Bleacher Report adds Howard Beck; expected to go after more writers with big-money offers

A few weeks ago, I heard the Bleacher Report was making some big money offers to several established writers at newspapers. The site is looking to expand its roster, I was told.

Sure enough, it happened again Wednesday.

Bleacher Report announced the hiring of Howard Beck, now formerly of the New York Times, as its lead NBA writer. Ethan Skolnick (Palm Beach Post) was brought in to cover the Miami Heat; Kevin Ding (Orange County Register) will report on the Lakers; and Jared Zwerling will write NBA features.

The latest additions come on the heels of Bleacher Report hiring Mike Freeman from as a columnist. And there will be more. From what I have been told, the site will be bringing in some well-known NFL reporters.

In a statement, Joe Yanarella, editor-in-chief of Bleacher Report said: “The addition of these journalists is a game changer for our coverage of the NBA as we deepen our commitment to enhancing our content offerings and continue to build our roster of talented contributors at Bleacher Report.”

“Game-changer” is the key phrase there. With Turner purchasing the site earlier this year, Bleacher Report clearly wants to become more of a player with branded sports content. It also makes sense to bulk up on the NBA, given Turner’s association with basketball.

I thought Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead said it best with this opening line:

The state of the media in 2013: Howard Beck, one of the best NBA writers in newspapers, has left the New York Times for … Bleacher Report.

Indeed, I’m sure yesterday was a good day for Howard Beck’s bank account.

More to come. Here’s the official release.


Bleacher Report, a leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage, has hired four veteran sports journalists to anchor its NBA coverage. Howard Beck, Kevin Ding, Ethan Skolnick and Jared Zwerling will join Bleacher Report’s editorial team beginning this month, in anticipation of the tip off to the 2013-2014 NBA regular season. The new additions build on the company’s commitment to bolstering its real-time, comprehensive coverage of teams and topics including breaking news surrounding the league.

Howard Beck, a long-time NBA writer for the New York Times, joins Bleacher Report as its National NBA Lead Writer, providing in-depth commentaries on the league’s biggest topics, along with breaking news stories. A well-respected industry veteran, Beck has covered the NBA and New York Knicks for the New York Times since 2004, adding the Brooklyn Nets last season.  He brings more than two decades of sports-writing experience to the role, as well as several Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) writing awards. In addition to his editorial contributions, Beck will also contribute to Bleacher Report’s NBA video franchises.  Beck will continue to be based in New York.

Kevin Ding joins Bleacher Report as the Lead Writer covering the Los Angeles Lakers. He will be a primary source of Lakers news and information throughout the year, providing regular columns as well as video commentary. An award-winning journalist recognized by the Pro Basketball Writers Association, Ding joins Bleacher Report from the Orange County Register where he has been the newspaper’s Los Angeles Lakers beat writer since 1999.  Ding will continue to be based in the Los Angeles area.

Ethan Skolnick joins Bleacher Report’s editorial team as the Miami Heat Lead Writer where he will provide comprehensive news and analysis about the team, as well as national stories throughout the league. Skolnick’s
17-plus years as a sports journalist include prominent positions at the Palm Beach Post (covering the Heat), the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Skolnick will continue to reside in South Florida.

Jared Zwerling has been tapped as Bleacher Report’s National NBA Analyst where he will focus on features, breaking news and video analysis. He joins the company from where he primarily covered the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets across a variety of multimedia platforms. Zwerling will continue to be based in New York.

Ding and Zwerling officially joined Bleacher Report earlier this week, while Skolnick joins today and Beck will start on September 23.

“These four reporters are extremely well respected throughout the industry and they bring a wealth of experience and perspective to our NBA coverage,” said Joe Yanarella, editor-in-chief of Bleacher Report. “The addition of these journalists is a game changer for our coverage of the NBA as we deepen our commitment to enhancing our content offerings and continue to build our roster of talented contributors at Bleacher Report.”


SportsGrid acquired by RotoExperts; Will add more of fantasy component

Congratulations to Dan Abrams, founder of SportsGrid. He writes:

I am thrilled to announce that my web property will become the building block for a major fantasy sports media company led by industry leader RotoExperts. Fantasy sports has become a huge business with most of the major media players from ESPN to Yahoo to CBS now having a significant presence. The goal of the new SportsGrid, powered by RotoExperts, is to create the most significant independent sports fantasy media company. SportsGrid fans will continue to see the same smart, opinionated, fun stories they have come to appreciate – the only difference will be that there will also be additional fantasy news and information on, and throughout, the site as well. By this summer, we will combine (and expand) both entities on to one platform while maintaining the sensibility of each. This is a really exciting development for us and the site!

Here’s the official release:

RotoExperts, the leader in providing Fantasy Sports content, announced today a definitive agreement to acquire; the trendy, popular sports news and opinion web site from The Abrams Media Network. The acquisition will result in a new media enterprise, with a multi-platform fantasy sports and news portal, offering a complete interactive experience for those seeking the best and most up-to-date fantasy gaming information and advice, along with the most current sports news, analysis, entertainment and opinion.

“Powered by” RotoExperts, the new entity, which will live on what is currently, will provide timely, reliable coverage of both fantasy and sports news while developing and delivering new apps and games for the fantasy industry. The addition of SportsGrid will enhance revenue through the sale of RotoExperts’ popular premium products and services, while continuing to share the most exciting and awe-inspiring moments both on and off the field that SportsGrid has covered since its launch in 2010. Now for the first time in one place, sports fans can find the best fantasy sports content, along with coverage of athletes, teams and coaches that extends beyond the playing field.

Known to many from its successful program on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, RotoExperts, the authority on fantasy sports, will continue to headline one of the signature programs on the channel, occupying the 6am-11am drive slot on Sirius Ch. 210 (XM 87) while featuring popular show hosts, including Scott “The King” Engel, Adam Ronis and Dr. Roto. This acquisition will now pave the way for development of a robust video platform, providing 24-hour daily fantasy sports video content.

Louis M. Maione, founder of RotoExperts, who will be CEO of the new entity, said, “We have long been seeking to build out our web presence and create a major fantasy video channel. I could think of no better partner than SportsGrid to help us quickly turn that into a reality.”

Dan Abrams, founder of and the Abrams Media network of sites said, “Lou and RotoExperts have created a well-respected brand name with multiple revenue streams that most content creators would envy. This will offer additional avenues to monetize SportsGrid’s significant traffic and lead to a formidable and unique video platform.”

Terms between the two privately held companies were not disclosed.

Serving the fantasy community since 2008, RotoExperts has long been the leading provider of syndicated fantasy content for some of the most recognized and successful sports franchises and publications in the industry. Fueled by SportsGrid’s news, videos, and opinion about sports as seen through the eyes of the media-addicted fan, the infused company will immediately have a web presence reaching well over 2.5 million monthly unique visitors. In addition to robust fantasy content and daily blog posts, the SportsGrid proprietary “Power Grid” will be resurrected to objectively track sports figures across a multitude of categories based on their real-time relevance providing a unique reader experience like no other.