The Deadspin homepage on May 15, 2024 at 9 a.m. Eastern, with a meme of Bender from Futurama. The Deadspin homepage on May 15, 2024 at 9 a.m. Eastern, with a meme of Bender from Futurama.

Around Lineup Publishing’s March 2024 acquisition of the Deadspin brand from G/O Media, there was a lot of discussion of just what the site would look like under that ownership group. Through the first couple of days following Monday’s relaunch of the site, the answer appears to be “still just largely a home for wire service stories from Field Level Media.”

As of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, the main left portion of the site’s homepage featured 25 stories. There were five in the “top” section, then five in each of the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB sections. Three of the stories in “top” were written by Nick Pedone, the only three he’s written there so far (one Monday, two Tuesday), and he may be the only author there so far who doesn’t appear to be associated with Field Level Media. Every other story either carried just a Field Level Media byline or a byline of an individual whose Deadspin author profile includes what they cover for Field Level Media. (It is possible that the Field Level Media authors are writing for Deadspin separately, but the author profiles don’t suggest that.)

That’s in keeping with how the site had “carried on” with 100 percent Field Level Media content since the March acquisition by Lineup, which didn’t include any of the staff working for Deadspin under G/O Media. Interestingly enough, a Field Level Media source told Front Office Sports’ A.J. Perez back then they only learned of that acquisition through the media, weren’t able to reach new ownership, and were concerned about their content being the only thing on the site. But the Field Level Media stories have continued to flow, so some resolution seems to have been found there.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with these stories from Field Level Media. They’re game recaps, previews, or stories on individual athletes. And Deadspin is far from the only outlet to use wire service material in general or Field Level Media’s output in particular. Even many traditional newspapers’ sports sections have a heavy emphasis on wire material these days.

However, wire service material, by definition, isn’t unique. Wire services began in the 19th century with the 1835 founding of AFP predecessor Havas in France, the 1846 founding of the Associated Press in the U.S., the 1849 founding of the Wolffs Telegraphisches Bureau in Germany, and the 1851 founding of Reuters in England. The idea at first was to provide national and international news to a wide range of client papers that couldn’t afford their own bureaus, and those wire services even pooled their own resources for some coverage of particular international regions.

This idea then carried on with sports. And it was particularly valuable for U.S. newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where they could provide game recaps and standings from across the continent without paying reporters to attend each game. At that time, too, there weren’t a lot of alternative ways for, say, someone in Seattle to find out what happened in a baseball game in New York. The wire service coverage (from whatever wire service the reader’s preferred local paper used) would likely have been about it.

In an internet era, wire services still have their place. And they can be a useful way for publications looking to provide a wide range of sports coverage to do some of that, perhaps especially for game recaps and previews. But an internet-era change is that readers can get news and commentary from absolutely anywhere, so there’s less of a captive audience than there was in wire services’ heydays.

Wire stories can still be useful. For example, a local paper might choose to use Associated Press coverage of, say, the CFP national title game if it doesn’t have a strong local connection. And some people already reading that physical paper or on their website for their unique local coverage may get useful information from that AP recap. But wire stories are definitely not a differentiator in 2024, especially as they’re used across a ton of websites. And it’s hard to imagine people specifically seeking out Deadspin to read those.

How much does that matter?’s 19-year-history means the outlet likely has significant ranking with Google and other search engines, which is probably a big part of why Lineup bought it to deliver content “via partnerships within the sports betting industry.” Their Twitter/X account also still has more than 800,000 followers, so they could get traffic that way. And if enough people find their articles via search and either don’t notice or don’t care that most of the content comes from Field Level Media rather than Deadspin writers, the revenues here could exceed costs.

And, of course, many people aren’t terribly concerned with who’s writing at a site or how they wound up there. That’s part of why the “zombie Deadspin” (from the entire staff’s resignations in October 2019 following the firing of Barry Petchesky through the Lineup acquisition this March) was able to keep ticking on despite criticism and boycotts from many former readers who saw the new regime as an illegitimate successor using the Deadspin name.

But even that era of Deadspin featured significant original content (some of it controversial). The “relaunch” so far has much less of that to date, and has very little reason for anyone to seek it out (apart from curiosity on what this is now) on their own. So, if the current content percentages remain, the site will largely be hoping their search rankings do enough to get people to read wire service content there rather than in the many other places it lives.

It’s possible that could change. This is just the first week of the newest version of Deadspin. And perhaps they’ll staff up significantly in the days ahead and start producing more original pieces. Maybe some of those will even be good enough to build repeat readership and have the site be a destination again. But it’s worth keeping in mind that there were two months between the Lineup acquisition and this relaunch, and to date, that doesn’t seem to have produced a lot of hires of people writing for the site. And it’s interesting to see a site be so bold on social media around a “relaunch” that mostly seems to just feature one writer.

It’s also a bold move to compare yourself to a top Marvel villain who was (spoiler alert) killed shortly after proclaiming himself inevitable. We’ll see if things work out better for this newest Deadspin than they did for Thanos. But so far, there’s very little to talk about with this “relaunch” aside from the preponderance of wire service content.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.