Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
I'm finally back from my little "vacation", and getting ready to dig into a massive pile of emails I need to respond to, tips that require follow-ups, newsletters that need edits, and more. But before I go too far down that rabbit hole, I did want to quickly acknowledge a cool milestone.
Extra Points is now two years old
Okay, technically, Extra Points is almost three years old. The very first newsletter I ever published was on April 26, 2019. But for that first year, I only published the newsletter twice a week. Every newsletter was free, original reporting was rare, and the entire enterprise was very much a side project. After all, I had a day job running college team site programming at SB Nation.
But on April 17, 2020, I got furloughed, which was just a fancy HR term for "laid off." I had no chance of securing another media job in Chicago...or even any PR, comms or HR gig (you might recall that nobody was hiring in the spring of 2020. Can't imagine why). That's when I decided to make Extra Points my full-time job. I put up the paywall, promised to write four times a week, and hoped for the best.
Miraculously, it worked out. Extra Points grew enough in that first year that I started to attract investor interest. Late last November, I sold the newsletter to D1.ticker, allowing me to focus on what I love doing (writing, reporting, working with students) and not on everything else that comes with running a small media company (ad sales, tech and customer support, distribution, etc.).
I don't think Extra Points is as good as it could possibly be yet. But for a first-time entrepreneur, I like where we are at the two-year mark. There have been more good days than bad days, and I think the best days are still to come.
How is Extra Points doing?
A few times a year, I used to straight-up publish my financials. Because I'm not the guy completely in charge of this company anymore, I can't really do that (and also, quite honestly, those financials are more complicated than they were when this was just one guy and a PO Box).
But I think I can share some high level data. Right now, Extra Points has a little over 10,000 total subscribers, with over 800 of those as paid subscribers. Our open rates vary between 38-44% for free newsletters, and between 43-55% for paid newsletters.
Going For Two, our podcast, has hit new records for downloads four months in a row, averages north of 1,000 downloads an episode, and has cleared the 10K+ benchmark for monthly downloads two months in a row.
Most importantly, this looks to be a sustainable, growing and healthy business...one that produces content that I can be proud of.
What's next for Extra Points?
For one, I am always trying to make the technical experience better. As of today, commenting has been turned back on for the newsletter, something that we've only had operational sporadically since we moved from Substack. I spent some time over the last few months refreshing the website, and I plan to make other tweaks to make it easier to search through previous newsletters, use our FOIA directory, add a referral program, and look for other bells and whistles to make your time with Extra Points more enjoyable and informative.
We've also begun investing more time, energy and production value into our Instagram, which you can find at ExtraPointsMB.
I've also done some experiments with games and interactives, mostly through quizzes (several with SurveyMonkey, and one with Python). I'd love to keep doing this, and if time permits, slowly introduce more sophisticated games. I've got the ideas, it's just about stealing the time to make it happen.
This Spring and Summer, I'm sure we'll be spending plenty of time hitting the road (with campus visits and the conference circuit), growing my source network, and tweaking things behind the scenes, so we'll be even stronger as we head into the next season of college sports.
Is there something you'd like to see? Let me know!
When I sit down at the computer, I try to produce newsletters and podcasts that will inform, educate, and entertain. This newsletter reaches a difference audience, full of college sports industry professionals, students, academics, reporters, and regular ol' fans, and I try to hit all of those audiences with accurate and interesting information about off-the-field storylines in this industry.
Lately, that's included a lot of coverage on NIL, mid-major realignment, athletic department finances, media rights deals, and more. If there's stuff that you want to see that you're not seeing (or something you're seeing that you wish you weren't), I'd love to hear from you. Story ideas, newsletter feedback, invitations to just chat...drop me a line at Matt@ExtraPointsMB.com. I learn a lot this way.
If you've made it this far, here, enjoy this special birthday gift:
For the next three days, you can use this special code to get an annual Extra Points subscription for $54.75, instead of $75.00. The promocode is BIRTHDAY
That's a 27% discount, the largest one we've ever run for the general public.
I'll also throw in another special discount. Historically, I've set up bulk discounts for colleges. If you're a student, coach, staffer, or anybody with a university email, you can use one of these promocodes to save 50% off your order. This week, if you're a current college student, shoot me an email at Matt@ExtraPointsMB.com, and I'll get you a 50% coupon, no matter what school you attend. No bulk discount code required.
We've had a lot of success working with sports management and sports media classes over the last two years, and we hope to help even more in the coming year.
Thanks for sticking with us and supporting us
It's hard to build out a middle-class life as a "creator" on the internet these days, especially as a creator that wants to write more about ASUN football than Alabama football. I've been able to do it because of the resounding and consistent support of readers like you.
Thanks for making that possible. Thanks for believing in Extra Points, and thanks for helping make it what it's become today.
We've had a good two years! Here's hoping the next two will be even better.
This Extra Points newsletter is brought to you, in part, by Skyway Interactive:
How do you get the top recruits to check out your campus and athletic facilities? Easy, just bring the tour to them!
Skyway Interactive allows teams, athletic departments, and entire universities to produce cutting-edge virtual tours. We send you the 360-degree camera and let you capture the shots on your own schedule. Upload the images and we do the rest.
Check out our work from some of the biggest names in college sports and learn more about our virtual tours at www.SkywayInteractive.com.
This Extra Points newsletter is also brought to you by Tangle:
What's the other side saying? Tangle knows. Tangle is an independent, ad-free, non-partisan politics newsletter that summarizes the leading arguments from the right, left, and center on the news of the day. Sign up for free to get a 360-degree political read.
To sponsor a future Extra Points newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For article ideas, newsletter feedback, FOIA tips, athlete NIL sponsorships and more, I'm at email@example.com, or @MattBrownEP on Twitter, and @ExtraPointsMB on Instagram.