It was one of the more surprising announcements and proof that ESPN is forging ahead with The Undefeated. Respected Yahoo NBA writer Marc Spears announced Thursday that he will be writing for the ESPN site that will be devoted to race and culture.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) March 18, 2016
It’s a move that that bolsters The Undefeated and hurts Yahoo. Editor-in-chief Kevin Merida was thrilled about Spears joining his staff:
— Kevin Merida (@meridak) March 18, 2016
His former Yahoo colleague Adrian Wojnarowski said on his Facebook page that having Spears on the staff gave them instant credibility and brought them many scoops:
“Marc gave me so much credibility with players in the league. Because I worked with him, a lot of guys were more apt to trust me. That was true with agents, coaches, executives too. Once we hired Marc at Yahoo, everyone’s game elevated. Walk into an arena with Marc and it was just remarkable to watch him work. It wasn’t only the coaches and players, the referees and scouts. Marc knew the ushers too. He knows everyone. There is such a pied piper quality to him. I learned so much from Marc.”
Spears joined Yahoo in 2009 after stints with the Louisville Courier-Journal, Denver Post and Boston Globe. When he became a part of Yahoo Sports, the site was not known for its NBA coverage, but with Spears on board, it was able to break stories, gain credibility and forge a relationship with its readers.
Now with Spears on board with The Undefeated, he’s about to do the same with ESPN’s new site. We’ve chronicled the difficulties ESPN has had in launching the site dating to when Jason Whitlock was in charge to his unceremonious dismissal to where the site appears to be finally getting off the ground.
ESPN says it’s committed to ensuring The Undefeated launches and lasts a long time. With Spears on board, The Undefeated just may be on it way.