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The timing couldn’t have been tighter. This year, it was announced that media multi-hyphenate and erstwhile ESPN personality Bill Simmons was selling The Ringer, the podcast-heavy digital outlet he launched in 2016, to Spotify. The deal was finalized on a Friday in March. The following Wednesday, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19, as did Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert. Almost overnight, entertainment and sports — The Ringer’s primary coverage areas — ground to a halt and the world as we knew it suddenly ceased to exist.
Spotify’s acquisition, reportedly valued at up to $250 million, was chiefly driven by The Ringer’s strong on-demand audio operation anchored by Simmons’s wildly popular eponymous podcast.
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