The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ 14-month-old sports and pop culture site, re-launched Tuesday, officially moving from Medium’s publishing platform to Vox’s. The shift was first announced in late May.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) August 8, 2017
The new Ringer site is a bit boxier than its predecessor, with much less of the polarizing lime green color that had been a fixture on every Ringer page. Unsurprisingly, the site now looks and functions like Vox-owned SB Nation, which recently underwent a re-design itself. Though the fonts are different and The Ringer went for bigger text and bigger images, there’s no mistaking that the two sites are operating on the same platform.
Here’s what a typical Ringer article page now looks like:
Here’s SB Nation:
And just for kicks, here’s Vox, which has its own distinctive quirks but fits into the same basic template:
The Ringer has been clear all along that despite its partnership with Vox it will retain full editorial independence. Simmons and company get Vox’s technology and share in its ad revenues but will continue to produce their own content, with no oversight from their new business partners. The relationship ostensibly allows The Ringer to focus fully on writing and podcasting, without stressing the business and technological aspects of running a site. The Ringer needed a new publishing platform, as Medium laid off employees and announced a new direction, and Vox seems like a sensible fit.
The big remaining question here is to what extent Vox and its sites will funnel readers to The Ringer, whose traffic reportedly declined sharply after a successful launch last summer. Simmons has said his site is profitable, but given The Ringer’s failure to attract the kind of audience it (presumably) envisioned, there’s reason for skepticism.
The Ringer does a lot of things well. Its NBA coverage is widely lauded, its podcast network is vast and well-executed, it produces sharp insight on a wide range of subjects and it has become a destination for Game of Thrones fans. Now it has a new look and—hopefully—some new readers.