When you hear that someone has been in the same place for 15 years, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, unless it’s an Internet writer.
Baseball columnist Rob Neyer was at ESPN.com for 15 years.
He joined ESPN.com when it was ESPNET SportsZone when Paul Allen’s Starwave, not the sports network, paid the bills.
He was there when the Web site was just topping a million hits a month. He was one of the first sports writers to include e-mails from his readers and, although the word wasn’t invented at the time, he live blogged postseason games in the late 90s.
Neyer wrote his last column yesterday for the site, which now has more than 40 million unique visitors a month.
The baseball columnist known for his in-depth analysis loved by baseball’s stat lovers told CNBC.com he is headed to SB Nation, a network of 295 sports blogs with more than 500 contributors that has raised nearly $24 million in funding since it was started by Tyler Bleszinski and his AthleticsNation blog in 2003. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Rob’s take on things was a huge inspiration for me when I was starting up,” said Bleszinski, who is now the site’s editorial director. “By reading his columns, it helped me figure out how I should approach my coverage of a team as a fan in an intelligent fashion.”
SB Nation CEO Jim Bankoff called Neyer the type of “high profile hire that will further help define the company as high quality network of sites.”
“Rob obviously has a huge following and we think he’s obviously one of the smartest guys out there,” Bankoff said.
Neyer said he has had opportunities to leave ESPN.com over the years, but nothing felt right until his contract expired this time around and SB Nation came calling. “This is a really good fit,” Neyer said. “SB Nation is in line with what I’ve always done as a columnist.”
ESPN.com general manager John Kosner said that Neyer "made a terrific contribution to the site" over the years.
Neyer marvels at how today’s methods of communication continue to change.
“If I did this year’s ago, I’d be concerned that people wouldn’t know where to find me,” Neyer said. “That I’d disappear or have to post something on RobNeyer.com. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen today.”
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