After the story broke Friday night, ESPN has now made it official. Renowned statistical maven Nate Silver will be taking his talents from the Old Grey Lady, the New York Times, and will be joining the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader, ESPN. This is a multi-faceted move as the ESPN press release states.
First, Silver will be moving his site, FiveThirtyEight.com from the New York Times to its own URL. Second, he will become the editor-in-chief to lead an entire staff of writers and contributors, similar to Bill Simmons' Grantland. Third, Silver will contribute to ABC News during election years to provide insight on politics. And fourth, he'll also have insight on the Oscars.
As it was reported by Brian Stelter in the New York Times, Silver's focus will be primarily be on sports and will become a regular contributor to ESPN2's "Olbermann" show.
How this deal came together is quite interesting. Mike Allen at Politico outlined the process that led Silver to go to ESPN. After the 2012 election where Silver correctly predicted that President Obama would be re-elected to office, interest from other news organizations began to surface.
Allen says both NBC and Bloomberg wanted to bring Silver on board, but the bidding quickly evolved between the Times and ESPN/ABC. Apparently, Silver wanted to expand his brand to other areas where the Times used statistics like weather and economics. The Times decided it would provide Silver with his own staff of bloggers and thought it had him staying as it had provided everything he had asked for.
However, Allen reports that Silver's first love is sports and he also wanted to contribute to the Times' sports section which had made him feel unwelcome. So when ESPN came with a pitch that Silver could become his own brand similiar to Bill Simmons, also brought in ABC News where Allen says he hit it off with several of their political wonks and would be allowed to contribute in other areas such as education, weather and economics.
The Times gave a terse statement in regards to Silver's upcoming departure:
“We valued our partnership with Nate, particularly during the 2012 election campaign, and we wish him every success in the future.”
So Silver will get an expanded role at the Wonderful World of Disney. He'll be able to talk sports, politics, movies, weather, education and any topic he wishes to discuss. We at the stafff at Awful Announcing are wondering when the first debate will be between he and Skip Bayless on the statistical probability of Tim Tebow making the New England Patriots final roster.