Photo: Grantland via YouTube
We knew Bill Simmons was important at ESPN, but we didn’t realise just how important until we read this sentence from Karl Taro Greenfield at Bloomberg BusinessWeek: “On a recent Friday afternoon, of 100,000 visitors to ESPN.com, 60,000 were reading a new Simmons column.”Greenfield wrote a fabulous profile of ESPN and a considerable portion is dedicated to Simmons’ influence over the place.
Greenfield reports Simmons’ columns draw 750,000 uniques per month and his podcast is downloaded 600,000 times a month.
When Greenfield went to ESPN’s LA offices to interview Simmons and couldn’t find him listed in the directory, an ESPN employee told him, “Ask for the franchise.”
Even ESPN boss John Skipper is careful when talking about Simmons, saying of his new site Grantland: “In the case of Grantland—I have to be careful because I want to keep my pal Bill Simmons happy—it’s going to be a niche business … but it’s a niche business that does a lot of good things for us. It introduces us to a world of talent that we use in other platforms.”
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