There was much hullabaloo over The Big Lead report that Fox Sports 1 had signed Adrian Wojnarowski to be an NBA insider for the network. Any time an upstart network like Fox Sports 1 can add a talented reporter to its ranks, it’s a move that should be celebrated. Adding respected voices across the sports world like Woj and Bruce Feldman are important to gain credibility with viewers. And it provides a good balance to the counter-culture network of fun FS1 has tried to position itself as in Year One.
However, Fox Sports 1 and observers who see this as a possible turning point for Fox Sports 1 need a reality check.
The most important facet in this deal is the fact that Wojnarowski will still continue to write for Yahoo Sports. This isn’t like Bruce Feldman coming exclusively to Fox. This is a part-time TV gig. Woj’s best asset is his reporting and his writing and Fox won’t be getting any of those benefits at this time.
Furthermore, Wojnarowski has already had a television presence for a while now on NBC Sports Network. Did you even notice? Woj and other top Yahoo writers like Pat Forde have appeared regularly on NBCSN thanks to the wide-ranging agreement between the two companies. These appearances have largely been overlooked since most of them are contained to the Noon show SportsDash with Yahoo Sports. And aside from mega NASCAR lead-ins, it’s not like Fox Sports 1’s studio programming draws ratings that are consistently and exponentially higher than NBCSN.
Woj is a great hire for FS1, but the fact of the matter is that any writer/insider/reporter isn’t going to be a ratings draw. Perhaps the more interesting aspect here is what this development does to the Yahoo-NBC relationship. Yahoo’s most prominent writer exiting that arrangement and moving to NBCSN’s biggest rival may have the bigger long term implications.