Bill Simmons’ newest online creation The Ringer has come to life. The website launched today with a solid mix of sports, pop culture, and tech articles. It also has its own podcast section.
In browsing through the website, there was a lot to enjoy. There’s a strong commitment to including photos, video, tweets, and graphics in many of the written pieces. When you click on a story, you’ll also receive a pop up in your lower right hand corner reminding you to follow the writer on Twitter in order to stay informed of when they publish their next piece. That’s pretty cool.
Another quality that visitors will appreciate is that the website is very clean. The only advertisement I noticed was Miller Lite’s placement as the presenting sponsor of the website. Whether that’s by design or the result of a lack of sponsor interest I’m not sure, but it was easy to navigate without feeling bombarded by an abundance of meaningless ads. That benefits the reader.
There was one particular feature that grabbed my attention immediately. Directly under each author’s name, are the details of when the story was posted, and how long it should take the reader to finish reading the article. In today’s world where everyone is on the go and trying to figure out how to cram everything in, setting an expectation for how long it should take a person to read something is a valuable tool.
If you previously enjoyed Grantland, and the way the website offered high quality writing, and long-form stories, you’re in luck. The Ringer provides a number of pieces that are extensive. I particularly enjoyed Bryan Curtis’ piece on Joe Buck, which explains why one of America’s most accomplished play by play announcers is still underrated.
If lengthy pieces aren’t your cup of tea though, there are other short-form stories to dive into. Chris Ryan’s article on Kevin Durant and his NBA future was short, sweet, to the point, and addresses many of the things that fans think about when it comes to Thunder superstar’s upcoming free agency period.
The one glaring omission that left me a little disappointed, was a lack of presence on the website from Bill Simmons himself. I was hoping to find an article or introduction to the new platform from him but it wasn’t there. Maybe that’s forthcoming or the goal was not to steal the spotlight from the staff’s writing team, but the brand does have Simmons’ name on it. The reason many are flocking to the website is because of his involvement. Whether he had provided one of his classic manifesto’s or a small peak behind the curtain, it’d have been nice to find something on the main page with his name behind it.
Aside from my one minor gripe, the website looked great, had a great energy, and the writing skews younger and feels fresh. It’s a website I will visit again and recommend to others.
If The Ringer can duplicate its first impression, and continue adding along the way as Simmons further expands his profile through his on-air partnership with HBO, it could grow into an even bigger phenomenon. But for now, the team should focus on enjoying the moment. Many wondered whether or not The Ringer could live up to the hype. Based on day one, that answer is a resounding yes.