Last October the Internet bid a sad farewell to Grantland, the sports and culture website Bill Simmons started for ESPN in 2011. On Wednesday, it learned the name of the new digital venture from Simmons that will attempt to fill the Grantland void: The Ringer.
At the moment, the barebones landing page includes only a newsletter signup, for readers interested in receiving “Ringer updates, riffs from our writers, and the occasional Russell Westbrook GIF.” The trademark filings for The Ringer offer a little window into the breadth of what’s planned for the site: “Downloadable podcasts, webcasts and electronic publications in the fields of entertainment, sports, sports and social commentary, pop culture, movies, music, television, technology, electronics, celebrities, current events, news, politics, lifestyle, and topics of general interest…downloadable mobile applications including for the transmission of audio and video content, messages, and information…”
A full site “will debut sometime this late spring or early summer,” a spokesman told CNNMoney, and will feature sports and culture coverage from a new staff that includes half a dozen former Grantlanders.
The email newsletter-to-website rollout strategy is everywhere: The New York Times is launching a new film and TV recommendation site that helps readers figure out what to (binge)watch, and is starting first with a newsletter, followed by a full website sometime this summer. Crain’s is relying on personalized newsletters as entry points into cities where the Detroit-based publishing company doesn’t currently run a dedicated magazine, newspaper, or website.
Simmons, who still bristles over the nature of his breakup with ESPN, is doing just fine for himself, with an aptly named BSPN podcast network already launched (and apparently flourishing) and a deal with HBO that includes a weekly show for the network.