Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is arguably the best NBA reporter in the business. He’s so good, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer once personally stepped in to stop him from joining a competitor earlier this year.
And soon, he’s getting his own standalone basketball news site at Yahoo.
Yahoo announced on Wednesday that Wojnarowski will head up a new site called “The Vertical,” scheduled for launch in early 2016. The site will feature content from current NBA writers, but also actual players like Kobe Bryant and the legendary trainer of Michael Jordan, Tim Grover.
Wojnarowski is already producing exclusive content for the site, though it is currently appearing on Tumblr until the site launches. On Wednesday, he posted the first podcast called “The Vertical Podcast with Woj” featuring an interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. New podcasts will be posted every Wednesday throughout the year, it said.
The new site launch is a logical move, given the popularity of Wojnarowski around NBA circles. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst once said, “[Wojnarowski] is the one who made Yahoo, it is not Yahoo that made him,” while Eric Jackson, the Yahoo shareholder who shared a 99-page presentation arguing Mayer’s resignation, called him Yahoo Sports’ “best asset.”
Mayer’s aware of Wojnarowski’s value. It was reported in July that Wojnarowski was close to leaving for SI, but Mayer personally convinced him to stay, and “made a significant long-term commitment to build an NBA-type franchise around Wojnarowski.” Yahoo apparently locked him into a four year contract.
Wojnarowski is best-known for breaking news through Twitter, often accompanied with the hashtag “#WojBombs.” During the 2011 NBA Draft, he famously scooped more than half of the picks before they were even announced.
The new basketball site is one of the few bright spots around Yahoo lately. The company has been hammered by shareholders and activist investors over its business strategy, and recently announced that it planned to spin off its core internet business as a separate entity, which is currently given almost zero value by Wall Street investors.
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