Renowed statisician hiring his own team of journalists and editors for "Grantland"-like standalone franchise
Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog will become its own franchise at ESPN, with its own team of journalists, editors and analysts, the network said in officially announcing his move Monday.
In a conference call with the press, ESPN president John Skipper said FiveThirtyEight will be similar to Bill Simmon's Grantland, which is also owned by ESPN. The FiveThirtyEight name and URL were purchased for an undisclosed amount. Previously, Silver owned those rights and licensed them to the New York Times for a three-year contract. Its deal with Silver is a "long-term, multi-year deal."
Also read: Nate Silver Leaves New York Times for ESPN
Silver will also contribute to ABC's election coverage through at least the 2016 elections. That's about all we know right now — Skipper said on the call that the rumored appearances on Keith Olbermann's upcoming show and contributions to Oscar coverage were only rumors: "Speculative notions on where Nate will appear on television are just wrong."
There is no set date for the new FiveThirtyEight's debut, but Silver said on a conference call that it should be in the coming months as he hires staff and builds the site. A smaller blog version of the site will be up in the interim.
"This is a dream job for me. I’m excited to expand FiveThirtyEight’s data-driven approach into new areas, while also reuniting with my love of sports," Silver said in a statement. "I'm thrilled that we're going to be able to create jobs for a great team of journalists, writers and analysts."
Silver is best known for his nearly dead-on election predictions in 2008 and 2012. The New York Times began hosting his blog in 2010 for its election coverage, though Silver started his career predicting baseball outcomes.
Silver tweeted: "There are lots of amazing people in the NYT newsroom. I will miss them. I greatly admire the job that Jill Abramson is doing."
Silver said that he was courted by several outlets. Politico, with which Silver has a long and acrimonious history, was not one of them.