After Bill Simmons and ESPN parted ways, there was a lot of speculation about what would happen to Grantland, the sports-and-pop-culture vanity site owned by ESPN.
It turns out that Grantland’s fate was likely sealed once Simmons walked out the door.
Chris Connelly took over as interim editor-in-chief. But in recent weeks it seemed clear that Grantland was in trouble as key members of the staff left the site for other ventures, including several who rejoined Simmons to work on whatever he has coming in 2016.
Whether or not ESPN could have saved Grantland is up for debate – many felt there was no desire to do so – Grantland was still, at its core, Simmons’ baby.
The chart below shows how often people have searched Google for “Grantland” since January, 2013. It does not speak directly to traffic or revenue, both of which were not doing well, but it does show that general interest in the site plummeted after Simmons left the company.
It would have taken a Herculean effort to stop the bleeding, and that never came.
- Cork Gaines/Business Insider