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The Ringer, the sports and culture website founded by Bill Simmons, is moving homes from Medium to Vox Media’s publishing platform.
The change comes as part of a larger sales and technology deal between the Bill Simmons Media Group and Vox, the media company that owns a portfolio of sites including SB Nation, Eater and The Verge. As part of the pact, The Ringer will be represented by Vox’s sales and marketing teams. The website will also move to Vox’s technology and data platform, called Chorus.
The Ringer, which is run by president Eric Weinberger and edited by Sean Fennessey, covers everything from professional basketball to The Bachelor. It will continue to remain editorially independent. The website is expected to move from Medium’s platform to Vox’s technology later this summer.
“Vox Media’s expertise is building strong media brands that go deeper with audiences,” said Vox CEO Jim Bankoff. “Bill is one of our industry’s great innovators, with one of its most loyal followings. He shares Vox Media’s commitment to high quality storytelling and branded content. We look forward to working with him and the rest of his talented team, and to including The Ringer in the portfolio of leading media brands that we bring to market.”
Simmons added, “We have an unbelievable amount of respect for Jim and everyone at Vox Media. This partnership allows us to remain independent while leveraging two of the things that Vox Media is great at — sales and technology. We want to devote the next couple of years to creating quality content, innovating as much as we can, building our brand and growing The Ringer as a multimedia business.”
He continued, “And as a bonus, Jim and I have been trying to figure out a way to work together for a few years now, so I’m delighted it worked out.”
Simmons announced plans for The Ringer in early 2016 after his contact was not renewed with ESPN, where he operated sports and culture site Grantland. Also part of his post-ESPN plans was a weekly talk show with HBO — which is also an investor in his media company — called Any Given Wednesday. The show was canceled after four months, but Simmons is developing new projects, including a documentary on Andre the Giant, as part of a lucrative three-year deal with the cable network.
Meanwhile, Simmons is continuing to operate The Ringer, which includes an email newsletter, a podcast network and video production. The website launched on Medium in June 2016. As the first premium-content website hosted by the self-publishing platform, The Ringer was part of a plan for the Ev Williams-run company to expand into hosting professional content. Pacific Standard, The Awl and others soon followed. But in January this year, Medium laid off its advertising staff and closed its offices in Washington, D.C., and New York. That meant that sites that were a part of Medium’s revenue program would no longer be able to rely on the company for a cut of native advertising sales.
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