Grantland will be to ESPN what Miramax was to Disney

New York Times
It’ll be a boutique division with more room for creativity. “Another metaphor might be Martha Stewart Living, a magazine similarly constructed around a single person’s market-tested sensibility,” writes Jonathan Mahler. “Much has been made of some of the well-known, literary writers Bill Simmons has already attracted to Grantland, but as a business proposition, the site is basically an attempt to leverage Simmons’s take on sports and, really, life into something much bigger than himself.” || Grantland explained:

In some respects, Grantland is meant as an antidote to the revolution Simmons helped start. The site will more closely resemble a traditional print publication than a Web site. Its name is a homage to the legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice; its designer is a former art director for New York magazine and Esquire. Unlike news aggregators like The Huffington Post, Grantland will feature only exclusive content. Stories will run long and often include original reporting.

In addition to sports, Grantland will dwell heavily on Simmons’s other obsession, pop culture. In truth, though — and Simmons had a hand in this too — sports now is pop culture, or a huge part of it anyway, every bit as dominant in the entertainment world as, say, pop music. Athletes are no longer gods, they’re celebrities, marketing their brands, starring in reality TV shows and providing fodder for Web sites like Deadspin and TMZ.

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