Spotify announced on Wednesday that it's buying The Ringer, Bill Simmons' sports and entertainment venture that will offer its extensive podcast catalog, website as well as its fanbase of listeners. The financial details of the deal have not been released, but The Ringer is a profitable company that made $15 million on podcasts in 2018.
“With the Ringer, we’re basically getting the new ESPN,” Spotify (SPOT) - Get Report CEO Daniel Ek told Recode in an interview after the deal was announced. “What [Simmons] has accomplished in just a few short years, it’s nothing short of extraordinary. ... It’s not just his own podcast, but his whole network that’s doing really well. He’s a talent magnet,” Ek said.
It is expected that Simmons' team at The Ringer will still have creative control of the platform in the hope of reaching an even larger audience.
The Ringer and Spotify already have close ties as Spotify co-produces the popular podcast The Hottest Take. The deal still has to go through regulatory and financial hurdles and details are expected to be announced in the next three months.
The Ringer was launched in 2016 by Bill Simmons, who brought along several editors who had previously worked with him on Grantland, an ESPN-owned (Disney) blog he operated from 2011 to 2015. At launch, the Ringer focused primarily on sports and pop culture as content areas, with a few writers also working on technology and politics.
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