Very rarely in the days of current 2017 Sports Media-19 years after the launch of ESPN.com-does any web sportswriter have a claim to fame purely on the basis of his reporting.
NFL reporter Adam Schefter of ESPN fame is highly regarded and quite recognizable purely on the basis of his reporting, but he is a TV reporter first, writer second.
Yahoo.com NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, affectionally known as “Woj” (pronounced “Woge”), will join ESPN in the coming months and you can bet you’ll see him all over your TV screens soon.
According to published reports, Woj will be on ESPN platforms sometime before the NBA opens its free agency floodgates July 1st. Re-code reports Wojnarowski will be on ESPN platforms after the NBA Draft which takes place June 22nd. He’ll cover the draft for Yahoo Sports.
If you are an NBA transaction junkie, and there are quite a few out there suffering from this affliction, Adrian Wojnarowski is the kingpin of all NBA news. News not gossip. As in the stuff he reports comes true and is factual to an alarming rate. As in if Wojnarowki reports it, it’s done. In the Woj era, so often breaking NBA news must be attached to “as first first reported by Yahoo Sports”.
In the wake of multiple ESPN layoffs, particularly on the dot com side of things, the network is going spread its top talent thin and eliminate fillers. So expect to see Woj everywhere.
For Yahoo, it is not quite a sign of their demise, as Verizon still values the company at $4.5 billion in an impending acquisition, but its not a good sign its top sports writer is leaving. Still, that $4.5 million price tag illustrates just how widespread the usage of Yahoo is across internet users in terms of the Yahoo homepage and Yahoo e-mail.
For Yahoo’s sports division it is hard to quantify what the impact will be. Wojnarowski is paid in the millions and only Yahoo knows just how much traffic and attention Yahoo Sports gets just solely on Wojnarowski’s rock solid reporting. What Yahoo probably knows less is just what kind of boost Woj gives the website in terms of online reputation.
ESPN canned a Woj rival and competitor last week, NBA writer Marc Stein. Stein might be considered second-in-command in terms of breaking NBA transaction news. But perhaps Wojnarowski’s role at ESPN will be more evolved as it was when he launched “The Vertical” recently on Yahoo. The Vertical is a subsection of the Yahoo Sports website dubbed as “a hub of breaking news, info and story telling” which is accompanied by popular podcast aptly titled “The Vertical”. According to published reports, some of Woj’s go-to-staff at Yahoo/The Vertical will join him at ESPN.
An Adrian Wojnowski-ESPN marriage has endless possibilities. He could bring a Vertical style show to ESPN’s TV platforms. The network’s current mid-day NBA show “The Jump” sounds an awful lot like “The Vertical” and quite frankly could use the pedigree of Woj.