On Wednesday, May 12, we here at the Bay State Soccer Sentinel will put up the paywall again after more than 14 months of keeping it down due to the various effects of the ongoing pandemic. Moving forward, all of our future match recaps along with the match blogs, opinion pieces, as well as the weekend and midweek previews, the Monday Morning Whiparound, and the Tuesday Re-Watch can be accessed for a nominal monthly fee.
So why a paywall? Why can’t readers continue to receive the same quality soccer coverage like they have been since the MLS IS BACK Tournament?
First, I fully believe that everyone who does this type of work should receive some sort of remuneration for their time and expertise. I’ve been a journalist going on 28 years, I have been doing this a long time. And I thoroughly believe in paying for services you receive. You should always pay for your newspaper subscriptions, pay for your subscriptions to other websites.
The original intention of the Bay State Soccer Sentinel is that it’s 100 percent subscriber supported. I believe that placing adverts on my site will ruin the reading experience for you, the subscriber, and I vow not to have ads, whether in a box or pop-up, to ever infiltrate my site. And sure, I could make a lot of money in ads just like every other news organization does, but honestly? I’d rather write content and break down match film and cover the matches and give you a solid experience than sell advertising or go through the hassle of billing any day of the week.
Secondly, and I’ll be 100 percent transparent here: I think the time has come for the paywall to go back up. My wife and I’s medical issues, plus the pandemic, are really starting to wind down (go get vaccinated!), and those were the main issues getting in our way; little did I know when I started this site in December 2019 that we’d be hit by COVID, my wife would have a stroke, and that breathing issues tied to my heart condition would worsen in 2020. We’ve been pretty much completely free for about 11 months now, and that should be plenty of time for Revolution supporters and fans of local soccer to know exactly what I do.
And to be completely honest, going with the free match content for as long as we have — breaking news will always be free here — has hampered the financial growth of the site and in essence the business. Our intake has dropped: after gaining subscriptions totaling nearly $329 on Mar. 1, 2020 — nearly two weeks before the pandemic hit our shores — we are now at $137 for the last few months, with May 1, 2021 the first time we’ve had payments taken in in a while. We can explain that happening in a couple of ways — 1. My inability to get to Gillette during the re-start of the 2020 season coupled with no elevator access, and 2. Limited access hampered the work I originally wanted to put out. I reduced the subscription levels in August when I realized the prices were not lining up with the work produced, and because some people are out of work or re-evaluating their finances due to the pandemic, they cut their subscriptions. We did receive a new subscriber in March, the first new one since August.
Now, we’re trying to re-envision what this site entails — you’ll notice I no longer do anything Premier League-related — and trying to improve certain aspects, such as the introduction of additional Revs II content (that will be first seen during Wednesday’s Mid-Week Kick) and the Tuesday Re-Watch, which I didn’t do last year. My hope is that the new features and content will spur subscriptions moving forward.
We feel that our services — $4 a month for the match blog and the match report; $8 for those things, plus the Whiparound, Soccer Weekend, Mid-Week Kick, the Tuesday Re-Watch, and any opinion pieces we do — are incredibly affordable and reasonable, and it’s a great value if we do say so ourselves. You can join us here via this link.
You’ve been with us for over a year, you know the work we can produce. Stay with us and we’ll keep you informed about the Revs and Massachusetts soccer as best as we can.