ESPN isn't shy about promoting its brand, but it's tossing it aside with a new Web site that hopes to appeal to a younger set fascinated with blogs and Web sites sporting an anti-establishment tone.
The site, Grantland.com, is set for a June launch. It will be overseen by ESPN.com veteran columnist Bill Simmons, who has immense popularity among the under-35 set.
In addition to sports, the site will also focus on pop culture, something Simmons highlights in the "B.S. "Report" podcasts he does. Joining Simmons at the site as lead editor will be Dan Fierman, who has been a senior editor at GQ and also worked at Entertainment Weekly.
Although young males may be the target, the site's name emanates from legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice, who died in the 1950s.
Other editors will be Lane Brown, who edited New York magazine's entertainment site Vulture.com, and Jay Caspian Kang, a fiction writer and contributor to The Atlantic's Web site.
A slew of contributors will range from author Dave Eggers to ESPN.com's Chuck Klosterman to Patrice Evans, who created The Assimilated Negro (TAN) blog. "We wanted original voices, and we found a bunch of them already," Simmons stated. "We're going to take chances, come up with a few premises and ideas that you haven't seen before, and be consistently entertaining day after day."
Simmons has received acclaim for work on ESPN's "30 for 30" series on documentaries.
Magazine designer Walter Bernard will help with the design.