Grantland

Spelunker

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GeorgeCostanza said:
Also could be just as simple as Lipsyte not liking his bridges extra crispy like Simmons.
Also, per his byline, he has a book coming out that certainly sounds like it will cover that sort of thing. Why give away all the milk for free?
 

Don Buddin's GS

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Kliq

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GeorgeCostanza said:
Also could be just as simple as Lipsyte not liking his bridges extra crispy like Simmons.
 
Lipsyte is an extremely accomplished sportswriter in his late 70s, I doubt he cares very much about ruffling some feathers in Bristol.
 

JBill

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ElUno20 said:
I know this is selfish but does this open the door for some reunions? Can andy and chris get back together to give me an hour a week?
Simmons tweeted that he's going to have a "TV pod" up tomorrow, and Greenwald tweeted he's going to have some news on the podcast front tomorrow. I'm guessing Chris and Andy are guest hosting Simmons' podcast and a permanent reunion is the works. Well I'm hoping anyway, I want HP back.
 

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Simmons' new podcast with Gladwell is up. The beginning is about Grantland, some interesting stuff.
 

LahoudOrBillyC

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LahoudOrBillyC said:
A bit long, but this rings true to me.  I have been laid off from software jobs three times -- in 1989, 1991, and 2011. The second of the three was the most analogous to what I know of Grantland -- a really great working environment at a small company filled with people of talent, and our parent company pulled the plug on all 50 of us. We were, as far as I can tell, bleeding cash.
 
http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/on-grantland-and-sports-media-110215
Supposedly Grantland was not making money, but wasn't losing much either.
The idea that it was purely financial seems questionable to me, post-Simmons there was no real effort to monetize it, which should have been pretty simple, more ads, sponsors for things like the studio and some of the un-sponsored podcasts getting live reads. It is just bizarre to cut a site with huge reader and listener engagement without even making an effort to fix the financials.
 

JimBoSox9

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And, I mean, look at the post-halt coverage!  Perfect example of when metrics aren't telling the whole story.  10% of the people generating those pageviews are the exact kind of influencers, thinkers, and demos that any non-idiotic content organization would kill for.  They just didn't understand or care.  Perhaps ironically, to survive Grantland needed ESPN to think like HBO, not ESPN.
 

LahoudOrBillyC

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If they wanted Grantland to work, they would have had to either get readers to pay (possible) or figure out a way to get more ads on the site.  One of the great things about Grantland was its relative lack of ads.  
 
I was a pretty big reader, and I never go to Subway, and I never read ESPN, so Grantland was basically working for me for free.  Thanks!
 
This article makes a few other suggestions for bringing in revenue on the internet.  One of them is to have the writers willing to monetize themselves.  Jonah Keri, for example, could openly promote a product within his column, like radio people have always done and podcasters do.
 
The takeaway, which I don't see anyone addressing, is that consumers really expect the internet to be free.  Ten years ago I spent about $600 a year on newspaper subscriptions, now I spend zero and have not transferred that ready cash to my favorite internet sites.
 
Sean Forman, who created and runs Baseball-Reference.com (and its relatives) has expressed genuine worry about how to make money in a world where everyone is going to use ad blockers.   Seah has five employees and gets much more traffic than Grantland, which had 50 full-time staff each likely making more than Sean is paying.  
 
A lot of people keep writing "be smarter ESPN -- figure this out!"  Well, people have been trying to figure this out for 20 years, and the only real "successes" are Gambling/DFS, and porn.
 

ElUno20

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Van Everyman said:
We have bingo:

@BillSimmons: Hey Grantland fans -- @ChrisRyan77 and @andygreenwald have their emotional reunion on Thursday's BS Podcast.

https://t.co/yW5BjkcJhC
Are they guest hosting or guest on his show? If it's the latter, I'll just wait until their new show debuts. I try to avoid any Simmons as much as possible.
 

ElUno20

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God damn it. I enjoy listening to andy and chris so much i might have to bite the bullet and put up with an hour of simmons.
 

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I don't know how much difference it would have made to the bottom line, but they could have had more ads in the Grantland podcasts. That seems to be working out well for Simmons so far.
 

crystalline

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Epitaph for an industry, courtesy of the article linked above:

[Profit is what matters]

. Break down the wall between writers and advertisers.

I think every sportswriter should be sponsored by a hotel and a car company. Same with restaurants and daily fantasy companies; we have to kill the idea that editorial and ad sales are separate.

[Sports media is entertainment, but we already knew that. Sorry, ITP]
My favorite Twitter request is more X's and O's in football. Twitter always wants more X's and O's. Do you know who watches X's and O's? NO ONE. Not even the people claiming they want more X's and O's. People want to be entertained.

You know what a hot take is? It's a fresh opinion about what America is talking about based on something that has recently happened. That's where the readers and listeners and viewers are. That's what people want to read, opinions and articles on current sports stories.

This is why working in radio or TV is a great experience, because you actually have to entertain the masses. Most sportswriters still don't understand that they're in the entertainment business. Entertainers have to give people something they want or else they aren't entertainers very long.
His advice to work hard however, is well-taken.
 

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Joe Sixpack said:
I don't know how much difference it would have made to the bottom line, but they could have had more ads in the Grantland podcasts. That seems to be working out well for Simmons so far.
 
Simmons talked a little bit about that on his podcast with Malcolm Gladwell. Said ESPN would get this big sponsorships from like say Dunkin Donuts for $125 million but they would spread it out to other parts of the network/family.
 

PedroKsBambino

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That $6 mil revenue figure is almost surely an accounting thing, not a true economics thing. By that I mean Grantland probably generated more than that, and if it didn't it's for reasons people have alluded to (ESPN not choosing to allocate revenue to it for Grantland articles on ESPN site; denying access to national sponsors; refusing to sell ads on the podcasts; etc.)

I've read that Simmons is making nearly as much on the podcasts now as that $6 mil. That may or may not be accurate, but speaks to the impact that limiting the revenue streams has on trying to make something work on the internet.
 

DLew On Roids

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So how long until they attempt scrub the 30 for 30 archives from the face of the earth?
I noticed over the weekend that ESPN was using "ESPN Films" in the voice-over when promoting the Tyson doc. "30 for 30" only appears in the tag. My bet is they re-work the tag over the next few months to remove the name.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I noticed over the weekend that ESPN was using "ESPN Films" in the voice-over when promoting the Tyson doc. "30 for 30" only appears in the tag. My bet is they re-work the tag over the next few months to remove the name.
Independent of the ties the series has/had to Simmons, doesn't that kind of make sense anyway? The original project for which the name was coined had to do with creating 30 short films/docs to coincide with the 30th anniversary of ESPN (and I think the films were intended to cover events that occurred within the lifespan of ESPN as well). We're well past the 30th anniversary at this point, and pretty sure we're well past thirty productions too.
 

edmunddantes

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Independent of the ties the series has/had to Simmons, doesn't that kind of make sense anyway? The original project for which the name was coined had to do with creating 30 short films/docs to coincide with the 30th anniversary of ESPN (and I think the films were intended to cover events that occurred within the lifespan of ESPN as well). We're well past the 30th anniversary at this point, and pretty sure we're well past thirty productions too.
Do you still call it 7-11 or do you go by the current hours your local store has?
 

allstonite

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I believe they already tried to change the name once the original 30 were done to ESPN Films even though they were following the same idea as 30 for 30. They didn't generate as much buzz because ESPN Films didn't have much of a track record especially compared to 30 for 30 so they changed it back and 30 for 30 became their documentary brand. I wonder if they're changing back to distance themselves from Simmons and not have him get any credit for something he's no longer involved in.
 

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They moved Cheap Heat with Shoemaker to ESPN. Interesting that they are keeping him, with the "move away from pop culture".
 

JimBoSox9

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They moved Cheap Heat with Shoemaker to ESPN. Interesting that they are keeping him, with the "move away from pop culture".
Not surprising even a little bit. They've been doubling-down on the WWE with Coachman on Sportscenter over the past six months or so.

Don't confuse sports, pop culture, and sports entertainment. They may be out of the middle, but the latter is explicitly what Skipper-era ESPN is in the business of. As an institution that even pretends towards journalism, it died when John Walsh retired.
 

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Interesting that they've kept the Grantland Sports podcast feed live. It's just Jalen & Jacoby and Cheap Heat but I was surprised when it kept updating with anything.
 

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Zach had his first podcast on ESPN posted yesterday, where he starts off thanking everyone at Grantland, which he referred to as "the destruction of Grantland." Oddly enough the little logo in the top left corner of the podcast reads "The Lowe Post: Grantland Sports."
 

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Oh and the show totally blows because David Thorpe sucks. The show culminated at the end when Thorpe said that Bill Russell wasn't one of the greatest centers of all-time because he shot 40 percent in the field.
 

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In continuing sad adventures of former Grantlanders stuck on the mothership:

Shoemaker's column on Survivor series went up on the main site. It appeared to have been written with the directive of writing for people who don't follow wrestling. It was depressing to see him have to spend most of the column (it was short), on who the big title contenders are (in the sense of ... Roman Reigns was an ACC football star, let me recap his entire WWE career.)
 

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Man, what a great article. I know this kind of goes against Barnwell's advice of picking a strategy that is yours and yours alone, but Barnwell is probably the most similar human being to me that has ever written an article about losing 100+ lbs, being a male sports geek of almost the same age. So I'm going to rip off a ton of his strategies.

I was about 60 lbs overweight for most of my late teens and twenties, which was annoying but OK as I was in decent shape for my size due to rugby (and like an offensive tackle, some extra weight gives you more power in the front row). Then put on another 60 after I got married, stopped playing rugby, and stopped bartending. I'd always had some pride in never being over 300, and now I've been 300-325 for the past three years. I hate it and I hate it even more now that I'm 30. I tore a meniscus last year playing softball, which aches like fuck most of the time, and my back stiffens up in minutes once I lie down. I grew out of my Fred Perry polos, which I loved, and I have about 3-4 killer vintage baseball jerseys that are XXL and therefore too small for my belly. Right around the time I broke 300 was when I got fired from the job from hell, and the resulting combination of morbid obesity and unemployment (along with a disastrous ankle sprain due to falling off a curb) put me into a spiral of low self-confidence that lasted for at least two years. God, I even oversaw a person sitting next to me send a text to their friend complaining about this fat guy taking up all the space. My first reaction wasn't to get angry, but to cry. I don't think I've ever felt so mortified in my life.

I gave it a good shot in 2015 (and even lost about 15 lbs by the end of February) but my son was kryptonite for weight loss, although I did end up the year at 318, which was probably the first time in five years that I'd left the year with a lower weight than I started it. This year, I stupidly signed up for a half-marathon and I'm trying to give it my best shot, so the pressure of exercising regularly (or trying to - it's really hard with an infant) has forced me to confront my issues with compulsive eating. Like Barnwell, I am terrible at beating myself up for a slip and that's napalmed many diets in the past. But something does feel a bit different this year - between the half-marathon (which essentially gives me a deadline of mid-March to shape up to run 13 miles - I can run about 3 right now), the health issues (back, knee), and the fatigue due to carrying around this extra weight that I've never felt before, it's absolutely 100% time to get rid of this. Previous goals were just about losing the weight I'd gained in the past few years, because 60 lbs in 52 weeks sounds ridiculously doable. But I want to go for a home run this year - to end the year at 6'2",~200 lbs would be a dream come true, and I would be an immeasurably better person for it. So thanks for the extra inspiration, Bill.
 

TFP

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"It was like Memento with fried food" is a fantastic line.

Very interesting piece, insightful and brutally honest. Glad he wrote and shared it.
 

JBill

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Speaking of Grantland, some of the writers' contracts ran out at the end of the year, and they are landing in new places. Jonah Keri tweeted that he's done at ESPN, but is moving on to SI and MLB Network and a couple other places.

A couple writers are hinting at a new project/location. I'm not sure if this is with whatever Simmons has in the works, or with Dan Fierman at MTV, or something else. Hope they all continue to find jobs.
 

shlincoln

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A couple writers are hinting at a new project/location...with Dan Fierman at MTV.
MTV News is the new Grantland: Brian Phillips, Mark Lisanti, Holly Anderson, Molly Lambert and some other folks, are all working there.