Adrian Wojnarowski Rumors
Adrian Wojnarowski was working at 2:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, because that’s what he does. He received a tip that the Phoenix Suns just fired coach Jeff Hornacek. The timing couldn’t have been better for his recently launched NBA site on Yahoo Sports, The Vertical with Woj. Wojnarowski woke up Joe Garza, the site’s managing editor. “I apologized to his wife,” Wojnarowski said. Garza quickly rallied the troops. Within a few hours, The Vertical not only posted Wojnarowski’s scoop, but also a package of analysis pieces examining the Suns’ next steps. They included Chris Mannix’s story that former Phoenix great Steve Nash could be an option as the new coach.
It shouldn’t be any surprise as to Wojnarowski’s mission for the site. “First and foremost, we want to give people information they can’t get anywhere else,” Wojnarowski said. “News drives traffic. We will try to break news every day. News and storytelling has to be your spine.”
Ultimately, though, there is another factor that will determine the success of the site. Wojnarowski says he has spent a fair amount of time with Yahoo’s sale force and with sponsors. State Farm has signed on as a presenting sponsor of The Vertical. “I want this site to be sustainable over time,” Wojnarowski said. “We need to have a business model. I have no illusions that if we’re not making a profit, we will be putting ourselves in peril.”
That’s the foundation of a compelling site, and from Wojnarowski’s conversation with Nolan it sounds like The Vertical will go after some interesting stories: We are going to use the access we have around the league to go inside. One of the first stories we’ll have when we launch on Friday is Michael Lee, who we hired from the Washington Post who’s tremendous, spent two or three days inside the coaching staff of an NBA team as they prepared for a game. In the locker room, in the coaches meetings. We want to take people inside, kind of pull the curtain back on the league.
Wojnarowski also announced that the site would feature a lot of video, helmed by Mannix. Perhaps most intriguingly—and frankly, confusingly—the site will host live, news-breaking shows during important times in the NBA schedule: We’re going to do a lot of video. Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated, he’ll be on the front lines of that for us. He’s a great writer too, but we’re going to have out of our studio in New York, trade deadline, NBA draft, free agency, we’re going to go live eventually, and break news on air. we have a great set there.