ESPN's summer shopping spree continues. After bringing back former anchor Keith Olbermann to host his own late-night talk show, ESPN went after one of the most sought-after minds in analytics to possibly be one of Olbermann's first regular contributors: Nate Silver.
The network has reportedly hired Silver, a former New York Times columnist and creator of the FiveThirtyEight blog. The report comes from Brian Stelter of the Times itself. Silver, whose profile rose more than any political candidate during the past election cycle, will return to sportswriting. Silver managed PECOTA -- a system that forecasts the career development of Major League Baseball players -- for Baseball Prospectus from 2003 to 2009.
According to the NY Times report, Silver will continue on as a writer, moving his prestigious FiveThirtyEight blog over to presumably ESPN.com. He will also "most likely" be a regular contributor to Olbermann. Though that show will not be political in nature, Silver will remain in the world of politics. During "political years" he will have a role with Disney corporate sibling ABC News.
During a year in which ESPN is taking on a challenge from Fox Sports 1, and already dealing with a challenge from NBC Sports Network, it's remained active in making big buzz hires. In addition to Olbermann and Silver, ESPN has also hired Ray Lewis as an NFL analyst, locked up college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and beefed up programming to make sure that FS1 will have challenges on both ESPN and ESPN2 during important timeslots.