Bill Simmons, the intrepid ESPN columnist and talker who got suspended for calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, is going to find a new place to work. Simmons is that special thing in the new media landscape that everybody wants and people pay handsomely for: a brand name. There aren’t that many brand names among sports journalists these days. And they’re valuable: ESPN, for instance, is trying to remake politics-and-data brand name Nate Silver into a sports name. Once you have the brand, you can expand it, is the idea.
Simmons will have his pick of places to go when his ESPN contract is up next year–and you can bet he’s leaving. (What are the odds Bill Simmons leaves? It’d be fun to ask Nate Silver. We’re pretty sure Nate Silver says near 100%.) The smart money says that Simmons will follow a path similar to Glenn Greenwald’s, and create his own entity with the backing of someone like eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who backed Greenwald’s new media venture, The Intercept. Or will Ev Williams, the Twitter co-founder who runs Medium, snag Simmons? Simmons will have a special freedom of expression clause in his next contract–that’s another sure thing.