ESPN is exploring multiple options for the future of Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight that include a possible sale of the property, Variety has confirmed. Other options on the table include handing it over to another Disney entity, like ABC News.
“FiveThirtyEight is a tremendous asset to ESPN, and together we’ve created exceptional content. We are exploring, with Nate, a variety of options for the future,” an ESPN spokesperson told Variety. “Any discussion of exactly what that might look like would be premature.”
News of the sale was first reported by USA Today’s The Big Lead, whose report mentioned The Atlantic as one possible buyer.
ESPN bought Fivethirtyeight in 2013, and has since expanded on the site’s statistics-heavy coverage with the production of documentaries and live election coverage. Fueled by interest in the 2016 election, Fivethirtyeight’s traffic grew from 3.6 million unique visitors in March 2015 to 11.5 million 12 months later.
However, ESPN has been looking to minimize political commentary following an episode during which the network found itself in the crosshairs of President Trump and his Twitter followers after SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill had called the president a white supremacist.