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Tuesday, Jun 6, 2023

Game Over for ESPN’s Grantland

Walt Disney Co.-owned sports network ESPN is shutting down the influential Grantland sports and pop-culture blog headquartered at downtown’s L.A. Live.

The decision – affecting about 40 writers, producers and editors – can be chalked up as another cost-cutting measure following a decline of its cable subscribers. Almost 300 staffers were fired by ESPN earlier this month.

ESPN announced the move in a statement on Friday:

“After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise,” reads the statement.

The decision comes five months after a parting of the ways between ESPN and the blog’s founder and former editor-in-chief Bill Simmons, who took to Twitter Friday to voice his displeasure:

“I loved everyone I worked with at G and loved what we built. Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.”

One of the site’s writers, Michael Baumann, revealed he found out about the news through social media, not from the company directly.

“Well that’s the first time I’ve ever found out I was laid off via Twitter,” he wrote on Twitter.

Grantland’s content included some long-form articles that emphasized good writing. Although the site was sports-oriented, it also featured pop culture topics, such as movie reviews and the like.

ESPN said Grantland writers under contract will work on the network’s other platforms.

Meanwhile, ESPN affirmed its commitment to two of its other digital offshoots, the blogs FiveThirtyEight and the Undefeated.

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