In a move that can only be described as shocking, ESPN is pulling the plug on the Bill Simmons-founded Grantland, thus ending the speculation on the site. ESPN released a statement on the move.

Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland. 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.

Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun. We are grateful to those who made it so. Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent. Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.

Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.

The role of a number of their top writers will now need to be defined. What happens to a huge NBA talent like Zach Lowe, who turned other suitors to remain at Grantland months ago?

Also what does it mean for sites like the Undefeated, which hasn’t launched yet, and Five Thirty Eight, which also hasn’t produce the revenue the ESPN brass had hoped for?

By Glenn Erby

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