Is the Worldwide Leader cutting millions in cost, or finally cutting the final cord with Bill Simmons?
Amid the news that ESPN has shut down the publication of Grantland, The Big Lead is reporting that The Undefeated has added over 20 new staffers.
Three sources told The Big Lead that The Undefeated, which recently got a new editor – 58-year old Kevin Merida from the Washington Post – will be bolstering its staff from less than 10 (which it had under Jason Whitlock) to 32 in the coming months. Expect many writers and editors from Grantland to pivot over to The Undefeated, and others have their work rolled into ESPN.com.
The 58-year old Merida also got a lofty title to leave the Washington Post – Senior Vice President – which vaults him several levels ahead of editors who have been at ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine for years. Whitlock and Simmons were writers who appeared on TV (“talent”) and had independent voices; Merida is a newspaper guy who will tug The Undefeated closer under the corporate umbrella.
With ESPN looking to trim $100 million from its 2016 budget, it looks like this move was simply about the trimming the Bill Simmons era, and big personalities forever.