Sports Illustrated is continuing to make some significant hires. They recently added Charlotte Wilder, Shemar Woods, and Emma Baccellieri for a variety of roles, including digital and SI TV work, and now they’ve brought in Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge-based newspaper The Advocate as a national college football writer:
I'm starting soon with Sports Illustrated (@SInow) covering national college football while based in BR
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) May 7, 2018
Dellenger is pretty well-known in the college football world for providing strong coverage of LSU, including plenty of scoops, and he seems like a good fit to make the jump to a national role. And this further expands SI’s stable of college football writers; Bruce Feldman is still writing for them (while continuing as a reporter with Fox and FS1), as is Andy Staples. College football coverage has often been an area where SI has done pretty well, and it’s interesting to see it as an area specifically targeted for an addition, as last May’s layoffs included several people focused on college football and basketball (particularly Lindsay Schnell, Brian Hamilton, and Seth Davis; the latter two are now at The Athletic, while Schnell is at USA Today. Also, Pete Thamel left for Yahoo not long after those layoffs).
It’s an interesting time for SI in general, as they’re doing very well on the traffic front and bolstering their distribution of subscription OTT video service SI TV, but still facing major questions about if new owner Meredith will sell them, and if so, to who. The uncertainty there might have played a role in some recent departures of high-profile writers, including Peter King and Richard Deitsch. But they’re still a publication with a significant amount of influence, and still a compelling destination for many, and their expansion in the digital and video realms helps there. We’ll see how Dellenger does on the national level and how SI’s CFB coverage winds up looking this fall, but this is certainly a notable move, and one that suggests SI’s still interested in putting some resources into college football.
[Dellenger screencap from his appearance on local Baton Rouge show Sports 225 last year]