Peter King has been synonymous with Sports Illustrated‘s NFL coverage for the past few decades, to the point that the company gave him his own NFL vertical, MMQB, named after his weekly column.
Now, after 29 years at Sports Illustrated, King will be leaving the company at the end of the month, King and SI announced today. According to King, it was time to take a step back from the grind of building an online site, and in his opinion, The MMQB is in the right hands:
“When Sports Illustrated was good enough to allow me to start The MMQB five years ago, I wanted to introduce a group of promising young journalists to the SI audience and give them a chance to develop into prominent voices on the pro football scene,” King says. “We’re fortunate now that Jenny Vrentas, Robert Klemko, Andy Benoit, Albert Breer, Conor Orr, Jonathan Jones, Tim Rohan, Jacob Feldman and Kalyn Kahler—average age: 30—have grown into an excellent team, with a group of superb editors. It’s time for them to have the opportunities I’ve had over the years, and to do some of the stories and projects I’ve done that they’re more than ready to do. They’re ready.
“I just felt it was time to move on from the 24/7-ness of football coverage and try something a little bit different. My 29 years at Sports Illustrated have been, collectively, a dream come true. I’ll always be grateful to Mark Mulvoy for hiring a green 31-year-old kid in 1989, just as I’m grateful to my current boss, Chris Stone, for the opportunities and support he’s given me in recent years. For three decades, I’ve had the job of a lifetime in the sports media business, and I will be forever grateful to SI. I leave at the end of May with immense gratitude to my editors over the years and to my staff at The MMQB since 2013. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”
Of course, King isn’t disappearing, and NBC moved quickly to announce they’d signed King to an exclusive deal:
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) May 3, 2018
So King will now be writing his Monday morning column (presumably with a new title) at NBC, while the network leverages him with PFT and their weekly game broadcasts. That makes more sense, given King’s longtime relationship with Football Night in America.
As expected, The Athletic also made a run at King before coming up short.
The Athletic also made an offer to Peter King, but he went with NBC.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) May 3, 2018
Of course, that King would jump ship to NBC has to be worrisome for those at The MMQB and SI. Especially considering they’ll now be competing for traffic with King, whose MMQB column was obviously the hook for the site in the first place.