One of the biggest sports media stories of the year just got a bit more interesting – according to a report from Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Bill Simmons will be leaving ESPN after the two parties couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract.
BIll SImmons to leave ESPN, according to ESPN president John Skipper. “We weren’t going to get to the terms,” said Skipper.
— Richard Sandomir (@RichSandomir) May 8, 2015
John Skipper also released a longer statement about Simmons’ departure.
“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. 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.”
Skipper also said the parting of ways was about “more than money“, but didn’t elaborate. However, Simmons’ constant criticism of Roger Goodell was apparently not a factor in the end of his relationship with ESPN.
His departure won’t be immediate, as his contract still runs through the end of September. Simmons isn’t going to suddenly disappear from TV and Grantland next week.
Needless to say, this is huge news, and plenty of questions are now on the table.
Where will Simmons end up?
Will he be going out on his own, or joining a rival outlet like Fox or Turner?
Is this just a negotiation tactic by one or both parties?
What will the future of Grantland and 30 for 30 look like?
This summer in sports media just got *a lot* more interesting. Let the pursuit of Bill Simmons begin!
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