If you've been on Facebook or Twitter lately, you have probably seen ads for The Athletic. If you haven't, it is a [fairly new] subscription-based sports website covering the big stuff in many major cities - Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Toronto to name a few. Great writers covering topics I care about, and I don't have to navigate around any ads? Yes please!
Being the old man/skeptic that I am, I had to do a bit of research before I made my purchase. Unfortunately, this meant I had to do one of my least-favorite Internet things: read comments on Facebook. I know, I know - I it upset me too. But for the sake of the sports, I made the sacrifice.
Unsurprisingly, I did not enjoy what I found:
"You expect people to PAY for journalism? Ha! That will never happen!"
"Just get ads on your site and make it free!"
"You can literally get the same stuff anywhere for free."The fact that someone is complaining about having to pay for a thing in 2018 is no shock, but that doesn't make it less disappointing. Other sports pages are interrupted by ads and littered with typos (or just poor writing). If paying a fee means I get no nonsense and higher quality, so be it. And I guess these dudes never subscribed to magazines, since the concept of paying to read words seems impossible.
If I know people on the Internet like I think I do, they hate ads. They hate ads and they hate paying to make those ads disappear. If you think it sounds like there's no way to please people like this, you are right. Plus, at least in my experience, ads can really get in the way when reading on fancy gadgets. And for someone who reads a lot of his news on the train, that's a huge deal-breaker.
That last one I think is the Internet version of "I can get it cheaper somewhere else," which was always one of my favorite customer lines. If that's true in this case [it isn't], why not just do that thing? Do you really think your quip will make THE MAN change the business model?
So after this descent into the madness of comment sections, I took the plunge. "But Pat, you're a millennial! You shouldn't want to pay for things!" Technically, my friend, you are correct. If I could get this quality writing/layout for free, I would take it. But I can give you four reasons why I decided to go for it - the first being that the site was running a 50% off the first year promotion (but really, the full price of $60 annually for great, daily sports stuff is pretty reasonable).
The other three? Ken Rosenthal, Peter Gammons, and my favorite baseball writer, Jayson Stark. (Did I pay mainly to read one man's opinions? Yes. Yes I did.)
I may have only had my subscription for a few days, but I'm willing to go on record and say it's worth it. The mobile app is very clean and easy to navigate, and the writing is top notch. Add in the fact that I can follow only the sports and teams I care about and filter out what I don't (sorry, college football)? I. Am. In.
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I look forward to exploring this site to see what "hidden treasures" there are. Whatever I find, I'm sure I'll enjoy it and I know it was money well spent. If you're a sports nerd like I am, I will return to that limb and say that you should absolutely look into this. SPORTS!
(Also I get things for referrals so let me know if you're doing it!)
Until next time, pals, have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do!
Crap open a cold one!