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Yahoo Launches The Vertical for NBA Coverage But Faces Bigger Challenges

Yahoo may be nearing its end as an independent company but it’s still swinging at its content and marketing efforts with a new site called The Vertical,

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Yahoo Launches The Vertical for NBA Coverage But Faces Bigger Challenges
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Yahoo may be nearing its end as an independent company but it’s still swinging at its content and marketing efforts with a new site called The Vertical, a basketball-centric experience being sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Run by Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnaroski and part of Yahoo Sports, The Vertical “is a destination for all things NBA on desktop and mobile,” says Yahoo. It will offer fans a constant stream of breaking news, in-depth storytelling, global draft analysis, front-office deals “and the sneaker game.”

For its part, State Farm will connect with consumers through high-impact display and pre-roll video ads as well as branded integrations around content on The Vertical. State Farm will also capitalize on events such as NBA All-Star Weekend.

In the meantime, the much bigger picture is much less exciting for Yahoo. The company said this week that it plans to eliminate about 15 percent of its workforce as part of a restructuring in which it also is going to explore “strategic alternatives.” Those could include a sale of its iconic and valuable home page as well as some way of tapping into the value of its estimated $27 billion holding in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.

This process, the Wall Street Journal said, “would also likely mark the end of Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s attempt to turn around Yahoo.” Costs have risen while revenues have shrunk in the three and a half years since she took the reins in a celebrated manner that saw her highlight her personal brand through fashion shoots, broad public discussion of her pregnancy, and other ways as she sought to bring some digital-era sizzle to Yahoo.

But Yahoo took a $4.5 billion charge to write down the value of businesses including its Tumblr site in a dismal fourth quarter. And fourth-quarter revenues excluding commissions paid to retail partners was down about 15 percent from a year ago—the lowest during Mayer’s tenure.

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