ESPN suspends Grantland publication

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The website had over 30 employees, including 25 staff writers.

ESPN said Friday it had suspended the publication of sports website Grantland, effective immediately.

"After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise," the Walt Disney -owned sports network said in a statement.

The website had over 30 employees, including 25 staff writers and was founded by longtime sports journalist Bill Simmons in 2011.

Simmons left Grantland and ESPN last May after the network decided not to renew his contract.

"Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent," ESPN said Friday.

ESPN started the process of laying off up to 300 people over the next few months, the company said on Oct. 21. The Big Lead, a sports news website, said in September that Disney told ESPN to cut $100 million from its 2016 budget and $250 million in 2017.

— CNBC's Michelle Castillo contributed to this report.