First, Bill Simmons’ show at HBO seems to be in serious trouble. Why? Nobody’s watching… I mean NO-BODY.
The writer makes a comparison between Simmons and an underperforming college football coach with a big contract. Very true, but take it one step further…the person who gave Simmons that deal is no longer at HBO. So it looks a lot like, say Ricky Pitino Jr. or John Groce (to switch the analogy to basketball), where the AD who hired them is no longer at the school and all the new guys sees are L’s and a big contract.
Personally, I’m not surprised. I’ve long believed the worst things Simmons does involve Bill Simmons directly. I don’t think he’s charismatic or a remotely compelling TV presence, and while it’s clear that his career was built on his “Sports Guy” columns, I never found them to be much either. To me, the best things he’s responsible for were Grantland and 30 For 30, both of which involved his hiring other people to do great work. So, if the idea is to let Bill Simmons judge, secure and develop talent, I’m all for it. Things where he’s at the center? Hard pass, and it appears as if much of America agrees with me.
Second, another in a long line of Clay Travis “ESPN is crashing” articles.
Now, Travis is hardly a disinterested party. He also tends to be hyperbolic, which undercuts his credibility to some extent. However, the underlying point is inarguable IMO. To add to the subscriber problems, Travis discusses the issues presented by the NFL’s serious, serious ratings dive this season, and what that does to non-subscription revenues (advertising).
Again, Travis is a bit of a doof and tough to like or respect, but I think he’s right about one thing…this is a VERY, very underdiscussed story, the impact of changes in the way content is consumed and thus paid for. It’ll impact everyone in the game but ESPN, for reasons he discusses here, more profoundly than anyone else.