Greg Bedard's - Boston Sports Journal

Captaincoop

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I subscribed today after finally being pushed over the edge with how terrible ESPNBoston is (Reiss excluded).

Seems like the coverage is pretty sparse for a site dedicated to just four teams. I do really like the Pats game preview, though.
 

Montana Fan

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I subscribed today after finally being pushed over the edge with how terrible ESPNBoston is (Reiss excluded).

Seems like the coverage is pretty sparse for a site dedicated to just four teams. I do really like the Pats game preview, though.
It may seem sparse but it's thorough. I signed up and have only been reading Celts and Sox stuff, not a Pats fan, and def feel like I'm getting my money's worth. SoSH and another C's website, BSJ and Celtics Blog gives me pretty much all I need on the Celts.
 

jmm57

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Login today and theses a pretty big seatsforeveryone.com ad along with a "tickets" link on the top. This one isn't too bad, but I hope this doesn't trend toward getting bogged down with ads.
 

JimD

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I'm not seeing the ad, although I do see the 'Tickets' button up top.
 

RIFan

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No shortage of members here that might be interested in this:
Maybe crossover .com/ BSJ potential?
 

jmm57

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That's what we are talking about as "the ad". This doesn't take away anything from the site.
I also get a full page width banner ad between the headline story and the list of recent stories below that . This one isn't a big deal, but will see if they keep rolling out more.
 

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JimD

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I also get a full page width banner ad between the headline story and the list of recent stories below that . This one isn't a big deal, but will see if they keep rolling out more.
That is still a lot less obnoxious than ads on many other websites.
 

dano7594

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Jul 15, 2005
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Bedard was asked the question concerning The Athletic on 2/23 chat, his response:

Greg A. Bedard
Not really. There’s always competition. If people want to give their money to a bunch of Silicon Valley and VC guys from New York and Cleveland, then they can have at it. I still think there’s a market for locally owned and staffed business, and I’m not really crazy the way I’ve seen them cover other cities (Bay Area has been good because Tim Kawakami is running the show). We’ll see what happens. We have some things coming down the pike (debuted BSJ Analytics today, so check it out). Podcasts coming soon, much more.


Honestly I will be intrigued as far as who The Athletic would hire. I am open to speculation.
 

JimD

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I agree with Bedard's take - it depends on who they get to run the local operation. They also spotted BSJ a 7,500 subscriber head start and Greg seems to feel confident enough now to be starting the analytics side of the site and talk about covering the Revolution.
 

TFP

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Joey Mac jumping ship to The Athletic. Unsurprising, they had pulled him off the road a while ago. I wonder if BSJ even lasts the year now that The Athletic is in town.

 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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BSJ is probably relieved because it trims expense. Bedard's all done. 8147 subscriptions, half of those came in the first month. Little marketing, unlikable front man. bloated staff. The Athletic is going to run right past him.
 

8slim

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BSJ is probably relieved because it trims expense. Bedard's all done. 8147 subscriptions, half of those came in the first month. Little marketing, unlikable front man. bloated staff. The Athletic is going to run right past him.
Well, that's a take! Why do you say the staff was bloated? There was only 1 or 2 people assigned to each major team, right?

I subscribed for a year, basically at launch, and generally speaking it has been a $35 well spent. McAdam is great, Beddard's film breakdowns were fascinating, and the Bs and Cs coverage is on point.

Sadly, I don't know if the market can support one subscriber-supported property, let alone two.
 

Joe Sixpack

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With 8100 subscriptions they are taking in ~$280,000/yr in revenue. That doesn't seem sustainable. No idea how much the ads are bringing in but it can't be much. I like the site and the coverage so I hope they find a way to survive.
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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Well, that's a take! Why do you say the staff was bloated? There was only 1 or 2 people assigned to each major team, right?
7 people plus the substitute teacher from Mashpee, Loyko, on 8100 customers who are paying between $2.08 and $4.99 per month, not inclusive of the lifetime members. He built a company before he built a business, unless he's capitalized to survive that much payroll and travel. You could make the case for that approach if he had the requisite growth in subscriber count, but he flat-lined after 45 days or so. DK got the subscriber base built before he started adding headcount. Unless you have unlimited resources you have to spend into demand, not what Bedard is doing.
 

8slim

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7 people plus the substitute teacher from Mashpee, Loyko, on 8100 customers who are paying between $2.08 and $4.99 per month, not inclusive of the lifetime members. He built a company before he built a business, unless he's capitalized to survive that much payroll and travel. You could make the case for that approach if he had the requisite growth in subscriber count, but he flat-lined after 45 days or so. DK got the subscriber base built before he started adding headcount. Unless you have unlimited resources you have to spend into demand, not what Bedard is doing.
I'm assuming the calculus was that he had to have each of the four major Boston teams well covered (McAdam, Price, Robb, McDonald). I don't think that's outlandish. Who's subscribing to BSJ without, say, a Sox or Bruins writer? The other two are Flynn and Benzan, right? I'm guessing they aren't FTEs. Maybe that's a waste of money, but who knows, it could be very little.

If critiques are going to be leveled at Bedard, I'd think it'd be about the paltry sub growth. But every start-up runs in the red in order to scale. That seems like a misplaced criticism.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The writers may have a lowish base pay plus equity...but as others noted, without subscriber growth it’s hard to see the model working out anyway
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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If critiques are going to be leveled at Bedard, I'd think it'd be about the paltry sub growth. But every start-up runs in the red in order to scale. That seems like a misplaced criticism.
I thought I covered that when I wrote, "You could make the case for that approach if he had the requisite growth in subscriber count, but he flat-lined after 45 days or so."

You could probably do a good site with one Red Sox writer, one Pats writer, and one editor/owner, and then make everyone responsible for Bruins/Celtics/local coverage until you had the cash flow to justify headcount. I think Bedard assumed a build it and they will come model, and that was validated when he had 5,000 subs in 6 weeks.
 

JCizzle

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For what it's worth, I think it would be cool for McAdam to dual hat as a Sox/Bruins writer. I always thought he provided good Bruins takes when he would do T&R years ago. Granted I'm not a super knowledgeable hockey fan, so maybe he sucks to the more informed reader.
 

tims4wins

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For what it's worth, I think it would be cool for McAdam to dual hat as a Sox/Bruins writer. I always thought he provided good Bruins takes when he would do T&R years ago. Granted I'm not a super knowledgeable hockey fan, so maybe he sucks to the more informed reader.
Kind of hard since spring training starts in Feb and playoff hockey can run into June
 

8slim

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I thought I covered that when I wrote, "You could make the case for that approach if he had the requisite growth in subscriber count, but he flat-lined after 45 days or so."

You could probably do a good site with one Red Sox writer, one Pats writer, and one editor/owner, and then make everyone responsible for Bruins/Celtics/local coverage until you had the cash flow to justify headcount. I think Bedard assumed a build it and they will come model, and that was validated when he had 5,000 subs in 6 weeks.
He had to have an editorial staff covering the four teams before he launched though. Why would any Bs or Cs fan subscribe if coverage was paltry? He couldnt have hoped to grow subs if he didn’t have enough volume of content to do so. Again, start-ups run in the red. I really don’t understand what agitates you about a well worn business model he is following. And it’s not like he hired 20 writers. He has 4 FTEs.
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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Asking employees to cover multiple beats does not assume paltry coverage. No matter which business model he chose, he'd need to grow customer count. He hasn’t. Its only agitating in the sense that I’d buy into a subscription site, but there isn’t a local one worthy to justify the spend on. I’d buy a sub to the Athletic, but Sean Leahy owns fake Don Yee as much as Borges does.
 

8slim

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Asking employees to cover multiple beats does not assume paltry coverage. No matter which business model he chose, he'd need to grow customer count. He hasn’t. Its only agitating in the sense that I’d buy into a subscription site, but there isn’t a local one worthy to justify the spend on. I’d buy a sub to the Athletic, but Sean Leahy owns fake Don Yee as much as Borges does.
I don’t understand how having one person cover two teams is at all feasible, given that the whole point of subscribing to a site like BSJ is to get a high volume of in-depth coverage. Every regular season among the big 4 sports overlaps AND each one requires copious off season coverage as well.

FWIW I spent a whopping $35 for a year and it was well worth it. That’s like one case of good craft beer. If that’s too steep a price for you I don’t know what to say. And if you don’t like the writers then I’m not sure how having less of them would’ve enticed you.

Honestly, a fair critique is that he should’ve spent MORE money on personnel and hired an experienced growth hacker or two to acquire more subs. Then spent even more on off channel marketing via search and social ads.
 

RIFan

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Die hard Bruins and Celtics fans were not going to sign up unless there was a credible beat writer assigned to the team. The Bruins especially were starving for good coverage and he would have been a fool to not bring Joey Mac on board since he was available shortly after site launch. There was definitely a bump after he was finally announced. There is plenty to criticize on his plan for building a subscriber base, but he absolutely needed to cover the 4 major teams to be viewed as a legitimate site.

The same criticisms can be leveled at The Athletic. They brought on some high priced talent and beat redundancy in a lot of markets. They've had some good funding rounds, but they have to be bleeding red ink.
 

LogansDad

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Dang, loved Joey Mac's stuff. I didn't know much of his stuff before BSJ, and only got a sub because it was free for military, but will likely follow him over to The Atlantic.
 

JimD

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I don't understand why any Boston sports fan wouldn't just subscribe to both sites. The spare change I toss into tip jars every week probably comes out to more than what I pay for these.
 

Van Everyman

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Said this on another thread but it kind of sucks that Joey Mac got poached/left in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like, I get that it probably wasn't his choice -- and that The Athletic wants to start with a bang. And other guys seem to be covering in his absence (Anthony Gulzia, who I don't know). But it's kind of shitty to leave a website in its first year with no established hockey writer as the team makes its playoff run.
 

TFP

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Said this on another thread but it kind of sucks that Joey Mac got poached/left in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like, I get that it probably wasn't his choice -- and that The Athletic wants to start with a bang. And other guys seem to be covering in his absence (Anthony Gulzia, who I don't know). But it's kind of shitty to leave a website in its first year with no established hockey writer as the team makes its playoff run.
My guess is that he felt no loyalty to the site and wasn’t exactly thrilled he got pulled off the road while Bedard and McAdam both went to spring training in person. Combine that with Bedard’s general shittiness and the writing seemingly on the wall for the website, I don’t blame him for jumping.

The passive agressive swipe from Bedard when Joe left and Joe’s complete omission of BSJ in his experience outline in his first Athletic column makes me think there’s more going on behind the scenes here.
 

JimD

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Bedard doing Revs updates doesn’t bode well.
I think it was only because Sean McAdam was off and Revs beat writer Sean Sweeney was covering the Sox this weekend. Bedard has also filled in for McAdam a few times.
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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For the last 9 months his subscription rates have been flattening. And now Bedard is now spending his time lobbying Twitter to suspend parody accounts. The competition also puts out a very nice product and doesn’t have to lament over its broken app every week. He’s done.
 

Van Everyman

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For the last 9 months his subscription rates have been flattening. And now Bedard is now spending his time lobbying Twitter to suspend parody accounts. The competition also puts out a very nice product and doesn’t have to lament over its broken app every week. He’s done.
Is there a place to see that? Regardless, you sound almost pleased about that fact.

My only real complaint is that the website constant asks me to log back in. I’m not sure I really need it but I enjoy it. Robb is excellent however, Price is solid and I’m glad McAdam has work again. One of the good ones.
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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You could search Price’s timeline in 5 minutes and get it. He marks script numbers.

I don’t want good writers to lose jobs but Bedard is smarmy jerk who pretends to care about being a local while talking down to the audience with glee at every opportunity. He’s carping about “New York money” at the Athletic while putting out an inferior product. And as the @badjournalism account points out frequently and correctly, he’s a terrible editor. I don’t find Bedard particularly compelling or worthwhile professionally. Being an asshole validates not investing in him.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Honestly my main problem with BSJ is their mobile app is terrible. They use no image caching at all so just browsing through the stories is incredibly cumbersome, especially when I am on the train and the signal is spotty. If I am reading a story and go back to the front page it shouldn't have to reload the entire page every time.
 

rickmac

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This times a thousand. I think the content is great but the app is slow to load with a great signal and on the train it is useless. If I flip to check an email I have to then start over when trying to go back to the app Still worth it and I will keep supporting them but there needs to be a better app.
Honestly my main problem with BSJ is their mobile app is terrible. They use no image caching at all so just browsing through the stories is incredibly cumbersome, especially when I am on the train and the signal is spotty. If I am reading a story and go back to the front page it shouldn't have to reload the entire page every time.
 

JimD

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Bedard is never going to get rich on BSJ and he's putting some good local writers to work, so I'll keep subscribing as long as they can maintain the current quality level. It is pretty obvious that The Athletic is hurting BSJ's upside, though.
 

Van Everyman

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I literally didn’t know they had an app until I read this thread. They don’t promote it. Regardless, the site works fine on mobile web notwithstanding the login issue I mentioned.

Agreed about The Athletic – and I understand the feelings about Bedard to some extent. I have a Pats fanatic friend who won’t subscribe because he can’t stand the guy. But I’d argue that they have the best Celtics coverage in the market and are competitive if not the best for the Sox and Pats. And I like that it’s mostly (all?) local guys.
 

JimD

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BSJ's local coverage is definitely better for the Sox. The Athletic is worth it for their national columnists and writers. Their app isn't without its bugs, though - I've set up my favorites but they still push stories like NFL and college football into my feed that I don't really care about.
 

Dirty Sanchez Forever

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701EB217-0D99-4CBC-9775-B15A9755F1A1.jpeg
I literally didn’t know they had an app until I read this thread. They don’t promote it. Regardless, the site works fine on mobile web notwithstanding the login issue I mentioned.

Agreed about The Athletic – and I understand the feelings about Bedard to some extent. I have a Pats fanatic friend who won’t subscribe because he can’t stand the guy. But I’d argue that they have the best Celtics coverage in the market and are competitive if not the best for the Sox and Pats. And I like that it’s mostly (all?) local guys.
This hastily put together chart used numbers between this thread and a Twitter search.