Wojnarowski will continue to write for Yahoo Sports, but his TV deal with Fox Sports will have him appearing on Fox Sports 1 as the network’s NBA Insider. The agreement is not unlike the one Peter King has with Sports Illustrated – he writes for The MMQB and appears on Sunday Night Football on NBC as an insider during the season.
A Fox Sports spokesman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. [UPDATE: FOX Sports spokesman Dan Bell has confirmed the report.] Wojnarowski did not return an email seeking comment. He is expected to begin appearing on Fox Sports 1 as early as this month, a source at Fox says.
Fox is in the midst of negotiating a lucrative TV deal with the NBA to bring the network much-needed live sporting events. A source at the network tells The Big Lead that Fox Sports 1 is most likely to get one night a week in the NBA’s new TV deal – probably Saturday night.
While that’s not an ideal night for the network – it’s difficult to get TV ratings on Saturday night and the games will be battling college football in November and December – Fox is desperate to acquire more live TV rights. Hiring Wojnarowski – who breaks more news on the NBA than anyone – is a clear sign to the NBA that Fox Sports 1 is showing a commitment to the sport.
The first nine months of FS1 have been a disaster, and that’s putting it mildly. The network’s three original shows – Crowd Goes Wild, Fox Soccer Daily and Fox Football Daily – have all been cancelled. The network’s ratings are frequently at or below what they were a year ago when it was the Speed Network. These are the normal growing pains of a new network, but they aren’t what Fox executives expected last summer when they boasted about taking on ESPN.