The latest forecasts show that Nate Silver is highly unlikely to remain at ESPN.
The network is exploring a potential sale or spinoff of FiveThirtyEight, the political and sports analytics site headlined by Silver.
“FiveThirtyEight is a tremendous asset to ESPN, and together we’ve created exceptional content. We are exploring, with Nate, a variety of options for the future, and any discussion of exactly what that might look like would be premature,” the network said in a statement.
The news was first broken by The Big Lead, which reported that possible options included sale of the site to The Atlantic or spinning it off to Disney corporate sibling, ABC News. An ESPN official confirmed that those are two possible destinations.
Speculation on the future of the site has existed for several months on ESPN’s campus, as the company has gone through two painful rounds of layoffs in the last year and become embroiled in a series of political controversies, most notably when the White House called for the firing of Jemele Hill after she called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter.
ESPN has often sought to tip-toe around political issues, so its purchase of the site from The New York Times in 2013 represented something of a departure.
While the website’s sports content found a natural home at ESPN, its political forecasting and analysis was never a clean fit for the network. It’s unclear what will happen to staff—both sports and political—in the event of a sale.