Bill Simmons readies ‘The Ringer’
Bill Simmons is getting ready to put sports and pop culture through The Ringer.
That's the name of his upcoming digital operation, according to a welcome page at TheRinger.com. The name was confirmed by trademark filings, registered to The Bill Simmons Media Group, which Simmons launched last fall after an unceremonious breakup with ESPN. It's the only trademark belonging to the media group so far.
UPDATE: Simmons has officially released details about The Ringer. More information about the site has been added below.
The site will launch with a newsletter that will include "Ringer updates, riffs from our writers, and the occasional Russell Westbrook GIF," according to the sign-up page.
According to a release, the newsletter will begin in mid-March, and the full site will debut sometime this late spring or early summer. Ex-Grantlander Sean Fennessey will serve as editor in chief.
The domain name TheRinger.com was updated to reflect new ownership in December, with the owner's identity hidden. Social media profiles for "The Ringer" have been created on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The filings describe the mark as being used for “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.”
The description in the government trademark filings seems to match Simmons’ plan to launch a podcast network and content website alongside his upcoming TV show at HBO, as Deadline first reported in November. It also sounds similar to ESPN’s now-defunct sports and culture site, Grantland, which Simmons founded and where he served as editor in chief before ESPN decided not to renew his contract in May of last year.
The details of Simmons’ upcoming project at HBO have remained tightly under wraps, but at least four former Grantland staffers followed him out the door to join him in the new venture. The Bill Simmons Podcast Network (or BSPN for short) has since launched two podcasts.
Simmons' exit from Grantland spurred a series of high-profile resignations from Grantland. That, along with a “culture clash” between Grantland and ESPN, proved ultimately fatal, and the network decided it would shut Grantland down in October.
Grantland fans have long speculated that Simmons would launch another sports and culture commentary site. In the meantime, other media organizations have tried to capitalize on Grantland’s void. In January, MTV’s news unit, led by Grantland founding editorial director Dan Fierman, hired five former Grantland staffers, signaling something of a redux.
Simmons and Fennessey did not return requests for comment.