With Opening Day around the corner, I wanted to update our readers on the current state of the site and make a few Membership announcements. This time last year, we weren’t sure if FanGraphs was going to last another two months, let alone survive long enough to see the start of the 2021 season. The pandemic fast-tracked what was supposed to be a much slower shift in our business model from advertising to Membership, and because of this, we are more reliant on your support than ever. So first things first: thank you! I can say with complete certainty that we would not be here without you; our readers and members literally make FanGraphs possible.
And your support hasn’t just kept us afloat; it’s helped us build a better FanGraphs. Over the past year, we’ve added a lot of new content and features to the site. We’ve incorporated Statcast stats into our player pages and leaderboards and new game and season stat aggregation capabilities to our player page dashboards. We now have KBO stats on the site, an offering we plan to expand this season. We’ve updated our auction calculator and implemented new RosterResource features. We’ve invested in behind-the-scenes improvements to make site features better and easier to use. Today, we announced a number of new contributor voices at FanGraphs and will do so at RotoGraphs soon. And as an exclusive benefit for our Members, you can now view the site in Dark mode and Classic mode.
Tuesday is the start of what is now a very important month for the site. On March 30, 2020, we asked for your help in weathering the pandemic. As such, a significant portion of our Membership base is up for renewal in the coming weeks. If you’re an existing Member and have stuck with us through the last year, we hope that you will continue to support what we do here at FanGraphs. If you’re not a Member, we hope you’ll become one. It’s the best way to support all of the content and tools you rely on to help you enjoy the baseball season, and ensure we can keep improving the site. Read the rest of this entry »
With our FanGraphs merchandise inventory dwindling, we’re once again taking pre-orders! Pre-orders will be open until May 1, and all orders will start shipping May 21.
FanGraphs hats, hoodies, and the “Dark Gray FanGraphs T-Shirt” are available for pre-order along with two new shirts designed for us by new site contributor Luke Hooper. Read the rest of this entry »
After extensive research and testing, we’ve settled on a new FanGraphs Mug!
Read the rest of this entry »
Now that the 2020 season is officially over, I thought it would be a good time to give a complete update on where things stand business-wise for FanGraphs. If you’ve been following these updates all season long, this probably won’t be much of a surprise.
The good news is that revenue from FanGraphs Memberships is up approximately 118%. This has kept us afloat for the past six months — it’s entirely your doing that we’re still here to give you business updates at all. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The bad news is that advertising revenue over the same period is down 65%. Our traffic has started to return to normal, but we are still seeing a significant decline in advertising rates compared to their pre-pandemic levels.
With that said, if you used FanGraphs this season and aren’t a Member, now is the time to show your support. Maybe you’ve read our articles all season long, or for years; maybe you’ve used our stats pages and tools to help win your fantasy league. Maybe you’ve used RosterResource or listened to one of our podcasts. Maybe you’re a fellow industry member and have referenced FanGraphs in your own writing and analysis. Maybe you work for a team, and FanGraphs is your homepage.
The offseason is when our revenue is typically at its lowest and with the lack of advertising revenue this season to propel us through, every little bit will help us bridge the gap to the 2021 season. Read the rest of this entry »
With just a few weeks of the postseason left, it’s hard to believe that it has been almost eight months since the major league season was postponed. I’m sure that for all of us, these past eight months have felt like a lifetime.
Since March, we’ve been asking for your support and you’ve been there every step of the way. Things looked pretty grim when I published my first update on the state of the site as we grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re still here and that’s entirely thanks to you. We are so grateful to have such supportive readers.
For the last fifteen years, our small staff’s dedication and love of baseball have allowed us to punch above our weight in the baseball media space despite a tight operating budget. But the revenue landscape for FanGraphs has changed considerably, and once the postseason winds down, we’ll have five baseball-less months to bridge until the start of the 2021 season. And so I’m here to ask for your help once again. Even though our traffic has rebounded to within 10% of our normal August and September levels, our revenue has not, due in large part to the continued depression of online advertising rates. This has forced us to become considerably more reliant on Memberships to make up the difference.
With baseball scheduled to return in a couple of weeks, I wanted to give everyone an update on how FanGraphs is doing business-wise. For those of you who are returning to the site for the first time since the season was postponed, a lot has happened since you last visited.
You can read all about what’s been going on here, here, and here, but the quick recap is this: When the season was postponed, our traffic decreased by over 70% and ad rates declined by as much as 45%, causing an 80% decrease in ad revenue, which is far and away our largest source of site revenue.
We asked you for help in sustaining the site and you’ve come through in overwhelming fashion over the past four months, giving us some breathing room to try to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were also able to secure funding through the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was another boon to our short-term viability. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helped keep the site alive. We would not be here today without you.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t still need your support and assistance. We still have a long way to go. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m pleased to announce that FanGraphs now has KBO player stats going back to 2002!
Currently, these stats are available on player pages and include full season stat lines. They will be updated nightly to reflect the previous day’s games.
We’ve integrated a new section into our player search specifically designated for international players. Any player you search for who has played in the KBO will show up in the International section as well as in the Major or Minor League sections if they have MLB-affiliated playing time. Read the rest of this entry »
Hi again. Thank you so much for the support you’ve shown the site over the past few weeks. In the spirit of continued transparency, I wanted to give everyone a fairly in-depth update on how things are going at FanGraphs. A few weeks ago, we had to change our business model from one primarily driven by ads to a one predominantly driven by site memberships because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which postponed the start of the MLB season and caused a drastic decrease in both FanGraphs’ traffic and general advertising rates. We set a Membership goal of 40,000 Members, which in a typical year represents less than 4% of our monthly site visitors.
First, let’s look at the some of the good news, which is that Memberships are going in the right direction. Thank you to everyone who has decided to continue their Membership while baseball is on hiatus, upgraded their existing Membership, or signed up for the first time! Prior to March 30, we had 10,004 active Members; that number has increased to 14,739:
If we include merchandise sales, gift memberships, upgrades to Ad-Free, and donations (at the equivalent of the $30 annual Membership), the progress towards that 40,000-Member goal looks even better. Furthermore, our breakdown of Memberships has shifted slightly towards Ad-Free; about 5% of all Members have moved toward Ad-Free. When we include all these additional contributions, it effectively puts us at 16,244 members:
First, I’d like to say thank you.
Last week, I shared an update on the state of FanGraphs in light of baseball’s COVID-19-related delays and asked for your help in sustaining the site through this pandemic. The response we saw was incredible. We had the most new Membership signups we’ve had since launching the program in 2016, with 4,618 new Members. We’re so grateful for the baseball community and the kindness and resolve it so often shows. Thank you to all of our existing members and to everyone who became a Member, bought merchandise, helped get the word out on social media, or offered words of encouragement.
Many of you have also asked for an update on our progress, and here it is: the support you’ve shown the site gives us some breathing room, but not as much as is needed. Our yearly expenses include employee salaries and benefits, contributor pay, stats contracts, and server costs. And even though we continue to roll out new site features and publish new content, our daily traffic is still down 60-70%, sometimes more, affecting our ad revenue.
As I said last week, we realize that for many, now is not the best time to ask for help. Many are facing uncertainty. We’re uncertain if baseball will return this season. We don’t know what the advertising market will look like if it does. In order to weather that uncertainty, and to hopefully continue to grow in the future, we need 4% of our users to become Members. That translates to roughly 40,000 Members total. We’re 34.9% of the way there with 13,970 Members currently. We don’t need to close that 26,030-member gap overnight, but if we make our goal, it will help to ensure the site’s future. Read the rest of this entry »
This is not how I planned to begin FanGraphs’ 15th year.
I wanted to take a moment to personally inform all of our readers about what’s been going on at FanGraphs these past few weeks, and to share our plans going forward.
Starting March 12, after the announcement that Opening Day would be postponed, we have seen a steep decline in our site traffic that has lead to a correspondingly dramatic decline in revenue. Every piece you read and tool you use at FanGraphs is free to access, but they all take money to create. We are a small business. We rely on the revenue generated by site traffic.
As a result of these declines, I’ve had to make fairly aggressive budget cuts to try to keep FanGraphs viable as a company until the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved and baseball returns. This has involved all of our full-time staff members taking pay cuts, laying off the majority of our contributors, and closing The Hardball Times for the foreseeable future. Now we are asking for your help.
FanGraphs employs 10 full-time staff members who, along with our contributors, produce 200-300 articles each month in addition to our ever-growing inventory of stats, graphs, and tools. Our mission is still to bring you the very best baseball statistics and analysis.
We realize this isn’t necessarily the best time to ask for your help. You have concerns of your own. All of us are anxious in the face of economic uncertainty. We’re all worried about our health, and the health of our loved ones and friends. We’re all worried about what comes next. Quite frankly, our front-line medical workers and emergency personnel, and those who are sick or have lost loved ones, need your assistance most. But if you can spare it, we are asking for your support.
If you read our work, ask our writers questions in chats, listen to our podcasts, browse RosterResource, peruse The Board for prospect rankings, or use our stat pages, please consider a FanGraphs membership. If you work in a baseball front office, and your team all uses one membership login, consider signing up for a few more. Consider an ad-free membership! In addition to helping to ensure there is a FanGraphs when baseball returns, you’ll enjoy the site without banner ads, facilitating faster loading times for just $50 a year.
To all of our existing Members, thank you so much for supporting the site. Being a member is the best way to support FanGraphs.
To all of our readers, we are going to continue asking for your support. We are going to ask pretty frequently. We know there’s no baseball right now, but we’re still writing and building and trying our best to help provide a bit of respite from the pandemic. And when baseball comes back, we want to be here for you.
Once again, thank you for reading and for your support.
Stay safe, and be well.