Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Yahoo Sports’ Paris Olympics Plan? A Team of Gold Medalists as Correspondents (Exclusive)

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Later this summer, every news outlet in the world will descend on Paris, France to cover the 2024 Olympic Games.

It’s a crowded media environment, complicated further by the fact that here in the U.S., NBC is the exclusive rights partner, with video and behind-the-scenes access no other outlet can match.

So what can a sports outlet that wants to compete do? For Yahoo Sports, it decided to hire a bevy of gold medalists to serve as its Olympics correspondents.

The sports platform has hired seven-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, who will provide coverage and analysis of track and field events; three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, who will cover beach volleyball; Five-time gold medalist Missy Franklin and silver medalist Katie Hoff, who will provide coverage of swimming events; and gold medalist Shawn Johnson East, who will cover gymnastics events for Yahoo.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo Sports chief Ryan Spoon said that the company was seeking “leaders in all the sports” that would bring “perspective” to its coverage of the games.

“This is going to sound stupidly obvious, but you start with what matters to fans,” Spoon says. “These are the top of the list in terms of skill, personality, results, knowledge, interest. And the other interesting part that I think is really important here is they’re all ambassadors of their sports.

“They’ve all done this at the highest level with absolute success, I think they are all multi-time Olympians, so what’s it mean to do that abroad? What’s it mean on these different scales and these different personalities?” he added. “And we got lucky because we didn’t have to go down the list, these are folks who are for any fan of these sports, they’d be the top names you can help with.”

The athletes will provide analysis, conduct athlete interviews and host features, with video content shared on the company’s own platform and social channels during the games.

But Yahoo Sports will also lean into its roster of media partners … including NBC Sports.

Obviously, we start with trying to serve the most fans possible, and you do that through scale,” Spoon says. “We have relationships with all of them. We aim to create the best content across written analysis, deliver the results, provide personality, video, do that on social. But we also acknowledge that we cannot personally — whether we are the best in the world or not — we can’t be comprehensive there ourselves, and so we look at partners who help us in that case.”

Yahoo Sports is also set to partner with USA Swimming on a content distribution deal ahead of the trials and games, featuring a dedicate landing page and extensive coverage, which Spoon hopes will tee readers up for the games.

“We get to begin on some of that storytelling and results ahead of, obviously trials, which then is ahead of the Olympics,” Spoon says. We think that’s important on kind of the the audience building and knowledge sharing.

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