it.

 

That makes more sense vs saying it was another example of financial cuts to ESPN staff... because ESPN said Grantland writers will have the opportunity to stay with the company.... but it would be naive to say those cuts had zero bearing.



#31 DJ MC

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:24 PM

ESPN only ever saw Grantland as the cost of doing business with Simmons. For an organization that promotes itself as much and as well as they do, that's the only explanation that makes sense for why the writers never received the attention they deserved.

 

If the 30 for 30 project had been exclusively a web-based series, I bet it would have gone the same route. But because those films were to be shown (at least premiered) on the main channel, ESPN had to put in the effort needed to promote what came out of it. And yet, that success didn't teach them anything.


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#32 BSLSethBondroff

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:42 PM

It was smart.

 

People don't like smart. 

 

They like quick and easy. 

 

As the great Rob Shields once said (every day) "That's what's wrong with our Country today" :)


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#33 DJ MC

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:47 PM

Three words: Not. Enough. Slideshows.


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#34 The Epic

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:00 PM

I think people are mixing up "destined to fail" and "set up to fail".

If they truly wanted it to succeed, there would have been more press, brass involvement, and mixture between ESPN and Grantland. There were football/baseball podcasts on ESPN that directly rivaled the podcasts on Grantland, which is odd in and of itself.

 

It's almost like this was ESPN trying to give Simmons a big, "See? I told you it couldn't work!".

 

While I'm not holding my breath, I'm hoping they replicate this on HBO to some extent. If it doesn't make money, fine, but I think Simmons will directly make them enough money to offset the effort.


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#35 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:06 PM

They didn't hire me for a podcast.

Stoner is making the same mistake.
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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


#36 BSLSethBondroff

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:10 PM

They didn't hire me for a podcast.

Stoner is making the same mistake.

"Beaner and Pedro's Pop Culture/Sports podcast" would've been great. I'll stand by that! 


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#37 BSLRobShields

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:16 PM

They didn't hire me for a podcast.

Stoner is making the same mistake.

LOL

 

What's funny is that our podcast probably suffered because we had more of the grantland type guys on as opposed to the Scott Garceau/Jeremy Conn guys that dummy things down.

 

I was told by the guy who runs RSR that his audience needed an easier to follow show to listen to.  Essentially saying that it was just too much "over their head" info and its not what the casual/normal fan relates to.

 

He is right but Mike and I weren't going to just pretend that we were casual fans that ignored the evidence out there.  

 

Grantland suffered from the same thing IMO.  They appeal to guys like us but what about a general audience like on OH.  Not to disparage OH in any way but its a larger audience full of guys that don't want to get all in depth in things.  There is nothing wrong with that and that audience represents the majority of the sports watching community.  So, that's the audience to cater to, I guess.


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#38 DJ MC

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 03:00 PM

LOL

 

What's funny is that our podcast probably suffered because we had more of the grantland type guys on as opposed to the Scott Garceau/Jeremy Conn guys that dummy things down.

 

I was told by the guy who runs RSR that his audience needed an easier to follow show to listen to.  Essentially saying that it was just too much "over their head" info and its not what the casual/normal fan relates to.

 

He is right but Mike and I weren't going to just pretend that we were casual fans that ignored the evidence out there.  

 

Grantland suffered from the same thing IMO.  They appeal to guys like us but what about a general audience like on OH.  Not to disparage OH in any way but its a larger audience full of guys that don't want to get all in depth in things.  There is nothing wrong with that and that audience represents the majority of the sports watching community.  So, that's the audience to cater to, I guess.

 

The problem isn't catering to that audience, it's only catering to that audience.

 

ESPN has a fairly unique position in the media world, combining both the ability to report on entertainment and social interests with the ubiquity and resources to give even niches room to prosper under its watch. They can make money off of the "debate" and clickbait content while also building up a depth of quality that isn't as overtly popular but brings in more people and can also garner attention. They already do this, with the quality and relative independence of the investigative/OTL reporting, so it's not something that would be new to them.

 

The problem is that by minimizing the latter and going all-in on the former, they risk turning away people interested in more than just the most shallow of discussions, and not having them ever come back. Since many of those people are the same ones becoming interested in cutting the cable cord, it gives less and less of an incentive to keep a subscription for ESPN; often one of the primary reasons people even have one to begin with.

 

They want to serve one audience, and thus they lose revenue from other audiences who they could easily accommodate, too. Then they have to make cuts, and those cuts don't come from the shallow end, and the cycle continues.


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#39 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 05:04 PM

I think we might be slightly misunderstanding why some people don't read long-form journalism much anymore, especially when online. I believe there are many more people out there that have the ability to absorb and comprehend the information than we might think. The problem is that there are too many things out there vying for our attention that we allow to distract us, and not enough people are willing or able to disconnect or block it out long enough to spend time reading and really soaking in the information. Within the time it would take to read the sort of material presented on Grantland, et al, a lot of people are getting messages on their phone, or hear something on the television they have to look at, or suddenly have the urge to see what everyone is up to on Facebook....so they just choose not to bother with it.

 

I know I'm little older than most here, but still, how many of us had the sort of distractions in life that exist today when we were in our core learning years? I really wonder what all this is going to mean for so many of today's younger people, for whom such distractions and short attention spans have always been a way of life? If they don't think it's worthwhile to learn something of lighter subject matter like Grantland, what about the things that do matter more? I don't have children, so I have no idea, but I have to think that's something parents ought to be concerned about and is an important challenge for them to deal with in raising children today. But I'll leave it at that, not trying to start a rant.



#40 mweb08

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 05:05 PM

Interesting podcast with Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell.  They spend a large chunk of the first part of it discussing his end at ESPN and the demise of Grantland.

 

In terms of making money, it sounds like Simmons is in denial.

 

Just listened. Why do you say he's in denial?






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