Bill Simmons to Exit ESPN This Fall, After Contract Talks Fall Through

ESPN Bill Simmons Leaving

Bill Simmons’ almost 15-year run with ESPN will end this October, after the renowned analyst/columnist/podcaster failed to strike a new deal with the cable sports outlet.

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract,” ESPN president John Skipper told the New York Times of the split with Simmons. After a year of going back-and-forth on a new deal, “it was clear we weren’t going to get to the terms,” the exec said.

“We’ve had an excellent run with Bill,” Skipper added. “It was a decision I had to make and he had to move forward.”

During his time with ESPN, Simmons’ myriad contributions included the creation of the Grantland sports and entertainment site (which Skipper maintains won’t be affected by the departure) and the shepherding of the 30 for 30 documentaries.

Simmons has yet to comment on the aborted contract talks.

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9 Comments
  1. Meh says:

    Good for Bill. He is too good for them.

    • dan says:

      Good for Bill? According to the statement from the ESPN president, it was their decision not to renew Bill’s contract after they couldn’t reach terms. Sounds like Bill thought very highly of himself and wanted more than ESPN was willing to pay. Maybe it will be good for Bill, but based on the ESPN statement it looks like it wasn’t Bill’s decision (I say this as a fan of Bill’s).

      • Gern Blanston says:

        He should think very highly of himself. The only new, successful things that ESPN has done in the last 5-7 years have Simmons handprints all over them. The ESPN podcasts, 30 for 30, Grantland, not to mention all of the content that he creates himself for TV, the main ESPN website, guest spots on ESPN Radio. There is going to be a huge void of creativity over at the worldwide leader. ESPN just made a big mitake.

  2. Ben Kabak says:

    Boooo!

  3. big cheddar says:

    I can see him getting snapped up by ABC for GMA and sport special events or by HBO for events or specials.

    • Rob says:

      I have a hard time believing he’d get picked up by ABC, as both ABC and ESPN are owned by Disney and ESPN basically dictates the sports coverage for them as well. NBC might make sense, but there’s no NBA, which is his biggest passion. HBO would give him ability to continue producing 30-for-30 style documentaries, but that’s still a limited platform. Maybe Fox, as that’s really the only sports entity that can come close to ESPN. But, with them, also, there’s no NBA right now. It will be interesting to see where this winds up.

      • Gern Blanston says:

        Early speculation that I saw was that he’ll go to Bleacher Report. They are affiliated with Turner Sports somehow which would let him do NBA on TNT. It was just speculation but, it makes sense.

  4. Richard says:

    Dumb move by ESPN. Bill is the best thing to happen to ESPN in years.

  5. Tim says:

    Hopefully he goes to Bleacher Report