One of the most talked about storylines in sports media is the future of Bill Simmons. The Sports Guy has been with ESPN since 2001, becoming a superstar over the past decade.
Simmons’ contract with the Worldwide Leader expires this year, and there has been a bevy of conjecture whether he will stay or move on to another challenge. Perhaps Simmons, 45, wants to run his own show, or join up with another media giant such as Bleacher Report, Turner or FOX Sports. On Monday, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated talked about Simmons’ future with ESPN president John Skipper.
“My interest is high in re-signing Bill,” Skipper said. “We like Bill. He has done good work for us. We continue to have a good collaboration, and I am anxious to have some discussions with Bill to see if we can continue to do things that work for ESPN.”
Skipper said it is impossible to say what the likelihood of bringing Simmons back is and went on to state he is not sure when negotiations on a new contract will begin, but recognizes they will be coming.
“We are thrilled with Grantland and we are thrilled with Bill’s contribution to 30 for 30,” Skipper said. “The Grantland Basketball Hour is great. We get a lot of value of Mr. Simmons. He and I are personal friends and before too long, we will have discussions.”
Simmons has enjoyed a brilliant run with ESPN, but also has had his fair share of dust-ups. Simmons has been suspended twice by ESPN, once for attacking the disgrace that is First Take (this guy thinks he should have gotten a massive raise) and another for brazenly daring a suspension when he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar. He also blasted Mike and Mike for taking his comments about LeBron James out of context.
It’s hard to imagine Simmons wanting to walk away from ESPN. No company has more resources and connections, not to mention a massive audience on multiple mediums. Between Grantland, 30 for 30 and the BS Report, Simmons has a great thing going. Then again, a new challenge can always be very enticing.