ESPN’s Simmons lines up big names for new site

ESPN Media Zone
Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Eggers and Chuck Klosterman will be consulting editors to, which is being launched in June by Bill Simmons, in association with ESPN. The site will have a mix of original columns, long-form features, blog posts, and podcasts. “The name of the site honors the legacy of Grantland Rice, the legendary sportswriter who helped elevate sports into American culture during the early 20th Century,” says a release. || MediaMemo on February 18: ESPN to give Simmons his own website.

Why Simmons’ new project will be a huge success:

They’re hiring — and paying. 8-12 full-time writers? Wow. That’s a ton. The project avoids the fate of the “unfunded mandate”: Launching a new media property, then choking it to death without the financial resources to pay for talent. Anyone who works in content can appreciate how phenomenal — and even unique — this is.

There is plenty of undervalued talent around the sports-media world, and Bill is in an excellent position to scoop some of it up. He’s already started, with the talented and still relatively unknown Katie Baker (disclosure: a friend) and the talented and very-much-known Chuck Klosterman. And Bill is in the position to hand-pick his own talent — he’s got an eye for it. (NYMag’s Lane Brown just announced he is going over as editor, another brilliant hire.)

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  • Ray Barrington

    I find it interesting that, while the talent Simmons has is praiseworthy, he’s ignoring his own roots – failing to get a much-wanted “traditional” journalism job, he instead started blogging, became the Boston Sports Guy and then was picked up by ESPN. It would have been nice to see Simmons give a start to those who are now where he once was.

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