Bill Simmons has launched TheRinger.com, the web destination for his sports, politics and culture media enterprise, with the site’s first major sponsorship deal sold to Miller Lite.
At launch, the site is exclusively sponsored by the SABMiller-owned beer brand is prominently featured on the homepage, and each article includes two small “presented by” banner ads for Miller Lite (which are not clickable).
Simmons formed Bill Simmons Media Group after a rancorous exit from ESPN, where he launched and oversaw Grantland. The L.A.-based startup has recruited numerous former Grantland staffers and in March launched a newsletter, which currently doesn’t carry any advertising. BSMG also produces HBO’s “After the Thrones” aftershow for the cabler’s “Game of Thrones” and several podcasts.
TheRinger.com will be rolling out different types of content over the next few months, “some with branded relationships, that will have sponsors and branded content,” according to a rep. Current advertisers for the company’s podcasts include Seatgeek, Callaway Golf, Yahoo Fantasy Sports, DraftKings, Harry’s, Uber and HBONow.
“We’ve been working for months to build this site into a space for curious, engaged and entertaining writing,” editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey said in announcing the launch. “We want to have fun, take chances, analyze, theorize, obsess, and try not to take ourselves too seriously. We hope, at the very least, that you’ll obsess with us.”
In the future, TheRinger.com will present documentary films, “audio experiments, vociferously defended stances, and (hopefully) amusing memes,” according to Fennessey.
The site’s premiere features include: sports media columnist Bryan Curtis’ profile of Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck; Jon Favreau, ex-speechwriter for President Obama, about what his former boss’s role will be in the 2016 election; and associate editor Danny Chau’s piece on three basketball playing brothers (and their “mad-scientist” father) who live in Chino Hills, Calif. Upcoming features are slated to include stories on Beyonce, the inner workings of the NFL, WWE’s Vince McMahon, and the best albums of the year so far.
TheRinger.com also is promoting “Any Given Wednesday,” Simmons’ weekly sports show for HBO set to debut June 22.
Simmons leads BSMG as founder and CEO with president Eric Weinberger (formerly with NFL Network) and COO Geoff Chow (previously CFO of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group).
The company’s Ringer Podcast Network includes the Bill Simmons Podcast; “The Watch,” the basis for “After the Thrones” hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan; “Keepin’ It 1600,” hosted by former Obama administration staffers Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer; and “ShackHouse,” a weekly golf podcast with Geoff Shackelford and Joe House sponsored by Callaway Golf.