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The Ringer will switch its host to Vox Media

Bill Simmons will keep ownership of The Ringer, which will leave current host Medium.
Bill Simmons will keep ownership of The Ringer, which will leave current host Medium.Bret Hartman for The Boston Globe Magazine

NEW YORK — The Ringer, a sports and culture website created by Bill Simmons, will soon be hosted on Vox Media’s platform but maintain editorial independence under a partnership announced Tuesday.

Simmons, a former ESPN personality, will keep ownership of The Ringer, but Vox will sell advertising for the site and share in the revenue. The Ringer will leave its current home on Medium, where it has been hosted since it began in June 2016.

Jim Bankoff, Vox’s chief executive, said in a phone interview that the partnership was the first of its type for the company and would allow it to expand its offerings to advertisers.


Vox runs a collection of popular websites, but until now it has not used its technology to host other sites. The company’s brands include The Verge, SB Nation, and Polygon, and it bought the Curbed network of sites in 2013 and Recode in 2015.

“They fit really well with our way of doing things, and we’re excited to grow together,” Bankoff said.

He said that there was no date set for The Ringer’s arrival but that it was expected “later this summer.”

Simmons said in a statement: “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.”

Once a Boston-focused sports blogger, Simmons became one of the nation’s premier sports analysts in his 15 years at ESPN. But he left the company in 2015 after a series of disputes with management, and Grantland, the boutique website he had created for ESPN, was soon shuttered.

He joined HBO on a three-year contract, but his weekly show, “Any Given Wednesday,” was canceled after 4½ months because of poor ratings.


The Ringer was seen as an effort to re-create the best parts of Grantland, which expanded its coverage beyond sports and into popular culture and featured long-form writing. Simmons hired several former Grantland employees for the new site, but The Ringer has struggled to attract the same audience as its predecessor.

The Ringer also produces several podcasts, including one hosted by Simmons and one hosted by Larry Wilmore, a former “Daily Show” correspondent who briefly had his own show on Comedy Central.

The Ringer’s move to Vox is a blow to Medium, the blogging platform created by the Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. Envisioned as a counterpoint to Twitter, with an emphasis on long-form writing and thoughtful commentary, Medium has struggled to find its place on the web.

In recent years, the company wooed commercial publishers in the hopes of developing steady sources of revenue. The Ringer was the first prominent outlet to announce it would be hosted on the platform, and it was followed by others including The Awl, Pacific Standard, and ThinkProgress.

But Medium announced in January that it would be laying off 50 employees, a third of its staff, and changing its business model.