LSU announced plans today for LSU Gold, an upcoming content subscription tier that promises all-access footage across the school’s many athletic programs.
Regardless of what the end product ends up being, we do have to say this: whoever edited this hype video did a hell of a job.
Unrivaled content. Unprecedented access.
Introducing LSU GOLD – coming to screens worldwide on August 1.
— LSU Tigers (@LSUsports) June 6, 2022
(Keeping Brian Kelly’s screentime to a minimum was a good call.)
The idea of a school’s athletic department creating their own subscription content offering shouldn’t be that unusual, but it will almost certainly annoy some folks. Especially those in the “why do we have to pay for anything, we’re taxpayers” crowd, a group that spans the political spectrum and includes no one who understands how athletic departments at LSU’s level are financed, apparently.
They typically generate their own revenue, often at a profit, although the pandemic has obviously disrupted that in recent times, often sending a portion of those funds to the school’s academic fund. (Ignorance of this arrangement did lead to Jim Calhoun’s memorable “Not a dime back!” joke and ensuing press conference rant during his time at UConn.)
The question, then, is more about whether or not anyone would want to pay $8.99 per month for this service. Here’s what subscribers will be getting, according to the press release:
Among GOLD’s initial offerings will be episodic content series featuring all of LSU Athletics, including:
The Follow: an all-access documentary detailing LSU Football coach Brian Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, from his arrival in December through the fall of 2022.
Eye to Eye: In-depth interviews with LSU’s elite coaches, student-athletes, and staff.
Film Room: Breakdowns of key plays and critical performances, featuring current and former-student athletes and coaches.
Hey Fightin’ Podcast Network: Daily podcast video covering all of LSU’s sports and complimenting LSU’s free audio podcast offerings. The HFP network will also include premium podcasts found only on GOLD, including the Cutting Edge with Jack Marucci and interviews with LSU’s football coaches all season long.
UNCUT: Longer edits and additional coverage of practices, games, and behind-the-scenes events.
For neutral observers, it might be hard to fathom why anyone would pay for a this, even if it’s well-produced. $8.99 is priced aggressively from LSU’s side. But if there’s one thing college sports has proven for a long time it’s that fans of teams are willing to pay for premium content. The rise of recruiting and premium message boards has demonstrated that for a long time now.
The best way to look at this might be as a natural evolution of the booster club fundraising setup, where donors received extra perks in return. This is a smaller but more accessible scale of that. Athletic departments have been raising money that way for forever; it’s not exactly a crazy step in 2022 for schools to monetize their content.