We gave our over-arching thoughts on what we know about Bill Simmons’ forthcoming new website a while back, but since then some new hires were announced and Simmons discussed it some more, so let’s take another look.
Last we checked in, we knew the site would include Simmons, Deadspin contributor Katie Baker, Chuck Klosterman, and Lane Brown, late of New York Magazine. In the linked USA Today interview from earlier this week, however, two new hires were mentioned – Molly Lambert of This Recording, and Chris Ryan of GQ. (The names were initially announced several days prior.)
The latest names represent a continuation of what Simmons said he wants to do (and what we think is a smart move) – hire up-and-coming, not-quite-as-well-known (except for Klosterman) talent, and give them a platform to shine. Explained Simmons to USA Today’s Michael McCarthy:
I just think we can get a Murderers’ Row of talent…We’re fanatical about who we’re targeting, who’s the right fit, and how people are going to complement one another.
When people launch sites they make the mistake of spending big dollars on people who’ve already kind of peaked. They don’t look at the young and hungry people. Especially the people 32 and under. Those are the people that end up carrying projects like this.
Young and hungry…but freshness is just as important. Simmons and Klosterman are enough in the “household names” department. Certainly, many people know who each of the other hires are…but each one probably has a different fanbase from the other, and all probably have somewhat different fanbases from Simmons.
Also, we’re glad to see Simmons mention concepts like “the right fit” and “how people [will] complement one another”…he preached those ideas throughout his Book of Basketball, so it’s good to see him follow his own advice, rather than try to hire all the biggest names he can get his hands on. We’re also interested, though, to see who the part-time contributors will be (Jonah Keri, perhaps?) – and whether the big names come out in greater numbers for the guest spots.
Also of note: a “podcast network” aiming to release at least one new show per day, that the site’s name is still undecided, and that Simmons expects to have “a little more leeway” editorially due to ESPN’s name not being attached to the site. Still, though, we’re most interested in the staff Simmons hires…and so far, we like what we hear on that front. Simmons’ staffing philosophy is a smart one, and when the site launches – whatever it’s called – we’ll be eager to see what his team can do.