To Move Away From Politics, ESPN Explores Sale Of 'FiveThirtyEight'

ESPN is looking to sell or spin off its data analytics-driven politics and sports site FiveThirtyEight, in an effort to move away from political coverage.

"FiveThirtyEight is a tremendous asset to ESPN, and together we’ve created exceptional content,” an ESPN spokesperson told The Big Lead, which first reported the news. “We are exploring, with [founder] Nate [Silver], a variety of options for the future, and any discussion of exactly what that might look like would be premature.”

FiveThirtyEight was purchased by ESPN in 2013. ESPN president John Skipper oversaw the acquisition. Skipper abruptly resigned from the network last month, citing a battle with substance abuse.

The Big Lead suggests FiveThirtyEight could be sold to The Atlantic or another publisher, or moved to another part of parent company Disney, such as to ABC News.

FiveThirtyEight’s traffic grew from 3.6 million unique visitors in March 2015 to 11.5 million a year later, thanks to the fever surrounding the 2016 presidential election. The site has expanded from political and sports blogging to culture, science and health coverage, as well as documentary production and live election coverage.



The Big Lead notes ESPN has wanted to distance itself from politics after "SportsCenter" co-host Jemele Hill called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter. The White House called for the firing of Hill, and embroiled the network in controversy.

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