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The real reason ESPN killed Grantland: It wasn't making any money

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 03 Nov 2015

On Friday, ESPN unceremoniously announced it was shutting down the sports and pop-culture website Grantland, which launched in 2011.There has been a lot of speculation on what went wrong and why ESPN gave up on the lauded site, but at the end of the day it appears to have died for the same reason most business ventures die: It wasn't making any money.Chris Connelly, who took over as Grantland's interim editor-in-chief when Bill Simmons left in May, did an interview with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated about Grantland and its demise. Connelly was asked directly, "Why did the site ultimately shut down'" His answer seems pretty clear: Grantland wasn't making any money at a time when ESPN was tightening its budget (emphasis ours)."Well some of that is not really my determination. I think ESPN has addressed the definitive thoughts on that. My feeling is, for what it is worth, we found ourselves up against new economic realities that maybe had not been foreseen when I took the job. When you are doing a site that you understand is not making money, you kind of understand when times get challenging or there is a new economic climate, you will be scrutinized very closely. I think the site continued to do fantastic editorial, for which I want to be sure not to take credit. That was the product of the editors and writers who were there every day of the week. But in this economic climate you will be very closely scrutinized if you are not a money-making operation."ESPN recently laid off hundreds of employees for the second time in several years, with both instances coming just before the network's costs to air live sports were about to skyrocket. ESPN has also been losing subscribers, down over 7% in just the past four years, as it starts to feel the impact of cord cutting. On top of that, interest in Grantland dwindled once Simmons left in May.All of that led to ESPN's decision that the site was no longer worth keeping afloat.Join the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: The percentage of black players in the MLB has dropped by 20% over the last 40 years ' here's a startling theory why
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