Yahoo, ESPN Drive Big Sportswriting Salaries

    December 27, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated have been hit by the Internet as Yahoo and ESPN make huge bids for sportswriters and the content they can produce.

There’s no mystery to the competitive hiring taking place for sportswriters. As we have noted many times, advertisers adore the 18-34 year old male demographic.

One of the surest ways to reach them comes through the sports page. The value of those visitors has reached a point where catering to them with original content beyond scores and stats means solid returns for ESPN and Yahoo.

Seeking Alpha noted the trend, and cited Yahoo Sports traffic of 22 million visitors per month. Why license content when you can create it, Ashkan Karbasfrooshan asked in that post.

Creating means writing, and the demand for sportswriters has crafted a mini-boom for those in the niche. Yahoo and ESPN have lavished cash on hot writers that the International Herald Tribune says big-name publications like the Post, USA Today, and the L.A. Times can’t match.

Yahoo Sports has broken stories, like one about Reggie Bush’s messy dealings with sports agents while in college, that left people scratching their heads. Not about the story, but the source. Yahoo Sports?, the talking heads on sports radio would ask. Yeah, them.

Traffic to ESPN’s web properties, 20 million visitors that trailed only Yahoo Sports, indicates the profitable feast for top sportswriters will continue online. The Post, a one-time destination, and other papers have become a rest stop on the way to the big time instead.