ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons announced details of a new website he is launching as well as some of the staff members being added.
According to Sports Business Daily, the site will be 70% sports and 30% pop culture...launch later this spring... and while it will be fully owned by ESPN, it will not carry the ESPN brand.
Simmons told The Daily, This is something that was really important to me when my contract was up at the end of last year. It's going to have a bunch of quality writers. And it's going to have the flexibility to have a lot of people come in and write one time a year or a couple of times a year, whatever. I'm hoping that we're going to have enough quality people coming out of the gate that other people are also going to want to write for it.
The launch date for this new venture is not yet known, but Simmons has said it will be sometime this spring. Simmons plans to have 12 full-time staff members and use a lot of freelance contributors. Thus far, Chuck Klosterman, New York Magazine's Lane Brown, and Katie Baker, whose work has appeared on Deadspin.com, The Awl, and New York Times Magazine, are the only known hires.
UPDATE: Via AllThingsD, here are the bullet-points of the press release for today's announcement that reveal more about the new site's structure and content.
- The graphic style of the site, designed by renowned magazine designer Walter Bernard, will be simple and elegant, in order to set it apart from the daily rush of sports news.
- The site will host Bill's columns and podcasts, but unlike Page 2, it will not be based on the sports events of the day or the current sports calendar.
- In addition to Bill's works, the site will include columns and essays about sports and pop culture from leading journalists.
- Bill is building a team of lesser-known, talented young writers and editors to capture new voices and commentary on sports and pop culture.
- We anticipate some edgy topics and writing, but such content will remain the exception.
- About 70 percent sports, 30 percent pop culture, with less video than other ESPN sites.
- Bill sees the site functioning with limited fan interaction, including a selection of about 300 fans with exclusive access to comment on the site and interact with contributors.