In October 2012, World Soccer Talk published an analysis of the health of the top 100 soccer blogs according to a 2011 list that was created by The Guardian newspaper of the best soccer blogs worth following. At the time of the review of the list in 2012, 37% of the blogs were defunct with more on the edge of extinction. Now, almost two years later, 55% of the top 100 soccer blogs are no longer in business, while another 12 are considered endangered and could be gone shortly, which would increase the total to 67% of the soccer blogs having bit the dust.
My definition of extinct was rather generous, which was no new articles published since March 2014. Considering the World Cup was this summer, and if your blog couldn’t even publish World Cup content it probably was in no way sustainable, this was a kind definition. For the endangered blogs, I considered those that only published 2-3 articles per month since March, which I consider a sign of the blog potentially burning out and soon to die.
All told, 55 of the 100 blogs on the list have failed to publish a new article in the last five months and another 12 have low enough output to be considered endangered. This list, to note, does not include sites that moved their URLs (11 Tegen 11) or changed their name (your very own World Soccer Talk) as they are still viable.
In the past two years we lost some major sites that were on the list. While still active on Twitter, The Swiss Ramble has essentially stopped publishing the long, in-depth analysis it was known for and for educating soccer fans on the financial aspect of the game. The Offside family of blogs was acquired by SB Nation in 2011 and held on as a separate site for a few years before finally being totally assimilated into the larger site in 2013. Others, like Iain Macintosh’s site fell by the wayside as he was hired by ESPN and wrote a popular book.
So why the continued drop in the number of blogs? I think many of the original reasons we posted are still in play, including the larger trend of media consolidation, the use of a blog as a stepping stone to larger jobs, and the fact that it’s really, really hard to maintain a good blog for years especially lacking major funding. But there are two big reasons I want to focus on as driving factors.