Grantland was founded by Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy) of ESPN notoriety as a new editoral project, and he has served as its editor in chief since inception. Grantland is an online sports magazine that launched on June 8, 2011. The Quarterly soon followed, as Simmons explained in the inaugural issue - he wanted the Quarterly to exist so that the contributors could have a physical object to place upon their bookshelves, to point to and say that they were a part of Grantland. This was done because of the failure of The National Sports Daily (a short-lived national sports newspaper from January 1990 to June 1991). That specific article by Alex French and Howie Kahn describing the failure of The National from Grantland is also republished in the first Grantland Quarterly, making it an ironic monument to failure.
The Grantland Quarterly was published by McSweeney's, the same publishers of the quirky McSweeney's line of literary curio, including the McSweeney's Quarterly. The original subscribers had to subscribe via McSweeney and preorder the first year of Grantland sight unseen. The only thing that was promised was that the first issue would have a tactile rubberized cover resembling a basketball. Using a standard mock-up image, this was presented as a paperback magazine in the style of Granta. I placed my order for the first year's subscription and eagerly awaited the arrival of my inaugural issue, hoping not to be disappointed (I already knew I enjoyed Grantland since I had been reading the article online for a while before I subscribed, and the Quarterly reprints articles physically with the addition of a few new bonus features / illustrations).
I only subscribed for the original first year's run (four issues) - and elected not to renew, as I found that I preferred reading these articles online over getting a limited selection of articles reprinted in the issues. They do come with quirky ephemera, so if you enjoy McSweeney's style ephemera and Grantland, then the Grantland Quarterly may be well worth your time and money.
When the very first issue arrived, I was flabbergasted to find that it was hardcover, and not just a paperback:
(Originally written 10-Jun-2013)