Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Sep 2009

SITE NEWS: 2009 FO Column Schedule (and News re: ESPN Insider)

by Aaron Schatz

Now that the new season is here, I wanted to put together a nice, concise list of 2009 Football Outsiders content and where it will appear. However, before we do that, I need to talk about our relationship with ESPN.

Many of you have probably noticed that over the past few months, all the FO content on ESPN has appeared in the ESPN Insider section, behind a subscription wall. (Yes, we have busted the irony meter with this move.) I know that the idea of having to pay for content on the Web is not popular. I also know that the idea of having to pay ESPN for access to FO content -- especially if you already pay FO for an FO Premium subscription -- is really not popular.

Nonetheless, we hope that readers understand that we have to make a living. Football Outsiders has to fully support four people: my family, where I'm currently the sole source of income, plus Bill Barnwell. I also want to do right by the rest of the FO writers, guys like Mike Tanier and Doug Farrar who have put so much time and effort into this website.

We've worked some specific wrinkles into our deal with ESPN which I hope will help make up for the fact that six FO articles per week will be appearing on ESPN Insider. Only two of the six columns existed prior to our agreement with ESPN: Any Given Sunday and Quick Reads. AGS will be ESPN Insider only, but we're going to republish Quick Reads here on Football Outsiders every Tuesday. You'll have to wait an extra day to get Quick Reads without a subscription, but you will get more content, since we'll be including Monday night games in there for the first time. In addition, FO Premium subscribers will receive a 25 percent discount on ESPN Insider subscriptions. (Not right this minute, unfortunately, but we'll announce how to get the discount as soon as the technical specifics are worked out.)

I'll also add, sounding like an advertisement, that ESPN Insider really does give you a lot of good stuff for your $40 (soon to be $30 for FO Premium subscribers). You get not just our ESPN material, but also K.C. Joyner, Scouts Inc., Mel Kiper, Baseball Prospectus and its various other-sport offshoots, Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, Chad Ford, John Hollinger, and a lot more.

Six columns on ESPN Insider doesn't mean there isn't plenty of material left here at FO, of course. Here's a look at the full schedule of regular FO columns for this season. Listings in italics appear somewhere else but will always be linked at FO, either in the ESPN section or the "FO in the Papers" section. Listings in blue are college football articles.

MONDAY

Audibles at the Line
One Foot Inbounds
ESPN: Quick Reads

TUESDAY

DVOA Ratings
Quick Reads (FO reprint)
The Week in Quotes
ESPN: Any Given Sunday

WEDNESDAY

Black and Blue Report*
Cover-3
FEI Ratings
Scramble for the Ball
ESPN: Rotating College Football Feature

THURSDAY

Seventh Day Adventure
Walkthrough
ESPN: Numbers Crunching
Washington Post: Smarter Stats

FRIDAY

Varsity Numbers
Dallas Morning News: Five Questions with Bill Barnwell
ESPN: Fantasy Football Projections
New York Times: Mike Tanier's game previews
Washington Post: Doug Farrar's play breakdown

Saturday

ESPN: Rotating MNF Feature

*Note: Black and Blue will sometimes appear Thursday instead of Wednesday.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 11 Sep 2009

57 comments, Last at 18 Sep 2009, 1:11pm by Still Looking

Comments

1
by DavidL :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:49am

Also, bear in mind that ESPN Insider and ESPN Magazine are a package deal - if you subscribe to either one, you get both. And there are places offering subscriptions to the mag for a whole lot less than $40 a year.

10
by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:18pm

Like where? I am interested, now that I realize I am losing AGS!

EDIT: I see this is covered below.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

2
by andrew :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:33pm

The crawlers cover the floor in the red ochre corridor.
For my second sight of people, theyve more lifeblood than before.
Theyre moving in time to a heavy wooden door,
Where the needles eye is winking, closing in on the poor.
The carpet crawlers heed their callers:
Weve got to get in to get out
Weve got to get in to get out
Weve got to get in to get out.

sorry, just what ran through my mind as I read the announcement, then couldn't get the tune out of my head...

I don't begrudge your need to be able to make a living at this, and glad you're able to find something that works for you.

3
by Eddo :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:51pm

"Outsiders has to fully support four people: my family, where I'm currently the sole source of income, plus Bill Barnwell."

This made me chuckle; I picture Barnwell living above your garage a la Mike Seaver or J.T. Lambert (is my late-80s/early-90s sitcom nerdiness too obvious?).

Seriously though, I don't get all the complaining. Some people want everything to be free, I guess. As long as a good chunk of content (DVOA, Quick Reads, Audibles) stays free, I'll continue reading.

4
by Soulless Mercha... :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:15pm

Hey, congratulations on making a living with this. Being able to support yourself with a website is near miraculous.

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:19pm

Hey, it obviously is a good move for you guys to be associated with ESPN, and I've never objected once to any person charging, or attempting to charge, what they wished to for their labor. As a consumer, however, and someone who paid the ESPN insider fees a few years back, let me say that I dislike the ESPN website. I'd be more inclined to subscribe if the Worldwide Leader's site was less clunky.

11
by Eddo :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:44pm

I agree with you, Will. I rarely go to ESPN's site, except to check scores. I have a hard time finding content that's not linked from either the main homepage or a specific sports's homepage. Often, if I'm looking for an older article, I'll wind up googling "[article content] site:espn.com" or something like that.

52
by B :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 9:00pm

I don't mind the layout of the ESPN site, although it is rather difficult to navigate. What I really dislike is the auto-loading videos they embed on the main page.

6
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:31pm

I don't get why AGS is going to be Insider-only. The ESPN version of AGS sucked last year because of the word count limit, which basically prevented it from doing what it was supposed to do (explain how a major upset occurred). The FO version usually included a longer introduction with additional content, which was nice. Take that away and you have a column with a good concept but terrible execution.

Not blaming FO for ESPN's decisions, but I don't get the point of ESPN buying AGS and then ruining it.

EDIT: Also, you scared me for a minute about Quick Reads. Waiting another day for it is not so bad.

EDIT 2: Friday is pretty NFC East heavy, no? Not that I'm complaining.

20
by Aaron Schatz :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 5:00pm

Friday is NFC East heavy because those are the newspapers that want us to do material. (The NYT previews involve the whole league, not just the Giants and Jets.) We're happy to talk about content with any newspaper website that's interested -- just like we're happy to do weekly radio appearances on stations that aren't associated with the AFC South.

Also, in regards to finding articles, all FO content will be linked from the "FO on ESPN" page. So finding *our* stuff won't be a problem.

7
by Tarrant :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:47pm

The real oddity is that on ESPN.com if you click to the Insider page and then choose "subscribe", it allows you to subscribe for $40/year, which includes Insider access and ESPN the Magazine.

However, if you instead click on "Magazine", and click "subscribe", it lets you subscribe for $26/year, which includes...Insider access and ESPN the Magazine.

8
by zlionsfan :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:01pm

I would guess that stems from (IIRC) the time when the magazine was introduced as a bonus for Insider subscribers. Eventually they started treating it like a magazine and set up the subscription from that direction ... and given the volume of the site and the apparently small number of people they have checking the pages and such for content errors, it doesn't surprise me that the left hand charges you $14 less than the right hand.

Although I guess if it were like some magazines, it would charge you $40 to renew, but if you let your subscription last, it would offer you a one-year deal for $10 if only you'd come back.

9
by DavidL :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:08pm

Like I said above, with some shopping around you can get it for less than that, even. Amazon has a year for $14.99, and I remember seeing one site that offers a year's subscription for $3. Not a typo.

13
by qed :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:55pm

I'd happily pay $14 to get ESPN to stop sending the damn magazine to my house.

14
by Scott C :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:39pm

Hmm.

ESPN, The Magazine that doesn't fit in my mailbox.

I guess if it gets me cheap access to Insider it might be worth subscribing to a magazine that gets delivered on the ground below my mailbox and stolen half the time.

12
by Bill's Mother (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:44pm

Football Outsiders has to fully support four people: my family, where I'm currently the sole source of income, plus Bill Barnwell.

When are you going to get married and give me grandkids, Bill?

15
by bubqr :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:57pm

I thought more of Bill like the weird cousin, that your depressed uncle begged you to keep for a while.

23
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:55pm

:(

34
by bubqr :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 4:09am

Don't blame me ! Aaron's fault !

16
by Jay (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:02pm

At the risk of betraying my ignorance, last year Barnwell did a great ESPN column that evaluated individual offensive players and their "fantasy potential" based on the defense they were facing. Will these columns be available this year? Is that "Numbers crunching?" I loved that column and want to be able to read it for free this year. Will that be possible?

17
by njligernj :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:05pm

I don't begrudge you guys cutting a deal with ESPN and getting paid -- if I'm honest I do semi-begrudge why I paid for Premium content here on FO. Maybe once the season begins I'll see more value.

Not angry or internet shouty about it - I wasted money on a lousy lunch today too ... it happens. Just saying, right now, FWIW, I seriously doubt I'd get Premium again next season. I love Almanac and Kubiak (money well spent) but the Premium seems like a waste thus far.

24
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:56pm

I can appreciate that you have a budget for spending money on FO content and chose to spend it on Premium, but I've said the same thing regarding people in this boat for a while now. We've never -- once -- suggested that we would be making content available exclusively to FO Premium members. It doesn't appear on the page when you order, nor should it.

18
by MJK :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:19pm

No issues with FO charging for some content, or partnering with another company that charges for their content. After all, we have a market-driven economy, and folks have to get paid. No begrudging at all.

That said, market forces are in play. I read too much football as it is, and if I paid for content I would feel compelled to read even more, to "get my money's worth". My first response when something becomes "pay access" is to evaluate if I can go without...and usually the answer is yes. And I'm not alone. Market forces dictate that pay content will generally have smaller readership than free content. FO has to walk a very fine line between having enough content require money that they can get paid enough to continue doing what they love to do and what we love them to do, but keeping enough quality material free that their readership continues to grow and they keep the momentum they've built up over the last decade.

Also, I personally wish they'd worked their agreement out with anyone but ESPN. Back when I first started following sports online, ESPN had the best website out there. Then, even before they created this "Insider" stuff, they cluttered it up with useless graphics and generally made everything take too long to load, have too much flashy graphics and video, and made everything too hard to find. One of the major reasons why I don't pay for Insider is that I don't want to pay for something that has that bad of layout and poor conveyance of information. And they're kind of...um...evil. ESPN is currently setting up local city subsidiaries to compete with local sports news (and paying top dollar to pull the best local beat reporters away from the local media outlets), which will hurt the local media even more and vest even more information power in a giant corporate conglomerate. They just bought Mike Reiss away from the Boston Globe, for example.

I'll miss AGS, which was one of the FO columns that I always read, but that's fine. There are other columns out there.

27
by Todd S. :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:27pm

Yeah, I have the same basic feelings as MJK here (who says Patriots and Colts fans can't agree on anything?). I have no problem with FO charging for content. In fact, I'd happily pay more for Premium if I could get more weekly articles.

I just choose not to pay that "more" to ESPN.

More importantly, NICE Genesis reference, andrew!

19
by JasonC23 :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:45pm

Have to say, I completely understand and think you should do what you have to do.

But I am disappointed that Quick Reads won't be free until Tuesday. The extra content will be nice, but that was my favorite Monday reading. I'll miss the anticipation of wondering whether it would be up in time for me to read it at lunch, and I worry that by the time Tuesday rolls around, I'll forget the context of many of the comments from Sunday's game.

I realize this disappointment may say more about me than FO, but I wanted it noted.

Also wanted to point out that if you went the Baseball Prospectus route and charged for the majority of your content on this site, I'd pay, gladly. But I won't pay ESPN for your content.

21
by TruFalcons (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 5:42pm

Let me keep you updated on my relationship with Football Outsiders. I've been reading for 4 years and have paid money for the prospectus and almanac every year. This is more expensive for those of us overseas who don't get paid in $US (and need to pay extra for shipping). While this is a different model from other football sites, I have been willing to pay for what I see as good content.

I will no longer be purchasing any content from you while you continue to gouge the readers who have made the site popular in the first place. The prospect of paying hundreds of dollars to become an ESPN Insider (the 'best value' deal costs $175.95 for international residents, or approximately $NZ250) is ridiculous when I am already a FBG.com subscriber for the next 3 years for $63 - non-subscribers also get the Magazine for free BTW.

22
by js200 :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:35pm

I agree. As a non-US customer (and there are many of us) subscribing to ESPN Insider is just ridiculously expensive.

I understand and respect that you cannot be running FO for free, but by forcing people to sign up at ESPN you're doing your international client base a disfavor.

25
by Aaron Schatz :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 9:37pm

OK, now THIS is a reasonable argument from someone unhappy about the Insider thing. I will talk to the ESPN people about this issue, and see if we can figure out a way to provide special U.S.-cost Insider subscriptions through FO.

35
by Ivarsson.se :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 5:07am

Yeah, count me in as another non-US customer willing to pay for Insider to get the FO columns, just not the exorbitant fees they demand at the moment.

And can you get Raiderjoe a free subscription? I want to read his comments wherever possible...

37
by jebmak :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 7:56am

Just head on over then. The other message boards have tons of posts very similar to his.

He generally does better analysis though.

41
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 3:19pm

mostly only have time for Extra Point article reading. Sometimes look at Tanioer stories like one about old football computrer games form 1980s and old card games with football like APPA or the other ones. Never played any of them but rememeber ads for them in bakc of football prefiew mags back in day. one had drawing by Jack Davis of football player in black and white. That ad apeaared every preview magzinae seemed. Like for example in 1989 if went to book store and looked at all preview magazeins that ad would be in every one except maybe one. Back then maybe was 6 or 7 mags but now there is maybe 20 to 25 different companies making NFl preiview mags.
Did play electric football and wrote about that in thread so look up Tanier article if you want to reeda about old footballl card and computer gam,es before John Madden took over and defeatted compeition with his video game just like he run over entire league in 1976.
Also somteimes look at dvoa stats when they come out and posted in middle section of screen. Raiders should be at 1 if beat Sd on Monday nigth football which sould happen. Raiders 27 Chargers 17 is pick

36
by deep64blue :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 6:39am

The problem seems to be the magazine that costs them money to post overseas, all they need is a digital-only subscription where it shouldn't matter which country you live in.

26
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 9:39pm

Certainly, it isn't fair that our international readers should have to pay an exorbitant fee to be an ESPN Insider.

But when you compare us to Football Guys ... come on. I really like Football Guys and think they do great work, and deserve to be paid for what they provide, but we offer 12 articles for free on the site per week, with several other articles around the web on newspaper and blog sites. (That's also more than we've ever offered before, including the previous years when we weren't "gouging" the readers.) Football Guys offers, I believe, zero articles a week for free.

28
by TruFalcons (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:33pm

Thanks for the responses. I mention FBG because it is a football site where I am willing to pay for content. You mention that there is a lack of free articles produced by them, which is correct, yet they also gave away their magazine for free on their site, produce 300 podcasts a year which are free to listen to, have the best news ticker, send daily emails and also have free access to their fantasy apps - Rate My Team and Draft Dominator. By subscribing I get access to updated projections and player pages
I'd be willing to pay for FO content as well if I felt it were worth it. Unfortunately at the moment I don't even get that option.

31
by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 12:29am

Fair enough. We also offer 15 years of DVOA stats for free in addition to the free articles we offer each week, as well as our entire archives. I think there's certainly more content available for free than footballguys, and it's not particularly close.

I appreciate that you'd also be willing to pay for our content -- perhaps, in the future, that's the model we'll move to. But when we consider the size and scope of our site, our content, and our readership, this is the arrangement that allows us to offer the most content at the lowest price.

46
by hans :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 3:39am

Which is a good business decision for you (numbers wise) but really not what we (general guy complaining) wants and will not adjust too (i.e. I'm not going to purchase something that supports ESPN)

As and aside, ESPN is terrible. I enjoy FO, but wouldn't put a dollar toward something that I perceived as a rip off and sensationalistic soap opera news (i.e. your typical football news on ESPN t.v.).

29
by Anonymous Steeler Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:36pm

I understand that you have to get paid somehow and ESPN is willing to do it. (I wish it wasn't them, but oh well.) And I admit I'm happy to still get to read FO for free. And I'm happy at the greater exposure for you guys - not only do you bring great analysis and info, but I enjoy the sense of humor and fun you bring to most articles.

That said, can you please stop listing the ESPN Insider articles in the Most Recent Articles? It just feels like you're rubbing non-insiders' faces in it. There's an FO on ESPN tab if insider-subscribers want a place to find those links. Heck, add those series to the Features if you want. Just don't keep giving us the bait-and-switch: "This sounds like an interesting arti... oh, [sigh] never mind."

30
by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 12:26am

We're certainly not attempting to rub people's faces in the content. However, we want to make those people who do subscribe to Insider aware of the content; there's no reason we should hide it. We have put a prefix of ESPN INSIDER: in front of every one of the Insider columns before today; from this point forward, to save space (and actually to allow more columns to appear in that most recent articles box), we're going to change the prefix to ESPN.

I could see if we were linking articles without noting that they required subscriptions; that would be a bait and switch.

32
by Scott C :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 1:09am

So, when will the name of the site change to Football Insiders?

Sorry, just had to say it. :)

I appreciate what you guys do and I know you have to pay the bills. I'm more concerned that it might have a negative effect on your readership growth if too much of the best stuff becomes hidden. There is still a lot of content here, and I hope you continue to innovate and create great new content.

To me, missing out on AGS is hard. At least we still have EPC, right? ... oh yeah.
There is a big lack of detailed breakdown of players, plays, or games out there in the football wilderness, and although I enjoy all the content here -- the pieces with the most detailed analysis have been my favorite. Breaking down plays in depth, looking deep at a player's performance, and analyzing an individual game -- those are the sort of things where I learn the most about the game.

38
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 2:08pm

"So, when will the name of the site change to Football Insiders?"

Yeah, you gotta pay the bills, but between insider only content, and dumbed down articles for other sites and newspapers, it seems like theres less and less available GOOD content.

Could just be the offseason though.

39
by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 2:25pm

In 2005, we offered the following columns each week:

Audibles, DVOA Ratings, Scramble, Any Given Sunday, Confessions of a Football Junkie, Black and Blue Report, Every Play Counts, Seventh Day Adventure, Too Deep Zone, Quick Reads.

This year -- without paying a single dime -- you get every one of these columns (or their current equivalents, Cover-3 instead of EPC, Walkthrough instead of TDZ, One Foot Inbounds instead of CFJ) for free except for Any Given Sunday. Quick Reads is one day later, but has MNF included (it also went up on Tuesday a fair amount of the time, thanks to FOX).

In lieu of Any Given Sunday, you also get two college football columns and The Week In Quotes for free.

The content on ESPN is stuff that we only offer because ESPN subsidizes it. You're getting virtually all the same stuff you got for free several years ago and have gotten for free for six years now.

40
by karl (not verified) :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 2:43pm

I'm willing to pay for your content. I just don't want to pay for anything else on ESPN. I like Football Outsiders for the exact reasons that I don't read Hollinger or Scouts Inc.

If Premium were $20 more expensive, I'd pay that fee if it came with the articles you are putting on Insider. But, I think we all also realize (or should at least) that ESPN will always be able to offer you more money than the subscription fees to this website as a stand alone.

The honest answer here is that you'd be better off selling everything to ESPN on a revenue sharing basis, probably. As much as some of us (myself included) gripe about it, the content we do get is appreciated. And I still won't sign up for Insider.

Besides, the sit-start advice that comes with Kubiak is awesome. Should make for great mailbags this year.

42
by Aaron Schatz :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 5:20pm

I don't want to spend a bunch of time in the comment threads "defending ourselves," but one more note:

Unless putting it behind a subscription wall somewhere is the *only* way to keep my career going, weekly DVOA ratings and commentary will ALWAYS be free. Despite all the great work of the other writers, I think people would agree that column remains the heart of what Football Outsiders does.

44
by Temo :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 9:23pm

Judging by the number of comments, I'd think so.

47
by hans :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 3:49am

This is a fine argument, but it still misses the point. If nobody cared for the material posted on ESPN Insider than you wouldn't be receiving such a visceral reaction to you decision, but its true there are many here enjoy the material (particularly the fantasy football stuff which the weekly matchups include). The joke is that you don't trust enough in yourself to simply rely on your own fan base and simply charge the comparable insider price on your site. To put it simply I would support your efforts individually but I would not support ESPN's lame monopoly over your deserved income. But apparently you are not adverse to the lame monopoly that is ESPN (truly pathetic).

55
by MJK :: Mon, 09/14/2009 - 1:14pm

Football Outsiders had added a lot nice new things, but has also lost some things:

Added things I love:
* TWIQ
* Walkthrough (I enjoy it even more than TDZ, which I hadn't thought possible)
* New comment format
* Much fewer server crashes
* Audibles at the line

Things I'm completely ambivalent about:
* All the college football stuff (although I recognize that this is just me)

Things I'm very sad that have gone away or changed:
* Strategy Mini-Camps (Walkthrough and Cover-3 partially make up for it, but not completely)
* More articles actually written by Aaron Schatz that aren't about the DVOA formula. Aaron's football writing was one of the things that drew me to FO in the first place. Now all he seems to write about are improvements to the statistical formula. Aaron, I know you are busy running the site, doing media appearances, compiling data, and improving DVOA, but please go back to writing as well!
* As many Extra Point postings. It used to seem like every interesting football related article found its way there, but the past year or so XP has missed some major news.
* Articles discussing the WHY's and WHAT IF's of the statistical analysis. When DVOA was first being developed, FO shared a lot of insight about what was going into the formulas...I remember well heated discussions about weather adjustments, or the regression-to-the-mean behavior of exceptional third down performance. Now that seems to rarely happen and all we generally get is "We improved DVOA slightly here and there to get a better correlation with wins", without any kind of discussion of WHY changing some variable might correlate better. I really enjoyed those discussions (being a math geek with some statistical knowledge and a love of football). It's nice to know that the DVOA of team A went down from 1999 to 2000, but how about some discussion about why? How about some research into what kind of trends affect the scoring baseline, for example?

I once heard a quote: "Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is sexy, but what they cover up is vital". I'd love more statisticy articles, like there used to be.

33
by tally :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 3:56am

I don't know about others here, but I'm not exactly complaining about the Insider content. I've subscribed to Insider before to read articles from a couple of writers, and under other circumstances and perhaps a better economy, I might have done so again for FO content. The fact that I and others bought Premium should be indicative that people do find it worthwhile to pay for FO content.

43
by cesmfguru :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 7:50pm

I just find it bizarre that I bought a "premium" (which I think based on the website description I reasonably inferred was the highest level of access to FO content) subscription only to find out a couple days before the season that, well, you also need to subscribe to a totally different site (Insider) to get content described on the site. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it had been made remotely clear that was the case, but it wasn't. I'm all for you making a living, that's why I paid for premium, but to now say "premium" isn't all-inclusive? That's wrong. To me it appears you guys a) knew this a while back but didn't choose to make it clear or b) cut a last minute deal with ESPN and chose to let the chips fall where they may for us.

45
by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 1:02am

We've never once suggested that Premium content included anything but the Premium DVOA splits, the weekly bets, and the fantasy football answering service. We've never suggested that there was any written content available or anything beyond that. Not once. It's, in fact, remotely clear.

48
by hans :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 3:55am

Yes you are correct in a clear defined sense. And you can carry that as a badge, but there are other sites that would respect that anyone paying for "premium" content on their site will receive just that, "premium" content that encompass the best the site has to offer. You can't really fool anyone into believing they got a deal to have to pay for your premium content and pay for ESPN's insider to access all the football and fantasy football material you offer. So accept it an move on.

50
by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 10:38am

No thanks.

Everyone who is complaining about this has signed up for Premium Access in the last several months. Notably, they've signed up while we were publishing articles for ESPN Insider that they couldn't read. So we're not exactly suddenly making a dramatic shift in what is and isn't available to Premium subscribers.

56
by njligernj :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 11:52am

Doubt you're still reading this but FWIW I think it's clear a few people subbed to Premium when they purchased Kubiak/Almanac and figured "hey there is a bundle price, I'll get Premium and get everything they do." It may be clear to YOU that Premium doesn't include everything(it may also be clear to dedicated readers) however to a lot of us who hadn't really visited the site since February, it was an "impulse buy."

I fully admit it was my fault for not checking, however as someone else said, "Premium" has certain connotations on the internet which lead an uneducated (when it comes to the intricacies of the site) person such as myself to expect something I'm not going to get. If enough people have made a similar "mistake" then saying "it's clear" doesn't really cut it -- obviously it's not clear to a lot of us. We may be enormous idiots but so be it ... if the Premium deal causes ill-will toward your business it's worth considering making it clearer that Premium won't get you everything you guys write.

I honestly thought Premium would get me 100% of your content. I should have checked? Yes. Do you ever claim that it includes everything? No. Nevertheless it's what I (and others) thought based on the name.

And hey ... we're only annoyed because we like the content ... so it's not a bad thing.

49
by MC2 :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 6:08am

I've been very critical of ESPN in the past, and will probably continue to be in the future. I find a lot of their schtick (Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, Dick Vitale, the endless obession with "personalities" like Favre, TO, etc.) to be almost unbearably annoying.

What I don't get, however, is this notion that they're somehow "evil", or at least any more evil than any other major TV network, newspaper, or whatever. People complain that they have a "monopoly" or that they take talent away from other media outlets, but to me, this misses the point.

There's nothing inherently evil about having a large market share. While such a market share can be obtained through evil means (such as the granting of legal favors to politically well-connected corporations), it can also simply come about through providing what the average customer wants in a cheaper or more convenient manner than one's competition. It seems to me that's basically what ESPN does.

There's nothing stopping anybody from choosing not to patronize ESPN, or to stop anyone from setting up a competitor to ESPN. In fact, other companies (e.g. FOX Sports, CNN/SI, etc.) have tried (and failed) to overtake ESPN, but their failure was not due to any evil actions on the part of ESPN, but rather on their own inability to meet the demands of consumers. If there was really a large demand that was not being met by ESPN, it seems someone else would have stepped up to fill the void by now.

In any event, while it's ironic that the Outsiders have now teamed up with the Ultimate Insiders, I don't see how any of the readers have any right to complain. We've all gotten years worth of free content, and anyone who doesn't like the new arrangement is free to leave, having already gotten a bargain. So, I don't see how anyone can say that this new arrangement is unfair. Whether it's a good long-term business move is much more debatable, but I assume that Aaron is in a better position to decide that than I am.

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by cesmfguru :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 11:32am

The wording on the FAQ page has changed. It now says "All ESPN material is now Insider only." *That's* clear, and all you had to say. In contrast, "here's the stuff we publish in partnership with ESPN" without the "but it's Insider only" is not. Again, not saying I think you're obligated to give stuff away free forever, just that if you're getting paid based on the previous presentation, that should be the deal.

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by Anonymous! (not verified) :: Mon, 09/14/2009 - 12:00am

No worries, I'll just read it on one of the various message boards that copies and pastes it.

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by some other user has my name (not verified) :: Mon, 09/14/2009 - 1:36am

Keep putting indie rock references in your work and I'll keep reading it.

My CAPTCHA is "31 BLADDERS"

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by Still Looking (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:11pm

So there is a Quick Reads from the SuperBowl that is about two lines on the site here. I thought they were available on FO the following Tuesday? Just asking...