ESPN.com might be the first stop for many sports fans to get breaking news and rumors. (Unless you typically get that information from Twitter, where many ESPN insiders break news.) But if you want analysis, columns, and other content like picks and fantasy info, that will soon cost you.
As reported by the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is moving more of its analysis and feature content behind its ESPN+ paywall. (For what it’s worth, Awful Announcing also heard rumblings about this development just before Marchand posted his story.) The network is expected to announce the change on Thursday.
For ESPN, this is an effort to drive more readers to sign up for ESPN+, also following parent company Disney’s initiative to push the audience toward more subscriber-driven written and streaming content.
Breaking news stories and investigative reports will still be available for readers outside the ESPN+ paywall, according to Marchand. As a result, several featured insiders (Adrian Wojnarowski, Jeff Passan, Adam Schefter, etc.) will likely have content on both sides of the paywall. Deeper analysis and commentary will now be restricted to ESPN+ subscribers, much like columnists such as Buster Olney, John Clayton, Jayson Stark were in the ESPN Insider days.
Content currently behind the paywall includes college football writer Bill Connelly on the Big Ten’s opening weekend, Mike Clay looking at key fantasy football matchups, and NBA writer Kevin Pelton on Stan Van Gundy taking the New Orleans Pelicans’ head coaching job.
Others available on ESPN+ include NHL writers Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan, college football reporter Adam Rittenberg, NBA analyst Bobby Marks, MLB columnist Bradford Doolittle, and recruiting analyst Tom Van Haaren among many others. Much of the network’s sports betting content is also behind the ESPN+ paywall.
Awful Announcing has heard that some writers are concerned about their articles being paywalled once the initiative was disclosed. Uncertainty over how a transition to premium content might affect their work compelled them to reach out to other outlets.