The Big Lead's homepage on May 18, 2024. The Big Lead’s homepage on May 18, 2024.

Many sites from the early days of the sports internet are no longer with us, and others have changed dramatically. One of those prominent sites that appears to be undergoing some change at present is the Minute Media-owned The Big Lead, which (as of 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday) had not received a new post in the past eight days. Awful Announcing’s request for comment there Friday to a Minute Media representative was not returned by press time Saturday.

Of course, there have been many past changes at The Big Lead. The site, covering sports and sports media, was founded in 2006 by Jason McIntyre and David Lessa. It went through several notable sagas early on, including Colin Cowherd urging his audience to crash the site.

McIntyre initially wrote the site anonymously and separately from his day job as an editor with US Weekly, but had his identity revealed by Sports Illustrated and then used his actual name. And he bragged to Richard Sandomir about being “on the computer 14 to 15 hours a day” in 2010, around a story on how TBL was sold to Fantasy Sports Ventures for “low seven figures.”

USA Today parent Gannett then bought Fantasy Sports Ventures in 2012. That year also saw McIntyre launch a weekly Fox Sports Radio program named The Big Lead With Jason McIntyre. He’s done a significant amount of work with Fox since then, including (oddly enough, given the history) Cowherd’s The Herd and Speak For Yourself (when it was launched in 2016 with Cowherd and Jason Whitlock; it’s now Speak, and includes neither of them).

McIntyre continued writing at The Big Lead for much of that decade. But many other prominent writers were also involved during that period, and much of what they published during that time wasn’t written by McIntyre (with his increased radio and TV work part of the reason there). And he left the company for good in 2019 when it was sold to Minute Media and had its staff cut to four.

Of course, Minute Media is now notable for publishing Sports Illustrated. They struck a deal there in March following SI owner Authentic Brands Group terminating The Arena Group’s publishing license following a missed payment and other controversies. But there is still a lot of SI uncertainty; while some big names have announced they’ll stick with SI under the new management, many have not yet commented on whether they’ll remain with the brand.

Around that, many of the long-time figures at The Big Lead have announced on social media that at least some of their work can now be seen at That includes Kyle Koster (there since 2014) and Ryan Phillips (there since 2016), two of the four writers that Andrew Marchand listed as remaining there following the 2019 Minute deal. (The other two Marchand listed were Ryan Glasspiegel, now at Marchand’s old home of The New York Post, and Bobby Burack, now at Outkick.) That also includes Stephen Douglas, who wrote for The Big Lead from 2008-2018 and then again beginning in August 2019, a few months after the Minute deal.

All of the recent non-ad posts on The Big Lead’s site (checked via the site’s RSS feed) are from those three writers: Koster, Phillips, and Douglas. May 10 saw one post there from Koster and one post from Douglas. Before that, the previous two posts were from Phillips on May 3. Meanwhile, Douglas, Phillips, and Koster all have significant and growing archives.

There’s obviously a logical case for Minute Media to emphasize publishing on rather than The Big Lead in a case of limited writer availability. There’s also a great case for these three writers to have their work published at SI.

One of the often-levied criticisms at SI in recent decades was that they didn’t have a lot of writers used to quick-turn around digital sports journalism. And these are three people who have been doing this at one of the most prominent digital sports sites for a decade. But it is interesting to see that change come without any corresponding announcement of hiring new writers for The Big Lead, or any public announcement of plans for it whatsoever.

The Big Lead does not have the profile of SI amongst the general public. But it does have a notable domain name, and a recognizable presence in search results. And it did (at least, before the recent posting lulls) have readers who would go there directly for sports news and opinions.

Even a relaunch like Deadspin’s current one (largely wire service articles with a few originals, with no ties to the last staff or their approach, which themselves had no ties to the preceding staff and their ties that could be traced back to the site’s founding) could conceivably bring in some traffic scraps for TBL. Meanwhile, an actual proper relaunch with new dedicated TBL writers who understood the site’s voice and history could seemingly pay off in an even larger way.

It’s currently unclear what’s ahead for TBL. Perhaps one of the relaunch plans here will come to pass. Or perhaps there’s something else in mind for the site. Perhaps all of this will get some downstream clarity once Minute announces more of what they’re doing with SI.

But it certainly is interesting to see what was once one of the internet’s most prominent sports sites quietly receiving next-to-no new posts. It’s notable to see that happening after its owner acquired a bigger title and many TBL writers began publishing there. We’ll see what happens with TBL in the coming days.

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.