Editor's Note (which might make more sense after you read the below story): Vox is making us shut down the SB Nation Blueshirt Banter earlier than expected so we're going live here a full 48 hours before we thought. The site might be a little messier than anticipated during that time as we put on the finishing polishes so please bear with us.
The day is finally here!
After a few months of uncertainty we're finally on the other side of things and can address everything in an official manner.
First and foremost, thank you all so much for being here. This has been an extraordinarily terrifying situation in so many ways – the biggest of which being how many of you are going to follow us here. So, again, thank you for being here.
The support of the Go Fund Me, the private messages, and the attempts to get Blueshirt Banter to join other affiliated networks were all flattering beyond words. That said, we've elected to go independent (for now) and fly with our own wings. It will allow us to do things we've wanted to do with the site for a long time, and do so our way. That includes actually using the funds to ensure people are paid appropriately for what they do, which means more content and experiences for you on the site!
There are a few housekeeping things I want you all to know before you make any decisions about whether or not you're going to stick around, so let's get right to it. (Make sure you read the 4th bullet if you're on the fence!)
1) The IP of Blueshirt Banter has officially been transferred over to me. In about a week, this URL will convert and BlueshirtBanter.com will bring you to this page. That domain transfer will take about a week, so for the next week or so continue to use this current URL (blueshirt-banter.ghost.io) until the transfer is official. That said, the old Blueshirt Banter on Vox is dead to never return.
2) On the subject of the transfer: Ghost is currently working to migrate the entirety of the Blueshirt Banter archives over to this site. That is going to take a few days to a week or so, but eventually that will go live and you will find all the stories ever written (minus the photos – but more on that in a moment) in the archives here. We're super happy to have the history of the site follow us – so a huge thank you to the Ghost concierge team for making that happen.
3) The elephant in the room: The pricing. As we've said from the jump, in order to facilitate this new move and continue to pay our writers and all the other fees we're now shouldering, along with the new cool things we want to do, we need to move to a pay-for model. It's not exactly something we wanted to do, but as we reviewed the options on the table it's the only way we can move forward and get better. I also believe that being free from any type of corporate ties will allow us to turn this place into the site we used to be since we're calling the shots now.
It also allows us to keep this place free of annoying ads that ruin the user experience. Quite frankly, that space is too volatile for us to trust for long-term planning anyway, but the benefit of not having pop-ups, full page takeovers, and screaming digital displays in your face that overpower the articles.
In order to limit the scope and make it as easy as possible, here's how things will break down moving forward. For full transparency: All paid subscriptions are far, far cheaper if you buy the annual version. The reason behind this is the third party we use to facilitate payments takes a cut of every transaction, so it costs more money for us to have 12 reoccurring payments for the year compared to one annual transaction. It's also why the 12 payments aren't just 1/12th of the annual cost.
Free: Bantering Points, Game Threads, News and Game Recaps will all continue to be free moving forward. You can come and read these posts every day without a paid subscription to the website. However, you will not be able to do anything beyond reading them.
$30 a year (or $5 a month): This tier will permit commenting on stories that you have access to (so the free stories above only).
Just updating this part in case you found this story first. We have partnered with a third party to fix the commenting issues, and the comments now look like they did at Legacy Blueshirt Banter. This means comments are live (no refresh needed), you can reply on replys, add GIFs, upvote, etc.)
Again, for full transparency: SB Nation/Vox had built-in safeguards in place for spam and malicious content. In addition, there were paid people who solely focused on community moderation beyond the mods we brought in for Blueshirt Banter specifically. Without that backup support, a pay-to-comment system ensures we avoid the mess of spammers, bot accounts, and general trolls to make the commenting experience more user friendly.
$65 a year (or $7 a month): This tier will give full access to the site including all stories and any additional content (like a monthly podcast perhaps!) and will also allow commenting.
With these pricing structures in place, we expect to be able to support ourselves financially and also do other cool things we have in mind once we get an idea of how much revenue we're going to be bringing in. Also, as a note, it's far cheaper to subscribe for the year for your desired tier than it is monthly. That said, choose what works best for you.
4) However, with that new pricing structure – and the money we expect to be able to bring in – we have two huge new additions joining us on the staff! I probably buried the lede a little bit on this one, but so be it. Hockey Stat Miner, and Josh Khalfin will be joining us next month, with a start date of 5/1! HSM will be bringing his unique and, quite frankly with how the Rangers' current money situation looks, critically needed cap perspective to the site right in time for the summer crunch. Josh on the other hand is a prospect/analytics wizard who will tell us all we need to know about the future of the Rangers (and in some instances the NHL). We could not be more excited to have them join us!
5) Our partnerships with Getty Images and USA Today were part of broader agreements with Vox Media. Those agreements do not transfer over with the IP. I have explored getting photo packages with various entities, but the pricing is at a level we simply can't even begin to afford at this time. If things take off, it will be a topic we revisit.
6) All social media assets (Facebook and Twitter mostly) are being transferred over to me with the IP transfer. We've had issues managing these (specifically Facebook) in the past, but Vox has assured us we'll have full access once the transfer goes through. That said, the timeline on that happening is based around Twitter and Meta working through things on their side. I anticipate no real disruption on the Twitter side of things since we still have the login, but the Facebook situation is going to be a little more laborious.
7) As you can probably see, we have a new logo. I hope you guys like it, we commissioned a few logos and this was the one we picked because we truly love it. That said, there are other logos that we also love but didn't pick that we'll be using for merch and other things (again, a potential monthly podcast??).
Welcome home. This is your new Blueshirt Banter and we can't wait to show you what we can do together.