Tumultuous 2011 Impacts Yahoo! Sports, MMA Coverage

January 31, 2012

Earlier today, Yahoo producer Dave Doyle announced that this would be his last day as MMA/Boxing editor over at Yahoo! Sports, a fate others at Yahoo Sports would also share.

 

Doyle stated the following message via social media website Twitter:

Today is my last as MMA/boxing editor at Yahoo! Sports. It’s been an awesome ride working with great folks. Thanks for everything.

Sources tell MMAPayout.com that the cutting back on non-mainstream sports by Yahoo was due to their tumultuous 2011, which saw Yahoo’s stock dip under $17 and saw gross revenues decline by over 20%. Along with Doyle – who had been with Yahoo since 2007 – another key member of Yahoo’s MMA team is long-time MMA and Pro Wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer, who has been a part of Yahoo since it ramped up it’s MMA coverage back in 2007. His contract is also up this week.  At this time, it is unsure whether Meltzer will be able to continue his affiliation with Yahoo Sports, as the struggling company tries to workout it’s budget for the new fiscal year.  Longtime Boxing and MMA reporter Kevin Iole and Cagewrite Blog members Steve Cofield & Maggie Hendricks are reported to be staying with the team.

Yahoo will now shift their coverage to more mainstream sports ( NFL, NBA, and MLB) instead of those that are more niche such as combat sports (MMA/Boxing), Golf, and NASCAR.  Rumors of a possible shakeup within Yahoo! Sports first began around the Summer last year. The dismal fiscal results in 2011 made sure those early rumblings came to fruition.

As for Yahoo’s 2011 fiscal results, Forbes stated the following:

“Even with gross revenues declining by over 20% in 2011, Yahoo’s Q4 2011 results were hardly a surprise, as the company completed a tumultuous year filled with leadership and investor squabbles. For now, CEO Scott Thompson has acknowledged that the company has to deliver more monetization on digital content in 2012, which is a must for Yahoo to stop its shrinking presence in the online ad space.”

Yahoo will now try to focus on it’s core business, which will include selling off foreign assets and letting non-performing Yahoo! properties go, as Yahoo’s CEO Thompson has stressed “effective allocation of capital” is a priority moving forward.

This isn’t the only MMA related mainstream sports media shake-up recently.  In November of 2011, AOL’s MMAFigthing.com was sold to Vox Media – parent company to SB Nation- as AOL struggled to compete with media giants Google and Facebook these last few years, a problem Yahoo has continued to face.  A few days later, USA TODAY Sports Media Group (Gannett) made the announcement that they had acquired MMAJunkie.com, one of the biggest MMA news and media sites in the industry.

9 Responses to “Tumultuous 2011 Impacts Yahoo! Sports, MMA Coverage”

  1. Assassin on January 31st, 2012 6:47 PM

    I had to laugh.
    “such as combat sports (i.e. MMA, Golf, NASCAR)”. I would watch golf or Nascar if they really were combat sports. Typical shortsighted attitude by a failing company. Yes focus on baseball with an aged demographic. Better yet, try to compete for Football, not going to happen. No one looks to Yahoo for sports coverage. I have only ever gone there for MMA content (It is #17 on my MMA bookmark list), mostly if I hear somewhere else (often here) that Meltzer has written something interesting. In fact, I think I will check him out now.

  2. Mike on January 31st, 2012 7:34 PM

    A friend of mine who used to work at Yahoo once told me that Yahoo has made millions of dollars off the UFC pay per view deal. If that’s the case, cutting back on MMA seems more a matter of a dying company going after every last nickel than a matter of, they can’t afford to keep the staff.

    Meanwhile, the first piece written by Iole after his editor got let go was headlined “St. Pierre pines for title shot against Diaz.” Umm, no, GSP has been champ going on four years now, he’s not the one pining for a title shot. But hey, what does credibility matter to management if they can save a couple bucks?

  3. Assassin on January 31st, 2012 8:48 PM

    Mike,

    Good catch Mike.

    I just went and read that article. Not sure how digital media works, but newspaper story headlines were normally written by someone other than journalist. Worse than the headline is that it is obvious Iole did not speak to GSP since he says “St. Pierre is recovering quickly, far faster than expected, and hopes to be able to fight Saturday night’s winner this summer.” Had he waited until tomorrow to write the story he could have quoted GSP who said on UFC Tonight on Fuel TV this evening that he hopes to be in the Octagon again by this November. But why let the facts get in the way of a quick and cheap story from Yahoo.

  4. Jose Mendoza on January 31st, 2012 11:40 PM

    Assassin,

    Thanks for pointing that out. By the way, Football is one of the key sports they will try to focus on now, more so than MLB.

    Mike and Assassin,

    I believe the UFC wants GSP to come back this Summer but GSP has consistently said October/November. It seems Iole is going by what the UFC is saying.

  5. jose on February 1st, 2012 9:15 AM

    Yahoo sports is very popular. It’s the first place I go for sports news. The site loads a lot faster than espn and is cleaner and easier to read. If I just want to see what are the big sport stories of the day and what games are on tonight, I go there.

  6. 5 Oz. MMA Link Club : Five Ounces of Pain on February 2nd, 2012 6:31 AM

    […] Changes Are Afoot at Yahoo Sports! (MMAPayout.com) […]

  7. Mike on February 2nd, 2012 10:10 AM

    Meltzer must be gone, it is Thursday on a UFC pay per view week and there’s nothing new from him.

  8. Jose Mendoza on February 2nd, 2012 11:11 AM

    Mike:

    There were strong indications that it would be the case unless they could work something out, that may not have been within Yahoo’s ability.

  9. Ed Stock on February 2nd, 2012 5:55 PM

    To be honest, I had no idea Yahoo had a sports site until today.

    Meltzer has his paid subscription Wrestling Observer thing, and some other web site (most likely one of Vox’s) will pick up his material.

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