FoxSports.com from 1930 on 06-26-17

Earlier this year, the Fox Sports website made a controversial decision to entirely ditch the written word as part of a “pivot to video.” This decision to completely remake the mainstream sports website was part of the larger implosion at Fox Sports with the departure of Jamie Horowitz amidst some fairly serious allegations.

Horowitz also had a key role in the extreme makeover of the website, turning it from a source for news, opinion, and analysis to little more than a highlight page for FS1’s variety of lightly-watched debate shows.

In the wake of the “new and improved” FoxSports.com, the reviews were universally negative. Many sports fans suddenly discovered there was no point in visiting the website when mostly all of its offerings were outdated or irrelevant.

And true to expectation, that has shown up in the first substantially reported numbers about the traffic to FoxSports.com. SI’s Richard Deitsch reports that traffic dropped an astounding 88% since the “pivot to video.” Their traffic has gone from over 143 million in a monthly period to just under 17 million.

If those numbers seem bad, keep in mind that most sports outlets see an increase in traffic when the fall comes along thanks to the return of college football and the NFL.

There are a couple caveats to these numbers, though. First, it’s not clear if it includes Fox Sports affiliate sites that could have been counted in the company’s overall numbers in the first chunk of pageviews and not the second. But while that could account for a decent percentage of the drop, it surely wouldn’t be enough to overcome the narrative of the bottom falling out from underneath the FoxSports.com audience.

Second, there’s the question of whether or not FoxSports.com is in fact profitable. The entire strategy of “pivoting to video” isn’t so much about maintaining pageviews as it is making money. Higher ad rates for videos plus all of those writer salaries off the books means Fox may not be actually doing all that bad from a business perspective in spite of what seems to be terrible news about their disappearing audience.

That’s when Fox Sports has to ask if it’s all worth it, though. Is perhaps a few extra bucks in video ads worth all of the negative publicity and a rapid descent into complete and total obscurity in the online sports economy? When was the last time you visited FoxSports.com? Days? Weeks? Months? It’s been removed from my bookmarks and the only times I can recall visiting the website recently is to see how far behind the rest of the world they are in relevant sports news.

There’s absolutely no reason right now for the Fox Sports Digital audience to increase with this current strategy. What are those advertisers going to do once they realize all of the visitors are gone? With such a sharp decline, it’s hard to imagine this working out for the company in the long run.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

  • BobLee Says

    All the major aggregate sports sites will give the same scores and same Big Stories. I am going to bookmark / go to the ones that are most “viewer friendly”. I unbookmarked FoxSports several months ago… so I never think about it any longer. I no longer go to ESPN.com too but thats for a different reason … OUCH!

  • souvien

    The solution is obvious….MORE BOOBS!

    KKKlay will watch at least…

    • StoJa

      AM I missing something here? How does liking tits make him a klansman?

      • Brian D

        LOL, it’s 2017. Being a straight white male makes him a klansman.

      • Daniel Kelley

        Liking boobs doesn’t make him a klansman, but he can both like boobs AND be racist, independent of one another…

  • Will B Dunn

    I don’t want to watch a video when I go to a news story. I want to be able to read it. If I go to a link and it is video only, I leave very quickly.

  • Ken

    FoxSports.com still exists?

  • ItsBlackjack115

    This is why I go to CBS Sports instead.

  • i’m part of the 88%

  • Adam Domo

    i was shocked that they got rid of all of their fantasy games.. the college pickem, footbal pickem etc.

  • Matt

    Should do both.

  • Joe

    I used to read the stories @ foxsports.com — now I tend to read at either si.com or cbssports.com

    foxsports.com just rehashes what is on FS1 or Fox Sports Radio all day — nothing original

    I bet it changes back to a Written Story format before long — just gonna have trouble getting Talent, after Firing everyone!

  • PAI

    I rip on ESPN, a lot…

    That being said, I never watch the network, but still read many columns and stories per day on the website. A lot of their writers are very good at what they do. If they did what Foxsports.com did, I’d be done with them. I never went to Fox Sports’ site in the first place, and now have no reason to ever do so.

  • Yuri Kurylo

    all videos make it hard to hide workplace websurfing

    • RP

      would love to see % of sports site reading that is done @ work. Anyone who used to read foxsports.com clandestinely on boss’s dime can no longer do so…

  • GameFederer

    I think with maybe the exception of Ken Rosenthal, I have never cared or viewed Fox Sports’ news articles. There really just isnt’ any reason to. For baseball I always preferred Gammons, Kurkjian, Rosenthal, Stark, Olney, etc. For football I always preferred ESPN just because I don’t care enough about football anymore to want in-depth stuff just a summary and ESPN’s site is good enough for that. For Futbol, it’s a mix of ESPN and sub-reddits. For tennis, it’s strictly sub-reddits and some forums I frequent. ESPN is usually like a dayor two late on anything tennis, and their writers are meh.

    I sometimes use CNNSI for certain stuff if I wanna see a different point of view on something, but I can’t say I’ve ever looked at FSN or even CBS sports’ writers because I always viewed them at TV content anyways.

  • joe

    If I go to site that has a video and nothing to read on the story I instantly move on

  • justjosef

    This is misleading. If you are serving video instead of pages, then of course your pageviews would go down. If unique audince and time spent also dropped, THEN you have a problem. Fewer published pages (in favor of video) = few page views.

    • Adam

      It’s ALL down at foxsports.com. Unique US individuals for August was down to 17.6 million and total US minutes on site were down to 229 million. ESPN (which has its own problems) had 83.4 million unique US individuals spending 4.58 billion minutes on site. As bad as that looks at first glance, the real picture is far worse than that. If the idea was that video would hold visitors longer, they were wrong. Those figures mean on average US individual visitors spent 13 minutes in August on foxsports.com verses 54.9 minutes on espn.com. This is officially a total train wreck. https://twitter.com/KevinOta23/status/910178072627961856

  • Carl up North

    When it comes to news on any subject up to and including sports if there is not a written story i’m out of there in less than five seconds. I could watch television if I want to see animations. I wondered what in fudge happened to the site. As a governor once said, “Hasta la vista, baby”(FOX)!

  • David Thomas

    If it ain’t broke, break it.

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  • LightningB

    Only 88%?

  • RP

    The site is trash. I didn’t go there before anyway because I am aware of who Rupert Murdoch is and refuse to subsidize his f’d up worldview, but whoever thought that was a good idea is an idiot.

    F Jaime Horowitz and every “executive” like him. Pompous fools.

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