Fox Sports’ Online Traffic Has Cratered Since It Fired Its Writers And Pivoted To Video

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It’s been a bad summer for jobs in the sports world. ESPN went through some very public, very painful cuts to their staff across the board. Vice Sports blew up much of its staff, and there are always the moves a company makes that are not as publicly advertised. It’s a tough business, but the people working on these sites and at these companies are often at the mercy of trends beyond their control.

Fox Sports’ pivoting of its website from written content to video content, for example, is one of the most egregious of these trends. Instead of creating unique sports content, the reported plan for its writers was to ghostwrite words and opinions for the network’s television personalities such as Skip Bayless. Then, they just fired everyone on staff and replaced words with videos altogether.

That pivot to video, however, seems to have had a big impact on the site’s traffic. Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch reported on Sunday that has seen a huge drop in its pageviews and traffic since its web layoffs were announced in late June.

That’s a huge drop, especially when you consider how big NFL and college football is to Fox Sports. They broadcast live games for both, and surely you’d expect numbers online to rise when popular sports are back in season and there’s lots to talk about.

But pivoting to video isn’t as simple as some people think, though. The ad market for words on a screen has a pretty well-known cost at this point, but with video it’s far from studied and weighed properly. There are fluctuations and corrections that are inevitable here. But there are advantages to the written word as well. And right now, it seems like a lack of written content is cratering the site’s numbers.