Can you Moneyball Sports Writing?
How a sports journo can actually make money
John Canzano appears on the occasional national platform as radio guest, but he’s not exactly famous. The Pacific Northwest, his seat of power, is a territory in which only 4 percent of Americans live. He has a grounding in college football programs out West, an area that, as Nate Silver has pointed out, has relatively low fan avidity. If Canzano had gone to ESPN in 2021, back when he launched Bald Faced Truth, I doubt they would have had any interest in him and his small-market teams.
And yet Canzano is now, based on my back-of-the-napkin math, easily clearing 350K in annual revenue as he only gains momentum. I wouldn’t be shocked if, within three years, his Bald Faced Truth Substack is a million-dollar concern.
So, if a publication that’s clearly quite profitable couldn’t find a home in the sports media ecosystem, what other market inefficiencies are out there? Is there a way to Moneyball sportswriting itself? What kinds of lessons can we learn about what actually makes money in sports journalism? Well, other than that you should always set up your teaser before the paywall.