Ever thought that the quality of football coverage has deteriorated? And that it ties in neatly with the rising popularity of social media? I have. That’s one of the reasons I started this website back in late 2018.
People aren’t buying ‘papers anymore, magazines are no longer picked up at the local newsagent and read over morning coffee. Now, people click and scroll instead. Those same newspapers and magazines are now websites, and some of them still charge you to read them. Not all.
The others, mostly tabloids, have opted to allow readers ‘free’ access to articles, news, and featured content. The price readers now pay is in patience to navigate the cluttered, ugly pages and tolerance to put up with the degradation in quality.
Advertisers pay for newspapers now, and that means writers employed by these newspapers do all they can to maximise the number of people clicking their stories. Not enjoying, or, sometimes, even reading them, but clicking them.
If a news company is free for the reader, it is heavily reliant on making sure large numbers of those readers are exposed to adverts. An embodiment of ‘quantity over quality’. This explains clickbait and the deterioration of popular new media coverage.
And without insinuating any kind of defense of it, there can be at least some understanding of why those institutions became the way they are. There are still expenses but now, without a product to actually sell to its readers, they had to find an alternative way to cover those expenses.
The formula became: make it sensational to reel them in, and make it shallow once they’re there so we have the time to produce as much of this content as possible.
We don’t need to go more into that, but it leads nicely to subscription models and The Tactical Times. Because there is an alternative.
If a football website is worth your time, it probably costs something. In fact, if anything in this life is worth your time, it probably costs something. Not always, but probably.
My costs are subscriptions to expensive scouting programs in order to access statistics and video footage, which is analysed and presented to readers; domain, video and web hosting costs; and the decision to leave ‘real work’ and make football writing my full-time obsession. It’s my choice, but it wouldn’t be possible without money to pay for it all. A mathematical certainty that it would, in fact, ruin me.
The options for me and my website were clickbait or subscriptions, and as I absolutely will not contribute to the growing tumour on the underbelly of news and sports media, the only way to ensure I could actually run the website – a project, really – was a small fee paid every month in exchange for access to my articles.
Here there is no advertising so there is no reason to trick readers into clicking. This way, everything is healthy, wholesome, and far better for everyone’s soul.
So, here we are. There have been hundreds of thousands of words written, illustrated by hundreds of hours of video footage, annotated clips, images, graphs, charts and (probably one too many) heatmaps. And this is just the beginning.
The Tactical Times is, and always will be, independently owned and operated with the anti-clickbait/pro-worthwhile content ideology that I am genuinely guided by. I want this website to always sit on the right side of the ‘why is football so infuriating to talk about these days’ debate.
For £3 per month (a bit less if you opt to stay for the year) you will not only do your bit in supporting a really important ideology about intelligent, grown-up conversation, and the future of sports media (forgive my own delve into sensationalism), but you will also gain access to properly researched, informative, interesting football content that actually does have every football fan’s best interests in mind. As well as their sanity.
Join The Tactical Times if that sounds like your kind of thing:
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