It’s the beginning of a brand new day at The Football Scientist, as after months of planning and development the updated version of this site is ready to roll.
I began this site in 2004 and started doing work with ESPN in 2005 shortly after the publication of my self-published book Scientific Football 2005. Over the next 14 years I spent the bulk of my time producing NFL, fantasy football, college football, and NFL draft material for ESPN, while creating fantasy football draft guides and start-sit services as a side hustle for The Football Scientist readers. For a time I also assisted NFL player agents in putting together research material for player contract negotiations.
As satisfying as this setup was, there is a lot of entrepreneurial blood in my family, as my grandfather, father, and uncles all owned and operated business over the years. I caught that same business bug and therefore often thought about the elements that could be created if The Football Scientist became my full-time endeavor.
After my ESPN contract expired in September of 2019, I decided to stop thinking about it and made the jump to the independent route, a choice that led to this updated version of the site.
I could list 100 reasons why I am excited about what this site can become, but one of things that fires me up the most is there are so many ways this move can benefit the site’s readers.
Vastly expanded fantasy football coverage
This season will see the 17th editions of The Football Scientist Fantasy Football Draft Guide and Start-Sit Service, but it will also see a significant expansion of fantasy football coverage via the new Paydirt subscription service. A new TFS Draft Kit, waiver wire rankings/articles, start-sit rankings/articles, and exclusive TFS metrics will all combine to provide Paydirt subscribers with a level of TFS fantasy football coverage unrivaled in any previous season.
I did a series of online chats for ESPN years ago that were so popular among the chatters that many times a year I hear from someone saying how much they enjoyed them. With that in mind, this season will feature the return of those chats. All Paydirt subscribers will be able to access the preseason fantasy chats to discuss draft strategies. Paydirt Silver subscribers will have Tuesday in-season chats to discuss waiver wire strategies. Paydirt Gold subscribers will have access to Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning chats that will allow them to receive exclusive, up to the minute advice in the last hour before each week's kickoffs.
The Football Scientist interview series will feature discussions with some of the most interesting people in the football world and they will be free of charge. The first interview in the series certainly meets that criterion, as Coach Cody Alexander has one of the sharpest football minds I have ever encountered in over 16 years in the football writing business. This is a FREE interview, so please check out Cody's insightful comments on the state of many facets of the NFL.
Creating opportunities for writers and editors
For those not aware, there are multiple signs that a vast amount of free online content (sports and otherwise) may be going the route of the dinosaur. I could pen hundreds of words to illustrate the myriad ways this is happening, but a December 2019 Business Insider article may have summed it up best when it noted that 7,800 media jobs were lost in 2019, a total that was over 50 percent higher than the estimated 5,000 media jobs that were lost from 2014-2017.
This disturbing trend is already continuing in 2020, as iHeartMedia cut an estimated 1,000 radio jobs in January in what was called, “one of the worst days in on-air radio history”.
Add it all up and it shows that quality sports media content, either in front of or behind a paywall, will likely be much tougher to find in the coming years.
I want to fight back against that trend with this expanded website. If things go well enough, I intend to bring on freelance writers and editors to help add more coverage to the site, with the eventual goal to add those writers and editors on as full-time staff members.
The objective is to create a caliber of content that makes Paydirt subscribers more than happy to pay a reasonable price to support the independent sports writing community.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, so let me close this out by saying thank you very much for supporting the website!