Well, it’s official: Bill Simmons and ESPN are going to part ways. In a statement on Facebook, ESPN president John Skipper said the company was not going to renew Simmons’ contract.
Simmons has been with ESPN since 2001. His contract is up at the end of September.
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract,” explained Skipper. “We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial — he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”
The rumors about Simmons’ future have been gaining steam for months now. In March, Simmons seemed to show his hand a bit, suggesting that ESPN was unwilling to pay him what he thought he was worth.
Now that we know Simmons is moving on, the question is — what’s next? Will another big company step up? Maybe CNN?
Perhaps Simmons will launch his own company. He certainly has the brand power to do that. Simmons has a huge readership, and they will follow him wherever he goes. Those people—along with everyone else in the sports media world—will be anxiously waiting to hear where, exactly, that will be.