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Deadspin's entire staff laid off after blog is sold to digital startup

Jim Spanfeller, CEO of Deadspin’s now former parent company G/O Media, informed staff that the board wasn't looking to sell when they were approached.
Deadspin's entire staff laid off after blog is sold to digital startup
Posted at 2:55 PM, Mar 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-12 14:55:15-04

Deadspin, a Chicago-based sports commentary blog, laid off all of its staff on Monday after the outlet was sold to a European startup firm, according to CNN.

Jim Spanfeller, CEO of Deadspin’s now former parent company G/O Media, reportedly sent a memo to the staff before the sale, stating it had been approached by Lineup Publishing, a company looking to add the blog to its growing media holdings.   

In the email, which has been cited by CNN and posted on social media, Spanfeller said the company’s board had not been looking to sell Deadspin at the time, but ultimately accepted Lineup Publishing’s offer. 

“The rationale behind the decision to sell included a variety of important factors that include the buyer’s editorial plans for the brand, tough competition in the sports journalism sector, and a valuation that reflected a sizable premium from our original purchase price for the site,” Spanfeller wrote.

“Deadspin’s new owners have made the decision to not carry over any of the site’s existing staff and instead build a new team more in line with their editorial vision for the brand,” Spanfeller continued.

A G/O Media spokesperson confirmed to CNN that 11 Deadspin staffers were impacted by the move. 

The affected staff members were notified on Monday. 

According to Axios, this marks the third round of cuts at G/O Media in less than a year. 

The company shuttered its female-focused brand Jezebel and laid off nearly two dozen staffers last November, later selling it to Paste Magazine. Over a dozen staffers from its lifestyle website, Lifehacker, were laid off when the company sold the brand earlier last year. 

In an interview with Axios back in January, Spanfeller told Axios there weren’t any plans to sell the entire company. Some of the remaining blogs and sites currently in G/O Media’s portfolio include The Root, The Takeout and The Onion. 

SEE MORE: Los Angeles Times to lay off 20% of its newsroom

Deadspin was originally founded in 2005 by then editor-in-chief Will Leitch before it joined Gawker Media. In 2016, the outlet was one of six websites sold to Univision Communications as a part of its acquisition of Gawker. 

Gizmodo Media was subsequently created to oversee Deadspin and the other sites before it was sold to Great Hill Partners in 2019, which then created G/O Media. 

Deadspin was recently sued by the parents of a 9-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan, who alleged the site maliciously attacked their son when it published a story claiming the young fan was wearing "blackface” when he wore face paint and a Native American headdress to a game last year. 


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