Closure of Grantland shows the changing face of the sports media industry


Grantland is no more. The once leading American sports site has been closed by owner ESPN.

Since it was founded in 2011, Grantland has been one of the pioneers of digital sports media and regarded as a distinctive and expert point of view in sports journalism, with a no-fear approach to critiquing the world of sport.

However, the website in the end was simply not profitable enough. For a staff of between 42 and 54 people, Grantland, according to James Miller’s Vanity Fair article, only produced around $6 million a year in revenue. This is simply not sustainable for any business.

What the closure of Grantland shows is that sports journalists must now do much more than just write. Grantland had a team of brilliant writers, however, being able to write and produce quality content is no longer the be all and end all of being a good journalist and being a successful sports network.

Prior to consumers reading the news on the internet, newspapers would print what the editor and writers thought to be interesting and what they thought the readers wanted to read.

However, the newspaper would of course not actually know which articles were being read.

That has all changed, with analytics showing just which articles are being read, shared and engaged with.

The successful sports writers in today’s industry write for their audience and know just which articles will generate traffic and in turn advertising budgets and money.