Sports Illustrated is moving some of its content behind a paywall starting February 2nd, a week before the Super Bowl.
The move is interesting and can be looked at from two perspectives. First in the midst of a pandemic, ad sales are lower than ever and that creates less revenue for the publisher. Sports Illustrated is no different than any other media outlet, they have bills to pay and they have to keep the lights on, so a subscription model seems to be a way to increase revenue.
We are seeing more and more publications moving stuff behind the metered paywall, with sites like the New York Times and Boston Globe leading the charge. A meter paywall just means you get x amount of articles to read per month before you get locked out and need to add that credit card information.
While we don’t know what will be behind the paywall, or even how it works at all, their “premium content” is destined to be locked up for non-subscribers. The Athletic, another sports site that Ken Rosenthal and other prominent reporters write for, is fully behind the paywall of $5 or $7 depending on the level of commitment from the reader.
The other side of this is having to pay to read stuff just flat out sucks. I know I haven’t subscribed to The Athletic yet because I can’t find the need to pay for stuff that has been written by others for free. Often times, screenshots of the article or the important details are posted to Twitter. In a time where people are stuck at home more than ever, and tons of people out of a job finding an extra $6 a month or $72 a year doesn’t seem so feasible.
For now, check out Vendetta Sport’s Super Bowl Preview
The timing is peculiar for the change, with the Super Bowl upcoming and the increase of storylines that come with the big game, those free articles will stack up quickly.
TL//DR: Sports Illustrated is moving its premium content behind a paywall.