Richard Deitsch at SI.com reports ESPN.com is going to give LeBron the full-court blitz in Cleveland, just like it did when he played in Miami. The problem is, the reporters assigned to the new beat reporters will have to live in Cleveland. Not Miami.
The former ESPN Los Angeles.com writer Dave McMenamin has relocated from L.A. to Cleveland and is now ESPN.com’s beat writer for the Cavs. Windhorst will relocate from Miami to the Midwest and will continue to be a major voice on James in addition to working as a national NBA reporter (Windhorst also has a residence in Cleveland). ESPN also hired former CBSSports.com college football writer Jeremy Fowler to cover the Browns. He’ll also be available for Cavs duty, as will other NBA reporters if the storyline dictates it (which will be often). (Patrick) Stiegman, now the vice president & editorial director for ESPN Digital & Print Media, said that ESPN had interest in expanding its coverage in Cleveland and the return of James cemented that. Obviously, Johnny Manziel’s arrival was also a factor.
“I think we had a pretty good rhythm on the digital side with The Heat Index,” Stiegman said. “It was really an eye-opener for us. It proved to be a successful formula on a story that was of importance both locally and nationally. I think that will be the same thing for LeBron in Cleveland. I have to no doubt we will cover all the stories in the NBA but LeBron will be at the heart of that. We will listen to our audience but, quite frankly, we also pay attention to metrics and I can guarantee you during the time LeBron and that team was in Miami, our Heat traffic was and away the single-most part of what was record-breaking NBA coverage each year. We know there is an audience for this.”