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Bill Simmons Announces The Ringer: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2016

FILE - In this May 6, 2014 file photo, Bill Simmons arrives at the world premiere of
Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

Former ESPN and current HBO personality Bill Simmons announced a new venture Wednesday in the form of a website called The Ringer.

Simmons offered a link to the homepage and revealed that it is set to launch "later in 2016."

Per Brian Stelter of CNN, Simmons' spokesperson said that all of his written content will be featured on The Ringer, while his television work will be exclusive to HBO.

The spokesperson also revealed that The Ringer will begin as an email newsletter in mid-March and the full site will launch in either the late spring or early summer.

The 46-year-old Marlborough, Massachusetts, native worked for ESPN from 2001-15, and he served as the editor-in-chief of Grantland beginning in 2011.

ESPN severed ties with Simmons in May 2015, a few months before his contract was set to expire, and announced the end of Grantland in October.

Grantland had become a popular destination for readers interested in a blend of sports and pop culture, and Simmons was the unquestioned face of the brand.

It was something he was passionate about, and ESPN's handling of the situation is something that clearly still irritates him to this day, as evidenced by this tweet:

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Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Don't do it with ESPN. RT @ParrishWalton: What are the lessons @BillSimmons learned from running Grantland from a business perspective?

According to Stelter, The Ringer will have a decidedly Grantland feel, as editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey and at least seven other The Ringer hirings have ties to Grantland.

There is no question that building a brand without ESPN's backing will be a challenge for Simmons, but with a huge following (including 4.8 million Twitter followers) to his credit and the potential for some crossover appeal with HBO, he certainly has a chance to lure most of Grantland's previous readers to The Ringer.

The elimination of Grantland has left a void in terms of Simmons' unique style and vision when it comes to the coverage of sports and other mediums, and every indication is that The Ringer will aim to fill it.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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