Wolverine Nation Going Belly Up

Submitted by Nosce Te Ipsum on August 23rd, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Apparently ESPN has decided to scrap the "Nation" sites, excluding the USC site, because of a lack of traffic. The Wolverine Nation website was providing the most traffic of the sites, but not even that could save them. The first thing that came to me was TomVH. Could he return? This information is coming from a poster on the Michigan Scout site who said he was a member of the ESPN site. 


"just wanted to say first that this is my first post on scout. came over from wolverinenation on espn because they suck and are shutting it down."




August 23rd, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

Besides TomVH, I felt like WolverineNation lacked muster. I realize we are spoiled by all of the content and analysis of MGoBlog, but the Nation sites really didn't provide much different content than Rittenberg/Bennett. Glad to see TomVH will remain with ESPN-he does a great job.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

Doesn't sound like all of WolverineNation, just the forums. From the forum home page:

On August 26, ESPN will be shutting down the forums within RecruitingNation.
We hope you will move your communities and discussions to our other interactive environments.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

my guess is that ESPN wants to drive traffic to their main website as opposed to the forums. I don't think a lot of WN members even read the regular articles, they would just go to the forums and talk to TVH directly. That doesn't make money for ESPN. There are no ads at al on the forums.

Space Coyote

August 23rd, 2013 at 1:36 PM ^

As others have said, Tom will be a B1G guy. In other news, Tom is likely doing even more alright for himself now, and I believe for specific other reasons that he is not too sad to see WolverineNation go.

Or in other words:


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:30 PM ^

Like Mr. Coyote said, it's just the forums. I've seen somewhere that ESPN wants them to focus more on reporting and less on message board moderation/having to respond to every "Any news on Hand?" post.

I Like Burgers

August 23rd, 2013 at 6:04 PM ^

Chantel isn't going anywhere.  And neither is the WolverineNation site.  The site will still be there, but it will just become more of a newsfeed -- an amalgamation of all things Michigan both writen and video related on ESPN.  So Chantel and Tom's Michigan related articles and videos will still show up there, but you'll just have to do some scrolling and page clicking to find them now.

Source: I have a very good reason for knowing what's happening.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

The only reason I went to WolverineNation was to look at the recruiting boards. 99% of the content was locked down (paywalled) so it was very boring.

Zone Left

August 23rd, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

Those places needed a guy like Brian Cook to provide really in-depth analysis unavailable in the mainstream. The problem ESPN has is that the content is available for free at SB Nation. They don't have special insight into recruiting news, which is the only real reason to paywall anything--and that's pretty dubious. Lots of fans would read something that tried to actually analyze a game outside of whatever ridiculous panel shows are on TV. I want to know how Kyle Kalis performs against Central, but no one at Wolverine Nation is going to spend time analyzing that.

Frankly, when I subscribed to ESPN Insider a long time ago, I never really got much out of it. Maybe it's because I don't really follow recruiting, but the whole thing seemed like a waste of a couple dollars a month.

Come On Down

August 23rd, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

I would also add that I personally don't really understand ESPN's paywall model at all. They paywall stuff that's fairly publicly available and give people free access to most of their good in-debth stuff (Grantland, for example). I've never really seen the value of being an "Insider."


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

Not surprised: the TV wing of Disney has been a drag on overall corporate earnings, and the individualized internet news/sportsy stuff hasn't been able to generate as much revenue to justify expenses (see AOL axing Patch).

Or so said WSJ yesterday.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

I was an ESPN Insider before the Nation sites arose and I enjoyed Wolveration Nation for a time. However, I definitely agree the articles on there currently are complete fluff. I check the stie out of boredom, not to find out Michigan information I didn't know before. This really isn't a Michigan journalistic loss and obviously I'm glad TomVH is no worse for the wear. No offense to Chantel or Rothstein but their articles were pretty useless.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

These sites needs to wake up and realize that paywall content is going to be extremely difficult to manage / justify with social media and everyone hyper connected.  I can pay a monthly fee and find out right this second, or wait 5 minutes for someone to leak it on Twitter for free.  They need to learn to make their money off of advertisments and not membership  fee's.  


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:55 PM ^

For the most part there is 0 moderation.  Everyday some one starts some useless poll, such as, who would you rather have, Adidias or Nike.  People start threads about nothing and ask the same 20 questions over and over when they have already been answered.  The amount of time it takes to find any genuine content isn't worth the effort.


August 23rd, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

The articles were fluff and not the reason I truly enjoy(ed) Wolverine Nation. The forum was solid- direct access to TVH, et al, whenever you wanted or he would just log in and host an answer session at random times (in addition to the scheduled ones). And most importantly, you wouldn't get bitched at by other posters if you misspelled a word or somehow missed another post like 14 days ago. I will miss it.


August 23rd, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

Fox Sports1 is coming online I think ESPN might be in trouble.  They have commentary from the local networks that cover most MLB games, a broader NFL coverage team who are onsite at the games and exclusive content from the Big10 net and all of the other conference type networks.   No longer do they have the strongest hand in sports, Fox does.  I hate the way Fox sports production looks, but they have had pretty amazing content. 

I Like Burgers

August 23rd, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

Yes Fox started FS1 and FS2 and they are competition to ESPN, but its not competitive at all.  Fox is getting $0.23 per cable subscriber and ESPN is getting $5.50+  And you've got to be kidding to think that Fox has the strongest hand in sports.  Its going to take them years to recoup what they've spent to start the new networks, and they don't have the rights portfolio that ESPN/ABC does.  And getting only $0.23 a subscriber is going to hamper their ability to purchase more or expanded rights (like the Big Ten in 2016).

Starting a network is one thing (just look at NBC), making it competitive with ESPN is completely different.


August 23rd, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

I am disappointed that WN is shutting down the board.  The main benefit was being able to interact and ask questions of TVH & the crew.  If you had a question they would go to recruits, coaches, etc. and ask the pressing questions the board wanted.  Granted, much of the content comes here too, but it was cool to be able to say “TVH, what’s the latest word on Westphal?” and he would reply within a few minutes.  Although there were disagreements as on any board, you didn’t get the grammatical corrections, “have you ever heard of a google search?”, etc. type responses that you see on here from time to time.  It was a little more tolerant group in some ways.