The biggest free agent acquisition in sports this summer didn't happen in a stadium, it happened at a corporate office in Los Angeles.
Sports commentator Bill Simmons has agreed to a multi-year deal with HBO, making the network his exclusive television home for years to come. HBO described the deal as a "major" one in a press release on Wednesday.
"We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” said Michael Lombardo, HBO's president of programming. “His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.”
Specifics of the deal were not announced but it's arguably as big for HBO as it is for Simmons. The landing spot of the 45-year-old founding editor of Grantland.com has been widely speculated upon since he parted ways with ESPN in May. Simmons spent 14 years under the employ of the world's top sports network.
Simmons' work at HBO will include a talk show that is set to premiere in 2016, video podcasts and the opportunity to develop shows and documentary films for the network. Simmons was a major creative force behind the ongoing "30 for 30" documentary series at ESPN.
HBO's sports division is mostly known for its boxing coverage and the monthly newsmagazine series "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which has won dozens of Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award since its debut in 1995.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.