Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates toward fans prior to a game against the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As Vox Media continues its perpetual reshuffling of strategy and leadership at SB Nation, the company this week will launch new paid newsletter products for two of its bigger NFL communities, Pride of Detroit and Arrowhead Pride. These subscription-based products are the first of their kind at SB Nation.

According to Sports Business Journal, the launch will coincide with activations at NFL Kickoff next week in Kansas City as the Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions. According to Vox, the Chiefs newsletter will be authored by Arrowhead Pride Editor-in-Chief Pete Sweeney, while the Lions newsletter will be authored by his counterpart at Pride of Detroit, Jeremy Reisman. Both writers will give subscribers exclusive insights as longtime local credentialed team reporters. The price will be $50 per year.

While many SB Nation team sites generate hundreds of thousands of web visits annually, Vox Media has long struggled to monetize these communities. As recently as 2019, the company employed full-time staffers at several of the highest-earning sites, but that group has dwindled after several rounds of cuts. That has led many former SB Nation creators to spin off independent entities, buy back their archives, or form new partnerships.

In April, Vox laid off seven percent of its staff, moving on from several SB Nation full-timers and axing entire communities completely.

SB Nation represents one of the few successful digital ventures to deeply enmesh itself in local fanbases and create a real pipeline of young sports journalists. While parent company Vox has not been able to develop a cohesive long-term vision for the sports company in recent years, this paid newsletter strategy is in line with a business model that has been successful for many hyperlocal niche content companies.

Considering the launch of these Chiefs and Lions products coincides with sponsored activations alongside DraftKings at a major NFL tentpole event, this news is as good a sign as any that Vox has a new sense of direction for SB Nation.

[Vox, Sports Business Journal]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.