Nate Silver, the statistician who rose to national prominence for his scarily accurate predictions of the 2008 and 2012 U.S. presidential elections, is leaving The New York Times for ESPN . Silver will take the Five Thirty Eight brand with him to the sports giant, according to The Times’ Brian Stelter.
Silver will have a number of roles at ESPN, from his stats-driven blogging to a regular role on Keith Olbermann’s new ESPN2 show. He will also reportedly have a role at ABC News in political years. ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney.
Silver’s three-year contract with The Times ends in August, around the time that Olbermann’s show is set to launch. The New York Times bought out Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog in August 2010; however the 2010 deal allowed Silver to retain the Five Thirty Eight brand, which he will now take with him to Disney.
At one point during the fall election news cycle, Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog accounted for more than 20 percent of all visits to the entire New York Times website and 71 percent of all politics visits to the Times’ site.
That being said, this isn’t the end of the world for the NYT.While it’s bad for them to lose Silver, I’m sure Silver is fetching a pretty penny from Disney. The best thing for The Times is that Silver is only doing politics once every four years; while he’s covering the sports world, the Times can build up the next best alternative. Maybe this time they should do it under their own brand.
Silver reportedly informed the Times of his decision earlier today, and Stelter reports that the deal could be announced as early as Monday.