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An Open Letter to Uni Watch Readers

People, we need to talk. I apologize in advance for how long it’s going to take, but I have a lot of stuff to discuss with you about the future of Uni Watch.

Let’s start with this: Twenty-some years ago, some idiot got the idea that newspapers and magazines should give away their content for free on the internet. Ever since then, the journalism industry — the industry where I’ve made a career — has been in decline, and lately it’s been in free fall. Almost every week now brings news of layoffs at newspapers, magazines, and websites, along with grim revenue reports. Thanks to that idiot who decided that content should be given away, the old business models that supported journalism for many generations no longer work. That’s not just bad for those of us who work in journalism — it’s bad for everyone, because a vibrant journalism sector is essential for a free and open society.

For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been contributing to that state of affairs. This website has been supported by ad revenue, which allows me to give away the content for free. That’s a nice deal for you folks, but it contributes to the devaluing of journalism (and of creative work in general). It sends the message that journalism is something you can have for free. With each round of layoffs in the industry — layoffs that have affected more of my friends and colleagues than I’d care to think about — I’ve felt increasingly guilty and conflicted, knowing that I’m essentially part of the problem.

In a related item, most of you know by now that I’m not a big fan of corporate advertising — but this website features a lot of corporate advertising. This has led some folks to accuse me of being a hypocrite. Those arguments are easy enough to refute, but I’m still uneasy about adding to the amount of corporate ad pollution out there, plus all the ads have made the site look too jumbled and chaotic.

Meanwhile, over the past couple of years, the economics of web advertising have been catching up with us here at Uni Watch. For those who don’t understand how web advertising works, here’s a very quick primer: Most of the ads on our site are delivered by ad networks that we subscribe to. Companies arrange with those networks to bid for spots on websites (the bidding takes place via software), and the resulting revenue is dictated by the bid levels and the site’s traffic. In recent years, companies have been bidding less and less for ads on traditional websites like ours and bidding more for ads on Google and Facebook, which they’ve found to be more effective. Meanwhile, lots of readers are now using ad-blockers. So even though our traffic has remained strong and we have plenty of ad units on the site, our revenue has steadily declined. If we had a real staff that was paid a real wage, we’d be having layoffs just like everyone else.

As our revenue has declined in recent years, I’ve tried to compensate for it with things like the T-Shirt Club and other merch projects. (I ruled out higher-revenue advertising options like video ads, banner ads in the middle of our text, pop-ups, and sponsored content, because I hate the idea of having any of those things on Uni Watch.) Lately, though, as the Google/Facebook factor has kicked in, our revenue decline has been too steep for me to keep up with it. The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.

The site has never been super-lucrative, even at its financial peak, but that’s always been okay, because ESPN pays me well. Still, while I don’t need the site to be a huge money maker, I do need it to generate enough income to justify the considerable amount of time I spend on it. Most people close to me tell me that I work too hard, and a lot of that work is devoted this site, usually quite literally from the moment I wake up each morning and often well after midnight before I go to bed. Obviously, nobody’s forcing me to do it, and for the most part I enjoy it, but the diminishing economics have reached the point where I have to ask myself if it makes sense to keep doing things this way. Also, I’d like to be able pay Phil, Brinke, Alex, Kris, Jamie, and Anthony more than the embarrassingly small amounts I currently (under)pay them.

All of which leads me to this: I’ve decided that Uni Watch will soon be changing to a paid content model.

Switching to paid content will address all of the concerns I’ve just spelled out. The site will no longer be complicit in the free-content giveaway that’s ruining the journalism industry; it will no longer contribute to the spread of corporate advertising; it will no longer be dependent on a broken web-advertising model; it will look much better, without all the ad-based clutter; and — I hope — it will start producing enough revenue to justify all the work that the Uni Watch team puts into it.

I’m sure you have many questions. Allow me to anticipate some of them:

When will you start charging for content?

I’m not sure yet. Webmaster John Ekdahl, who created this site with me almost 12 years ago, was already working on a site overhaul when we made this decision about switching to a paid model. We’re hoping the new version of the site will be ready to go by the end of April. That’s a goal, not a hard deadline. We’ll see how realistic it ends up being.

When you say “paid content,” do you mean a straightforward paywall?

Again, I’m not sure. We have a lot of options here. We could do a strict paywall, like The Wall Street Journal. Or we could do a “X number of articles for free, and then after that you have to pay” system, like The New York Times. Or we could make the daily lede freely accessible but put the Ticker and other stuff behind a paywall. Or we could have different subscription levels, with the higher levels unlocking access to a newsletter. Or any of several other options. (If you have suggestions, I’m all ears.)

One way or another, though, you’re going to have to pay for Uni Watch. That’s the reality.

How much will you charge?

Figure somewhere between $5 and $10 per month, with a discount for a full-year subscription.

Will ads disappear from the site?

I will continue to accept a few ads from independent operations that I like and respect, like the Pillbox Bat Co., Tokens & Icons, and so on. I will also continue to run house ads for our own product (Naming Wrongs, mini-helmets, etc.). But the vast majority of ads on the site, which come from those ad networks I mentioned before, will disappear.

Will the site be the same as before, only not for free?

As I mentioned, we’re working on a site overhaul. It will include a new feature that we’ve had waiting in the wings — a comprehensive NBA uniform database, which I’m very excited about. I’m hoping that will help soften the blow a bit.

What about including a podcast?

For a variety of reasons, I’m not in a position to do that at the moment. Down the road? We’ll see.

I love Uni Watch, but I can’t afford to pay for it.

I’m aware that some of our readers are students, or un- or underemployed, or low-income, and I feel very bad about moving to a system that they may present a hardship for them. Frankly, that’s the main reason I’ve held the line against paid content until now. But our current system just doesn’t work anymore. You might not be able to afford paying for Uni Watch, but I can’t afford to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them. I’m sorry.

I can afford to pay for Uni Watch, but I don’t want to pay for it, and I’m not gonna do it.

That’s totally up to you. I can’t tell you how to spend your money. I can only make the best case for why I think Uni Watch is a good value, namely that we provide the best and most authoritative information on uniforms that you can find anywhere on the web, along with a great community of readers and contributors. I realize that won’t be enough to retain all of our current readers, but I’m hoping it will be enough for us to keep moving forward with the site.

On the plus side, I figure this move will weed out most of the trolls.

There are ways to get around a paywall, you know.

Yeah, I know. But I’m betting that the number of cheaters will be small, and that the number of honest people will be large.

Why should I pay for Uni Watch? I can just follow you on Twitter and get most of the same information!

Actually, that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, because some readers have complained that a lot of stuff in the Ticker has already shown up the day before in my Twitter feed. So I’ve reduced my tweeting frequency, and I’ll probably reduce it more when we switch to the paid model. This will not only cut down on the duplication of content but will also let me spend less time on Twitter, which seems like a win-win.

I’m totally willing to pay, but my wife will flip out if she sees a charge to Uni Watch on our credit card statement.

Time to get a new wife. The payments will go to an LLC that we’re setting up. Not sure yet what it’ll be called, but it won’t be “Uni Watch.” Of course, your wife may still end up saying, “What’s this charge to [whatever the LLC ends up being called]?,” but maybe it’ll slip by without her noticing.

What if you don’t get enough paying readers to make it worth your while?

If people don’t want to pay, I might have to shut down the daily blog and restrict my uniform writing to ESPN. Then I’ll suddenly have a lot more free time, which I could then devote to other projects (or idle leisure, hmmm, there’s a thought). But I don’t expect that to happen. I think enough of you will be willing to pay for what you read here.

If I pay for the site’s content, will you throw in a membership card?

I’m not sure what all of this will mean for the membership program, but I do know that we’re likely to end up with far too many paying readers to create membership cards for all of them (the process is fairly labor-intensive). I still have to figure out the best approach for this.

Why not just do a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign? That way, the people who can afford to pay will do so, and the people who can’t afford it will still be able to read the site.

The reality is that crowdfunding and other fundraising campaigns tend to have fairly low response rates. That means lots of people who can afford to pay still choose not to pay. I mean, think about it: Do you chip in every time your local public radio station does a pledge drive? So even if we set and met a funding goal, there would be a lot of free riders, which means I’d still be perpetuating the mindset that journalism is something people can have for free — which, as I already explained, is a big problem that I’d rather not be part of. I prefer a system where you get what you pay for, which is a simple and sensible rule that most of us were taught when we were kids.

There are way more worthy charities for me to support than Uni Watch.

Oh, for sure. Uni Watch is not a charity, and I’m not pleading poverty or asking for a handout. If it comes down to paying for Uni Watch or donating to Doctors Without Borders, you should probably do the latter. But hey, maybe you can do both.

This is never gonna work. Everyone’s trained by now to read the web for free, and you can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube.

Maybe. But there are actually quite a few examples out there of successful subscription-based websites. Most of them offer either superior, world-class journalism or niche-driven coverage that can’t be found anywhere else. I’d like to think Uni Watch falls into that second category.

Many of you have told me over the years that Uni Watch has become a staple of your daily routine (which is very flattering — thank you!). If that’s the case, I hope you’ll consider supporting Uni Watch now that our old funding model is breaking down. And while I don’t want to go all NPR on you, it’s worth pointing out that the monthly subscription fee we’re talking about is about what you’d spend on two cups of coffee. Surely Uni Watch is worth that much to you, no?

I’m willing to pay a few bucks, but $5-$10 a month is too much. That’s what I pay for things like or Sirius XM Radio, and you don’t provide nearly as much content as they do.

Those bigger operations have advantages regarding economies of scale that we can’t leverage. If you want to say that Uni Watch will not be as good a value as those other things, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But that’s the reality of small, independent ventures — they tend to cost more to produce.

This is just a cash grab!

If you’re determined to think that, I can’t stop you from thinking it. But I can point out that we’ve been providing free content almost every single day for nearly a dozen years now. Asking the readership to start paying a modest and fair price for that content seems reasonable to me. If you still think that qualifies as a “cash grab,” we’ll have to agree to disagree.

So what happens next?

For the next couple of months, nothing — the site will be the same as it’s always been. But like I said, we’re aiming for the changes to go into effect by the end of April.

That’s it for now. Thanks for listening. If you have feedback, suggestions, questions, or even rants, I’m eager to hear them.


• • • • •

Click photos to enlarge

Non-uniform uniforms: You might think that the photos shown above are from an All-Star game. But they’re not — those players all play for Grambling State, which wore an assortment of Negro League throwbacks for last night’s game against LSU.

Have there ever been other regular season games, in any sport, with the players wearing non-matching uniforms? There probably have been, for some sort of wacky promotion, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Anyone..? In any case, It’s a really interesting approach — I like.

Here are some more photos showing the range of designs:

(My thanks to @valleyshook and our own Alex Hider for letting me know about this one.)

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider (except ’Skins Watch, by Paul)

’Skins Watch: You can hear bigshot graphic designers Michael Beirut (who did some branding work for the Jets about a decade ago) and Jessica Helfand discussing the impending retirement of Chief Wahoo — and giving a nice shout-out to Uni Watch along the way — in this design podcast. That link should take you right to the proper spot; if it doesn’t skip ahead to the 13:30 mark (from Laura Forde). … Here’s what the D-League’s Agua Caliente Clippers wore for Native American Cultural Night on Monday. The pattern is a traditional tribal basketweave design.

Baseball News: Looks like new Red Sox signee J.D. Martinez will be going FNOB this season — even though he’s the only Martinez on the roster (from Ben and @aboutamoo). … A classic sign of spring: The Rockies, who train in Arizona, have changed their Twitter avatar to a logo with a desert motif (from Ryan Hess). … The Twins wore their regular season home whites during a spring training game last night (from Osterbuer Sellers). … Buried in this piece about Braves prospect Ronald Acuna: “The Braves want Acuna to wear his hat straight and maintain a professional appearance while in uniform” (from Mike Chamernik). … Giants OF Gregor Blanco was wearing a sock as a sleeve during yesterday’s game (from Josh Miller). … Padres OF and former Cub Matt Szczur made this painting as a gift to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Szczur played for the Cubs during the 2016 championship season, though he was not on the World Series roster (from Mike Chamernik). … New Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani will continue using an Asics bat in the majors (from Ted Schwerzler). … Good stuff in this video: The 1971 Pirates discuss their then revolutionary sansabelt uniforms (from Brad Eenhuis). … The Buffalo Bisons will wear Star Wars jerseys on June 2 (from Joseph Pitirri). … Lots of notes about the the Altoona Curve: The team unveiled a new alternate uniform (from Shane), announced they’ll wear camo/stars and stripes jerseys during Wednesday home games this season, and announced they’ll be wearing  medical scrubs jerseys on May 16 (from Darian Somers). … In 1915, the White Sox took the Western Pacific railroad on one leg of their journey to spring training camp in Paso Robles, Cal. Here’s a menu of food that was available to them on the train (from Sara Schieve). … If you like bullpen carts, you’ll want this bullpen buggy T-shirt (from Dave Sikula).

Football NewsSix NFL players tried their hand at working retail at the NBA merchandise store in New York yesterday (from Tom Turner). … Papa John’s is no longer the official pizza of the NFL after the company dipped its toe into the anthem protest controversy last season (from Brinke). … Here are the best logos in the Arena Football League, as conducted by an online poll (from Real Rovitz). … When you have too many letters for a vanity license plate, you have to get creative — like this LSU fan (from Benji King).

Hockey NewsDespite now having two Nashes on the team, the Bruins are sticking with basic “Nash” NOBs (from Funhouse). … Vladislav Namestnikov, who wore No. 90 with the Lightning, was traded on Monday to the Rangers. Namestnikov will continue to wear No. 90, even though that number was already being used by backup G Alexandar Georgiev, who will now wear No. 31 (from Alan Kreit). … Speaking of No. 90, that’s what former Red Wing Tomas Tatar will wear with the Golden Knights (from Mike Chamernik). … The Preds’ sweaters usually feature a sublimated, twill NOB. But their newest acquisition, Ryan Hartman, had a sewn-on NOB for his first game with the team last night — probably because the team was on the road and had only a day to prepare a jersey for him (from Casey).

NBA NewsCross-listed from the football section: Six NFL players tried their hand at working retail at the NBA merchandise store in New York yesterday (from Tom Turner). … Here’s an old shot of a Jazz player wearing what appears to be a knee pad on his elbow (From Zach). … The Cavs wore navy leggings last night for the first time this season. … Yesterday’s Ticker had an item about a victim from the Florida shooting massacre being buried in a Dwyane Wade jersey. Last night Wade wrote the kid’s name on his sneakers. More info here (from @MaxMetalFriar).

College Hoops NewsA bunch of SEC teams got all jumbled up in an ESPN graphic last night (from Corbin Ceeds). … Miami went BFBS last night against North Carolina (from James Gilbert).

Soccer NewsNew home kits for Grêmio, a team in Brazil’s Série A (from Ed Zelaski). … The Puma away kits that will be worn during the 2018 World Cup have reportedly leaked (from Rasheed Clarke). … From 1982-91, Barcelona used the same basic style for change (away) jerseys, first yellow and then alternating between blue and red depending on the opposition. … The Philadelphia Union’s front office personnel will now be outfitted on game days by Levi’s

Grab Bag: Yesterday, Nike defeated an appeal of a claim that the company stole the idea behind Jordan logo from a photographer (from Brinke). … Indie rock band O.A.R. had a few laughs during the Olympics about the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” moniker. Now, they’re selling a T-shirt declaring themselves “Original Artists from Rockville (Md.)” (from Robert Hayes). … Clint Boyer’s NASCAR and fire suit will have a Colorado State paint scheme this weekend in Las Vegas (from Blake Pass). … A school board in Delaware has rejected the proposed design for the high school’s new band uniforms because they felt the design was too BFBS (from Ben Penserga). … A turnbuckle at a recent WWE event had an upside-down logo. … New shiny gold helmets for Williams College lacrosse (from Paul Friedmann).

• • • • •

Emancipation Day: Twenty-two years ago today (well, it was actually Feb. 29, but that date doesn’t exist this year), I walked out of my office at Billboard Books for the final time and began life as a full-time freelance writer. I’d been freelancing on the side for a little over two years and decided it was time to take the plunge. Giving up a secure job was a bit scary, but I had to at least give it a try, because I wasn’t happy with my life or career up to that point and knew I needed to make changes or else I wouldn’t be able to keep facing myself in the mirror each morning.

I haven’t had a regular job since then. (Also haven’t had employer-provided health insurance or most other job-related perks, but of course I knew what I was getting into in that regard.) As I like to remind people each year on this date — and also remind myself — the moral of the story is this: If you want to change your life or reinvent yourself, don’t just sit around fantasizing about it. Make it happen. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering about what might have been.

When I’ve run this item in past years, some of you have gotten in touch with me and said something like, “That’s really inspiring. I’d like to reinvent myself too, but where do I start?” The biggest thing, I’d say, is to have a sense of direction. It’s one thing to know that you want to make changes to your life; it’s another to know what you want those changes to be. In my case, I had come to realize that I needed to be a writer. I wasn’t sure I could be successful at it, but I at least needed to try. Twenty-two years later, as today’s lede has made clear, I’m still trying.

Of course, maybe you already like your life just fine the way it is, in which case more power to ya. Either way, thanks for listening.

Comments (444)

    A real shame you’re making us pay… and even worse that you’re reducing Twitter posts to FORCE us to pay. I won’t support this, and will stop bringing traffic to your site immediately. Perhaps it’s time for this to close down if it isn’t sustainable as it currently is. #GoodbyeUniWatch

    The degree of your response suggests that you rely on UniWatch more than anyone. Maybe you should be the first one to pay.

    I’m not saying a paywall is the right or wrong move for Paul, but how about thanking him for years of free content and wishing him the best as he tries to figure out a sustainable new model, or even better, offering a constructive idea?

    Yeah I agree Scott WW (Perhaps it’s the name LOL).

    It may be frustrating for some, but being rude isn’t the right course of action. I don’t agree with Paul on everything but he’s a great guy who’s also been very straightforward and has never snowed us loyal fans on anything. Some have disposable income, some don’t.

    I’m sure it was very difficult for Paul to write that letter today but he did it because he had no choice, and perhaps you should be a little more compassionate and say thanks instead of thinking about yourself first.

    Thank you as always for your thoughtful way of communicating. I’m happy to pay #ThankYouUniWatch #ThankYouPaul

    This may be random, but is this the scott from place2be? If so love your podcast (tho it’s been like a year or so since I’ve listened to podcasts in general) if not then oops lol.

    It wouldn’t make much sense to offer the same content on Twitter for free, would it? Cut them some slack. It’s obviously not good news for readers, but I can appreciate the difficulty of the decision. I plan on assessing the viability of my paying once we have more information.

    Speaking of uni numbers, Michael Grabner was wearing #40 on the Devils, a number which was previously taken by Blake Coleman. Any idea what number Coleman changed to?

    A goofy idea for you Paul: People who send in a link to the Daily Ticker get a credit for 1 free month/week/you pick the appropriate reward of access.

    Absolutely understandable that you’d move to a pay model. I too know the annoyance/struggle of pouring tons of time into a labor of love and getting paid dirt (or sometimes nothing) for it. If the pricing is on the low end ($5ish) that’s right in my ballpark and I’d be happy to support. The overall issue of free vs paid content on the internet is almost surely a genie-out-of-the-bottle type situation, but I wish you the best of luck moving forward.

    “Tomas Tartar” Tatar
    “Original Rockers from Rockville (Md.)” Artists, not Rockers

    This seems reasonable to me. Uni Watch is such a distinct entity, with an important voice that often extends beyond just sports.

    I’d just say that $5-10 a month seems a little high, in comparison with other paid content. The Athletic, which has considerably more content by big name sports journalists, is charging $5-8 a month. The New York Times is $8-13 a month. Based on their suggestion, I give $120 a year to public radio, and that covers local, national, and international news (though maybe I should be giving more). I wouldn’t say Uni Watch isn’t worth it, but if we’re going to get used to the paid model, I think pricing needs to be such that we’re willing and able to pay for many content sources.

    Have you thought about joining with another paid service, perhaps like The Athletic? I imagine that might run you afoul of ESPN, but it might provide the customer more value.

    1) I can’t partner with anyone else like the Athletic, because of my ESPN connection.

    2) Places like the Atlantic or NYT have advantages based on economies of scale that we don’t have here at Uni Watch. In terms of quantity of content for the money, I realize those other sites are a better value. But they also maintain lots of web advertising, keep in mind, which we will largely stop doing.

    I pay 10 dollars a month for Netflix and 12 for Sirius. I look forward to reading your site everyday but your content is nowhere near theirs. 10 dollars a month for 5 minutes a day is not worth it. I’m sorry the economics don’t work for you. It was a fun run Goodbye Uni-watch.

    10 dollars a month works out to about 33 cents per day. 33 cents for 5 minutes works out to about $4 per hour. That’s less than minimum wage.

    thats a weird way of looking at it, but $4/hr is in the ball park of leisure costs. a $10 two hour movie is $5/hr is a baseline I often use.

    Understandable but please find another way. I look forward to reading Uni-Watch everyday, but I won’t pay for it. Sorry. This turn of events is disappointing.

    Good luck with the paywall, for ten years plus I’ve been an avid reader and fan. I support your sponsors and merchandise when it tickles my fancy. Though I love your ticker, I wouldn’t pay to read since most of your contents is sourced from other outlets that a readily available. If you’re losing sponsors perhaps it’s because of your constant editorialization on logos you deem racist or inappropriate and the small demographic you are trying to appeal. Though the merits of your opinions may be true and justified , we come to the site to be entertained not lectured. Same reason ESPN has been in decline for years.

    Paul Lukas
    February 28, 2018
    As I have already explained, we are not “losing sponsors.” Rather, the economics of web advertising have changed.

    From above:

    “The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.”

    Fair enough. But like I said, that was the last straw, not the larger issue, which is the changing economics of web advertising due to Facebook/Google.

    ESPN is in decline because their content is mostly shit. At least as far as the TV programming. I can’t speak to the website because I don’t have time for it.

    Geez. Well, Paul was right about one thing…a paywall will probably get rid of the trolls. Today’s comments demonstrate there are quite few more of you out there than I could have imagined there were. Good riddance, and might I suggest getting a life, or a hobby, or a girlfriend…or all three.

    Whether you agree with this decision or not, the explanation as to why it has become necessary is well-spelled-out and explained. The way I see it, there’s no way this site would have stayed free as long as it has if this were simply a money grab, because these types of changes have been underfoot for a while. This, I suspect, was close to a last resort, and I appreciate Paul holding out as long as it was feasible to do so.

    I will wait to see what the final verdict is in terms of cost/format/etc. before I make a final decision, but this has been the first site I pull up each morning for the last 10 years or so, and I’m thankful for it either way. I hope to remain on-board.

    Obviously the final plan seems to be still somewhat fluid, but whenever the site overhaul goes live (and you may very well be planning this anyway), I’d suggest keeping everything free for the first ten days or so. Let everyone get a good look at the new version and make a better decision as to what they’re getting, and if they want to pay for it.

    This change makes good sense and you have certainly thought it through thoroughly. Thank you for not just shocking us with the sudden change.

    I personally can’t justify a monthly subscription. I’m in a “blink and two years go by” point in my life, and I shudder at all the little $5 and $10 monthly subscriptions I have that bleed out my bank accounts as the grass grows. Death by a thousand paper cuts as it were. I need to get rid of some of these and certainly not add more.

    With that said, I’m glad you mentioned the yearly lump sum option. If that’s a good deal, I’ll pony up. I’m a daily reader and can’t imagine life without Uni-Watch.

    I feel exactly the same way, AlMaFi. I have been a religious Uni Watch reader for 7 or 8 years now, and while I love the site, I’m just not at a place where I can make a recurring payment for something like that (goodbye,, whose subscription finally ends today). If the lump-sum yearly subscription works out to be cheaper than about $5/month and still allows me to use my RSS feed reader (feedly), then I am all in.

    I understand the economics and this move, but I will not be able to make the switch-over. I hope that there are enough people who will be able to and that Uni Watch will live on. Until that point, I’m looking forward to savoring the last few months of this content.

    Thanks for all your hard work, Paul, Phil, and everyone else!

    So true. Everywhere you turn on the internet, apps, whatever, it’s all $10-15/month.

    With most people struggling to make rent, and stay current on bills, having all these “micro-subscriptions” can make life tough, my issue is they all seem to land on different days, unlike most normal bills. Which makes it hard to keep track sometimes.

    Sure $10/month isn’t expensive. But when there’s a ton of other services all vying for that $10/month…. it gets pretty expensive.

    Getting nickel and dimed…

    A number of podcasts use to bring in paid subscribers. They generally offer some type of bonus material to subscribers.


    No one likes to pay more money for anything. If I was new to UniWatch, I would probably decline. However, as someone who has been a religious reader for over 10 years, I will gladly pay a small amount for the past enjoyment and insights you have given me.

    This is my thinking as well. I’ve been reading this site since it launched in 2006, and that’s all been no charge. There has been outstanding content and little asked in return. A subscription seems worthwhile to me, especially given the changes ahead. Onward, Paul!

    Good timing to juxtapose the big announcement with the anniversary.

    I’ve paid for specialized content at dozens of other sites over the years and, unless something really odd happens, will pay for the new Uni-Watch from its first day.

    That being said, right now I only pay for two sites. The most common reason for dropping a paysite is when political content overruns the stuff I signed up for.

    “I’m totally willing to pay, but my wife will flip out if she sees a charge to Uni Watch on our credit card statement.”

    Paypal transfers don’t show upon my credit card bill. :-)

    I’d be okay with $5 or less a month. It would be commensurate with the daily interaction I have with the site. It’s along the lines of the subscriptions to newspapers I maintain. Those are justified by the reporting they support, even if I do not read all of the content.

    Good luck with this, Paul. It sounds like you’re steeling yourself for the blowback, but there will be supporters.

    To add – The limited number of free content posts a month has been effective on me. To wit: I ended up subscribing to the WaPo because I regularly hit the free content limit each month. That model allowed me to understand what it was I would be supporting with an online subscription. So I ponied up and feel good about it.

    Without the limited number of full articles, I never would have subscribed.

    WaPo’s recently cracked down on the paywall (I don’t believe it’s the limited free content model anymore, I could be wrong) and it definitely has shown me how often I was reading WaPo by how often I now hit the wall.

    Their investigative reporting, especially that of David Fahrenthold, is what I wanted to support. I would do the same for the NYT, but instead subscribed to local papers doing similar work in my area.

    Jumbled SEC teams in ESPN graphic: Yes, it happens, but I’m still amazed at how often it happens.

    When I saw the Arena Football League link, I wondered if it was going to be a ranking of all logos from the original inception, or the four or five logos in the current edition. But this article is actually for the INDOOR Football League.

    For 8 or so years this site has been the first thing that I read every morning. You will continue to have my support Paul.

    If I could just say that I came to know this site in high school and it continued to entrance me through college, but I would never have been able to justify paying for it while a student. I hope that you consider discounting subscriptions to “.edu” email addresses.


    I would highly suggest checking out Patreon as an option. Many content creators use it with great success. I would certainly toss a few bucks your way on Patreon and it would give people an opportunity to contribute without enforcing a paywall.

    I am familiar with the Patreon model, but I have major misgivings about it. It basically allows some of the readers to subsidize all the others — which means most people will continue to think of journalism as something they can get for free, which is very problematic for me.

    you’ll still be getting the ad revenue from the sponsors that you plan on keeping though.. so you’ll still be getting something from the people that choose not to be a patreon subscriber and somewhat double dipping on the people that did go through with it.

    I was interrogating your statement, “most people will continue to think of journalism as something they can get for free – which is very problematic for me.”

    Whether it’s problematic for alt-weeklies themselves is not an easily answered question. Village Voice went to free distribution in 1996, and ceased print publication in 2017. But many other free alt-weeklies are thriving, whereas the last years of VV’s management and ownership have more in common with the path of many larger metro dailies than with most other alt-weeklies. Most of the supposedly sinking dailies are profitable but lack revenue growth sufficient to satisfy equity investors. Which suggests that corporate ownership is the wrong model for much of journalism. Partnerships or closely-held corporations can hold non-growing profit centers, whereas joint-stock corporations would generally prefer a loss-generating revenue growth center to a stable profit center. Which is insane, but that’s the way of the world, so it’s foolish to expect anything other than disaster when a publicly traded corporation tries to run a newspaper.

    When I started writing for NYPress in the 1990s, the Voice cost $1.25. At NYPress, we were free, and we slowly put the squeeze on the Voice’s ad base and readership until we basically forced the Voice to go free as well. Now NYP no longer exists and the Voice is on life support. Looking back, I’m disappointed in NYP’s role in that.

    I usually check out the ticker and from time to time articles interest me. I have been a reader for 10 years or so, but won’t be subscribing. I get tired of the soapbox grandstanding on things such as the Redskins and Indians. I come here for subjects tangent to sports- not politics and lectures on what I should think because I’m wrong. I do wish you well, however. On the issue of not wanting to give up part of your livelihood for free, (or subsidized by others because it perpetuates the thinking that journalism should be free) I would welcome you to the Republican Party. We happen to believe that same thing about healthcare as well as every other industry. Good for you and good luck.

    Except some of us think healthcare is an essential public service and a human right, not just another consumer product to be left to the whims of the marketplace.

    I freely acknowledge that Uni Watch does not fit that description.

    So based on this comment – this isn’t as much about the cost of doing business as it is a crusade against the new expectations of journalism? I don’t blame you either way, but I’m afraid you won’t fare well with this.

    I would not call it a “crusade,” but did you actually read the open letter? It’s about contemporary journalism *and* the cost of doing business. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

    I mean, really, just go back and read what I wrote.

    So you’re entitled to part of a doctor’s life, but we aren’t entitled to part of a journalist’s life? Don’t I have a right to be entertained and informed by journalists?

    I’ve been a Uni-Watch reader for over 10 years. I bought a membership and some frankly over-priced t-shirts that have already had the printing peel off after 3 washes. I don’t know that the 5 min a day I spend here can justify $10/month. Maybe if there was a membership discount on that too.

    I understand where you’re coming from. You provide premium content that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. You have bills just like everyone else. I haven’t decided whether or not to subscribe. I guess I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.

    Paul – I totally support the decision. I respect the time and effort you guys put into this. Not a bad thing to charge if it leads to an evolution of the site becoming better. I will always be all in. Keep us posted on plans.

    I am 100% behind whatever you need to do. I’ve always appreciated the efforts you’ve made in terms of best delivery of content, and especially appreciated the minimization of auto-play ads (those things should be included on some kind of Geneva Convention of the Internet as an annoyance of the highest kind).

    While change is always difficult, I look forward to supporting the site going forward. The one upside of paying for a quality service like this is the feeling of pride (or almost even some level of ownership) for the content being generated and understanding on some level that you, the individual, helped this get made. Looking forward to additional information as it comes out.

    I’m with you on the reddit subforum! Great idea.

    Paul, best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

    I read every day, I wouldn’t mind paying the 5 dollars but it would definitely cool having a membership card for having a subscription

    I’d be into that. Now to figure out what the back of my card will look like. I’ll have to wait until purple amnesty day I’m afraid.

    I can’t afford to pay, and I’m not sure if I would if I had the money to. I understand your reasoning, so I’m trying not to be angry specifically at you. But I am angry, in a general sense. And saying you will reduce twitter posts, while I can see your reasoning for it, comes off entirely the wrong way.

    I’ve been reading this site for over 10 years for FREE. I have no problem with the upcoming changes. Do what is necessary to keep Uni-Watch #1.

    I’m sorry Paul, I have been an fairly regular reader for 10 years or so, but this content was always a bonus to me.

    I fully support the thought you need to simply make ends meet. I’ve been feeling like the end was coming, and that you would move on to other areas.

    I wont be able to pay. I can’t thank you enough for the content. It’s been a pleasure to read.

    “But at the laste, as every thing hath ende,

    She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende.”

    This is a good change. It’s been proven that people will pay for good content. I’m happy to support the site going forward.

    If it keeps the price more in the $5 range, I’d be all for a blend of subscription and display advertising.

    Uni Watch does have its share of ads, but I find them to be well/strategically placed (i.e. not appearing after every third paragraph like Peter King’s horribly designed MMQB site) and not interfering with the flow of content. Similarly, there are no auto-playing video ads anywhere to be found, for which we all thank you. I could live with a continuation of these ads if it kept my subscription price down.

    I subscribe to a few sites ranging from $4 to $12 per month. And while I’m a religious reader of Uni Watch and have visited the site daily for years, I can say I get more out of all my other subscriptions than I would out of a Uni Watch subscription. The Washington Post is $4/month and I get 10+ pieces of content per day out of it. The same is true for my higher-end subscriptions.

    I don’t doubt the amount of work that Paul and team put into the site. But, at the end of the day, I read the daily post (about 5-7 minutes of time) and that’s it. You can argue that “hey, isn’t a couple hours of content worth $10 per month?” and I’d agree that it’s a fair point to make. But when you compare it to the higher volume of content I get for less money from a lot of other places, it doesn’t seem like a good deal. Whether or not other folks clear that same mental hurdle will play out over time.

    I fully agree that other types of sites may offer a better value. That’s the reality of a small, niche operation — no economies of scale.

    It’s like a small craft beer costing more than Budweiser.

    I’m happy to pay more for a craft beer because I prefer the taste of it to a Budweiser. (I’ve noticed in some of your Culinary Corner pics that you appear to be a Bud guy. So you may not share this stance.) I’ll pay $2 more for a six-pack of a craft beer because — at the end of the experience — I feel like I’ve gotten more out of it.

    With Uni Watch (and, again, I love the site and the content; please don’t overlook that), I wouldn’t feel like I’m getting more for the higher price point. I’m getting something good and something different, sure. But I look at my online subscriptions in terms of content consumed. I am happy to pay. But if I’m going to pay more, I feel like I should be getting more out of the site. And, to me, I measure that in volume of content consumed. (I may the only person who measures this way, but I don’t think that I am.)

    In looking at other sites I pay for, I made the determination that Uni Watch would fall into the $3-5/month spend range. (This is totally arbitrary, of course.) In reading that you were likely looking to (a) make it $5-10 and (b) remove most/all of ads in the process, my thought became, “Well, would keeping some of the ads keep the subscription price down?” So I tossed that idea out.

    This may not work, but I wanted to suggest it. I know other sites that go to subscription models kill their ads to give some sort of “premium” experience. But many of those sites have ads embedded in the content and (ultra-annoying) video ads. I never found Uni Watch’s ads to detract from the experience, so I would be fine if they stuck around and helped to keep the subscription price down.

    For me it’s a little different… I do enjoy the site, but for a different reason. I love sharing things I’ve painted, electric football figures I’ve created, and uniform anomalies I come across as I do research for paintings and stuff. It’s kind of an outlet for me… a link to other uniform geeks like myself. I love to see people’s reactions in the comments. I COMPLETELY understand though, Paul. I wish you nothing but the best…. and I can’t thank you and Phil enough for showcasing my work over the years. It was like having my own cheering section across the country, pushing me to create bigger and better things, and i loved you guys’ reactions when i would send in my emails.

    Cheers fellas

    Sad to hear about uni watch not remaining free. Like many other readers, uni watch has been a staple of my day-to-day life and I will be sad to see it go, as it will be harder for me to pay the money for uni watch.

    Will Phil and other people who appear on this blog tone down their tweeting also or not?

    Uni watch is really the only website that covers all sports uniforms in the way that you do. I follow blogs like Icethetics and Hockey by Design (as I view hockey uniforms superior to all other uniforms), but I love Uni Watch for its coverage of NFL, MLB, and NBA.

    As I said above, I am a high school student who will have trouble convincing my parents to cough up money for a blog on uniforms, so it sounds more likely than not I will not pay.

    Another question, will design contests still be available to those who do not pay for Uni Watch, as they are partially run through ESPN?

    I don’t believe I’ll change my tweeting habits, but I don’t want to negatively affect Uni Watch either, so I’m going to take a wait and see approach in this regard. The more folks that sign up, the more likely I’ll keep tweeting away with all the latest uni news.

    I only had to think about it for a minute to agree that $5-$10 a month for something that provides me so much enjoyment and stability makes sense. I’d love a mug or tote bag to show off but also want my money to have the largest impact possible.

    Why not pay for your own UNIWATCH tattoo and put YOUR money where your mouth is?

    You’re providing us with information that no one else is providing and deserve to be paid for it. I have no problem with what you’re doing.

    You were the first to provide a forum for people who care about uniform aesthetics. Before Uni-Watch I never knew such like-minded people existed and cared about this as much as I do. I thank you for that.

    You and the staff deserve more and I believe this model will work.

    lets be honest, most of the content is available elsewhere, this site is a wonderful aggregator of that information though.

    I have been a uni-watch reader almost since the start, and I can understand this. But $10, even $5 a month is absolutely far too much. Netflix is $10. Hulu is $8. The NEW YORK TIMES IS $8 per month. I love Uni Watch, but this website is not the New York Times. I don’t want to stop reading and supporting (proud t-shirt collector) this site after over 10 years, but depending on the price, I may have to.

    Netflix is $10. Hulu is $8. The NEW YORK TIMES IS $8 per month. I love Uni Watch, but this website is not the New York Times.

    Lots of people are making these types of comparisons. I completely agree that if you look at it strictly from a quantitative value standpoint, what I’m proposing here is a worse deal than Netflix or Those are big operations that can take advantage of economies of scale that we simply cannot leverage. THat’s how it always is with a small niche operation — it’s why a small craft brewery charges more than Budweiser.

    (Also: NYT still has tons of ads.)

    I agree that this site is not the New York Times. This is better, the New York Times is trash.

    You have time Paul to really work it out, perhaps upping the membership discount on Naming Wrongs or the other Uni Watch merchandise. I’d be game for that. Or cooler contests for paying members. Sweetening the pot for charter members could bring people in.

    Regardless Paul, you will have my money. You’ve earned a lot of our respect for putting out a great product. I would recommend PayPal as a payment option. Less legwork than having to type credit card #’s in. :)

    I love the site, and I hope to continue doing so. Just try to keep it on the lower end.

    Thanks you for everything.

    As both an avid reader of this site for over a decade and as someone who’s been featured on here a couple times, I fully support this move and will defiantly be a paying member. There’s simply no other website with this amount of specific sports information. My father in law has been a publisher for a local newspaper for nearly 20 years and has seen the decline in subscriptions reach a point where he’s not sure if they’ll be able to continue either. Also, my brother happens to be finishing up his sophomore year in college as a journalism student and I worry about the future of his profession. Best of luck with this transition and thank you for your honesty about this matter.

    I love this site so much. I think a site overhaul is much needed. It might inject some excitement into what has been a pretty steady,but albeit stale form factor. It isn’t easy being independent digital these days and kudos to you for making it work for free so long. But you gotta get your money.

    And I wish you the best and much good fortune. You gotta do what you gotta do. And so do we. So long and all the best to you. I’ll miss the site. I’m stretched too thin on subscriptions and have a kid headed to college.

    Thanks for the fun

    I completely understand the need for this to be a paysite, Paul. I’m honestly shocked this wasn’t posted 2-3 years ago. $5/month is, as you said, a literal drop in the bucket for most people.
    I’m amazed at the comments (though I really shouldn’t be, in this age of ‘give me everything I like for free!!!!’) of anger from some people. I guess they don’t realize everything that comes with maintaining a professional web page. Sure, no one wants to lose visitors to a page, but if they can’t understand simple economics, so be it, I guess.

    I’m amazed at the comments (though I really shouldn’t be, in this age of ‘give me everything I like for free!!!!’

    Hit the nail on the head Terry. I am in my mid-20s and I find this hands-out victim mentality to be sickening.

    I’m rather shocked at the comments as well – $5 a month is $.16-.17/per day give or take a few decibels. This seems like a lot of crabby people. I’ve been a Uni-Watch reader for years, and while I don’t agree with Paul’s take on everything (nor do I subscribe to the level of tradition adherence that some do in the comments), I do really love having a sports site that focuses on the aesthetic and design element of all of this while staying away from some of the corporate nonsense speak that tends to take up too much space in other places on the internet. And like Paul said, he’s doing a lot of work on this site that is not really benefiting him financially. This new model, especially given the expanded content that he mentioned makes perfect sense.

    It seems to me like the choices are have zero website, or have a website that costs a little money. And I’m happy to support that if it means we get to keep hearing about this stuff in a way that I appreciate. I also feel a lot better about throwing $5 a month Paul’s way versus paying a huge conglomerate a similar amount for content I enjoy less than this.

    I agree completely with Terry. I would have paid from the start. $10 a month is fine. Heck, I would pay $20. I don’t know why so many people want everything for free. Anyone who has ever tried to make daily content for a site will understand how much work goes into it.

    I’m happy to pay, and grateful for being able to get it for free as long as we have.

    If you need extra design help on membership cards, I would be glad chip in pro bono.

    I understand your position and your decision. I am willing to pay, but your estimated price does seem high. The low end seems about right, but the high end seems quite steep.

    Either way, I hope that the shift to a paid model really does come with a site overhaul. There has always been a bit of charm that this daily blog feels like it’s straight out of the early 2000s, but I’ve always attributed that to inertia and the fact that the content was free. With a shift to a paid model, I would hope that both aesthetics and UI are updated in a way that makes the site even more fun to read and interact with.

    As a daily reader for more than a decade and someone that would likely pay for the content, I’d love to have some input in the future of the site as well. I know you hold this site pretty close to the vest as it is very much “yours” but I would hope you can see I have come to feel a small sense of ownership in it as well through financial support, membership, referrals, and content recommendations.

    A major thank you for everything you’ve provided so far. It has been an enjoyable way to start my day for a very long time.

    What a piece of shit you are Lukas. I’m tempted to sign up just to repost your content everywhere for free just to spite you and cost you big time $. Eat shit, hayseed.

    This guy’s been reading (and calling me a hayseed) for soooooo many years. I know he’s gonna pay, for sure, because his life won’t be complete without a good hate-read. Good to have you on board!

    Hahaha I just covered a co-worker with partially chewed blueberry donut because of this! Having that image in my memory for life makes making a small monthly monetary contribution to something I enjoy completely worth it. People either enjoy something enough to pay, or they don’t. I think most of the people upset about this change are people who don’t like change in general, especially when they’ll have to pay for something that’s always been free. It almost seems like people have a sense of entitlement about this.

    Out of curiosity, would what (s)he’s proposing constitute IP fraud, and subject to litigation, in the same way the RIAA & MPAA have gone after file-sharers for going on two decades now? I’ve never really heard as much with regards to digital piracy of former print-only media, but maybe that’s just because it’s not as headline-y. And maybe the book industry just isn’t as litigious.

    There’s a lot of bad stuff that goes on in the world each and everyday, yet people get ticked about having to pay for something. It is quite amazing. Maybe instead of telling someone to “Eat Shit” we could just say, “Hey Paul, thanks for all that you’ve already given us” and just end it. If you don’t want to pay, don’t. Why be a asshat about it?

    “Why be a asshat about it?”

    Some people just can’t NOT be. It’s the world we live in.
    Fortunately I have a thick filter for those folks.

    Does Brooklyn have a huge population of hayseeds? I’m from Indianapolis and can attest to the huge number of hayseeds in my city.

    I too am surprised this change took so long to make. I would imagine I’ll be all in when the change goes live. Even $10 a month is $0.30 a day.

    You get pissed off at having to pay for books, too? You don’t deserve any content for free. It’s Paul’s to do with as he pleases. Don’t be a schmuck.

    Paul, one question I have about all of this is when the site goes to a paid model will it continue to have, in addition to the uni related content, the appearance of a passion project which is at times as much about the non-uni related and sometimes rather idiosyncratic interests and worldview of Paul Lukas?

    My gut reaction is to feel that the extent to which this blog is not just about uniforms but also about more unexpected thoughts and ideas from the mind of Lukas is definitely one of its charms but also one of the things that gives me extra pause about paying for this content. Because it seems to me that we as consumers are being asked not primarily to pay for access to uni news (which can be found elsewhere even if it might not be quite as well done); we’re being asked to pay for Lukas. And Lukas has some very strong opinions about certain things that don’t align with my own; I don’t relate to your strong antipathy for the concept of merchandise, which has always struck me as surprising for a blog that at the end of the day is about a dimension of clothes/fashion; on the more superficial end of the spectrum I vigorously disagree with your hatred of purple. I respect your right to express your opinions and I would never want you not to do so and I appreciate reading your perspectives just as much when I don’t agree with them; but it does make me wonder if I really feel that it’s worth $50+ a year to experience.

    There are some great, really well researched and reported uni-related stories on this site, but I have to say that its bread and butter – uni news with a bit of analysis thrown in – at the end of the day seems to me pretty much based on aggregation from public sources. When considering that it feels kind of like the main marginal benefit I’m being asked to pay for is Paul Lukas ruminating on the greatness of fried hot dogs and duckpin bowling, and how much purple sucks, and I don’t know how I feel about that.

    The site is and always has been an extension of my mind. Usually that means writing about uniforms, but sometimes it means writing about fried hot dogs. I know some people like the non-uni content a lot, and others don’t. Impossible to please everyone so I do my best to follow my instincts and let the chips fall where they may.

    I think the larger question is whether I’ll be more responsive to reader input and requests under the paid model, and I’d say the answer to that is a qualified yes. I understand that you will feel more like a stakeholder, and that does matter.

    I’m fully aligned with Martina’s thought pattern on the content of the paid subscription model. If the content structure remains about the same with occasional diversions for travelogues, culinary achievements, “what Paul did last night,” and so on, then count me out. However, if the content mirrors the weekend Uni-Watch, which is more expansive and generally devoid of personal interest side excursions, then my interest in a paid subscription increases.

    One of the things I love about Uni Watch is the little personal interludes, from trip reports to culinary corner and everything in between. I’d hate them to end.

    I’ll definitely be subscribing. I’ve got almost 12 years of enjoyment out of this site, and I don’t really see a difference between a subscription and buying a membership, t-shirt or any of the other merch.

    As someone who worked in online journalism 20 years ago, I can attest that the higher-ups constantly rejected ideas to charge for content on websites despite the fact that it ended up eroding the newsrooms that clamored to make it happen.
    I will gladly support a paid model for UniWatch – maybe you provide a discount for current members and allow new ones to get the same in the first year?

    I would recommend a system like TinyPass, with which one can set up a system like the New York Times uses where visitors get N free views per time period (10 per month for NYTimes, but the values of the numerator and denominator are arbitrary) and where links from various outside sources can be set to be visible either in full or behind the paywall. Also, the payment processing and permission cookie-caching systems for TinyPass are terrific.

    It’s interesting how TV and radio journalists have always offered something for free and we’ve never felt less of them as journalists — nor regarding what they offer. Rather than forcing readers to hold on to the way things used to be and how the industry used to operate, perhaps it’s time for print material to meet the rest of us in today’s modern world. Free content is largely how it works whether we like it or not.

    However, at the same time, I think we all wish you the best and hope it works out for you.

    It’s interesting how TV and radio journalists have always offered something for free and we’ve never felt less of them as journalists…

    That’s because they are on television, which has traditionally been an advertising-supported model (not just for news but for all content). Broadcast advertising still produces reliable revenue; print and online advertising do not. Apples and oranges.

    Always? Uhh, CNN. MSNBC. Fox News. None of them are free. Neither is ESPN or any of the cable sports channels.

    Good luck and Godspeed Paul. I’m unable (not unwilling) to subscribe, but I’ll still follow you and Phil Hecken for the occasional news or ESPN column, contest, etc. Hope you’ll still take submissions from non-subscribers.

    I don’t blame you for going to a pay model. The content is great so I will definitely consider paying for access.

    I sent a lengthy email to Paul about it, but I want to support this publicly here. I’m a journalist, and I’ve lost colleagues due to layoffs in no small part because Google and Facebook are vacuuming up ad revenue like crazy. I subscribe to a handful of publications because I support good journalism, and good journalism is vital to hold those in positions of power—whether industry or government—accountable.

    Based on my experience at Ars Technica, people will pay for good content. I know some won’t pay for it, and that’s their right, but if you believe in what Paul does (and what your hometown paper is doing), it’s time to show that in a tangible way.

    Paul – like many others, I have read Uni-Watch for roughly a decade, and it has become a welcome part of my daily routine. I’m sorry to hear you are being squeezed out of your current business model, but I understand that you have to do what is best for you.

    From a purely anecdotal perspective, I do know that I would be highly unlikely to pay close to $10/month for a subscription Uni-Watch. Even though I visit the site every morning, that number simply doesn’t make sense for me given what I pay for other subscription services (Washington Post, Netflix, etc.) and the fact that there are free uniform news outlets out there (albeit less satisfying ones).

    Again, I recognize that you have put lots of thought into this decision and I do not raise new points. I do hope however that you will strongly consider keeping the price point at something more reasonable. If this is the end of my run reading Uni-Watch, I want to thank you for the years of entertainment, and more importantly for creating a corner of the internet where caring about (often) miniscule details was always acceptable and even celebrated.

    I thought you may have been getting ready to pull the plug. I’m with you. I know that you will charge a reasonable price and I’ll pay whatever that price is. I get so much joy from Uni Watch

    Paul Lukas
    February 28, 2018
    As I have already explained, we are not “losing sponsors.” Rather, the economics of web advertising have changed.

    From above:

    “The last straw came a few weeks ago, when NASCAR — one of our longtime anchor advertisers, with their “Hey, Uni Watch Readers!” banner at the top of the site — decided not to extend their relationship with us this year. That was a big blow. They provided more than 15% of our ad revenue last year.”

    Rick, it’s a both-and, not an either or. Sucks when you lose an advertiser that is responsible for 15% of your revenue. That might be survivable, except the other 85% of your revenue has also dropped by half because advertisers are paying less.

    Ah, another change, life always throws out there. I’ve always been amazed at the content provided in this column, and have enjoyed it greatly but in the words of Neil Sedaka: Breaking up is hard to do” – I think the challenge will be most of your absolute “must read” stuff is on ESPN. I thoroughly understand the decision though – so wish you well with it.

    What do you call a Liberal after he’s been mugged. A new Conservative. Market economics change models…uniform advertising was a reaction to changing market models in sports leagues. Cable TV used to be commercial free, but markets changed that. Now Uniwatch has to change to paid model because of the internet market.

    I may pay for your Uniwatch articles and features, but paying for The Ticker is ludicrous…it’s just a collection of crowdsourced links. You’re not paying the contributors, so why should we pay you to see them.

    I’ve been a daily reader for 12 years. It’s been great following the passion and hobby, and read it as such. A purist, running enough ads to keep the lights on and website running, but not commercializing his hobby and interest. A blog to share with other devotees out of pure love of the subject.

    I pay to support Wikipedia because I USE it and I support its mission, but nothing along the lines of $5-10/month. A fully monetized Uniwatch won’t be delivering anymore value than it does today and doesn’t justify a subscription. Perhaps a supporters’ donation, but not a subscription.

    Order the cake and plan the farewell party.

    Hmm…I’ve been mugged, had my apartment burglarized, AND had a stalker, yet I remain a liberal. It is said that adversity brings out one’s true colors, so that may explain your cynical conservatism. I choose to remain hopeful. Good luck to you.

    I personally feel that we owe it to Paul.

    We have been reading this blog for YEARS. We have facebook groups, meet ups, i personally enjoy Meeting other uni-watch readers. Where else in the world is some 30 something ska / punk enthusiast gonna sit down with a Ops Manager to muse about the various shades of silver on the cowboys pants.

    I guess i see it as simple decision to pay Paul and all the Uni-watch staff ( cats included ) So suck it up , pay the money and help keep our little community….

    We’ve always been the “Those who get it”, its time to be “Those who give it”

    Will old content still be freely available? I like going through and reading stuff like the travelogues. I’m undecided on whether or not I would subscribe; if not, I’d still like to enjoy what is already available.

    Just a thought – and feel free to shoot this down immediately – but what about a model where just the daily entry (or even the entry minus the ticker) was available for free, but the ticker and archive was for subscribers only?

    Right now, much of the Ticker is readily available on Twitter. With a paid model, I’d love to see more content from Paul, Phil, et. al. Paying for original articles has more value, in my opinion, than paying for crowdsourced links in the Ticker.

    You’re right, Mary Lynn – maybe the opposite approach would make more sense. Make the ticker available for free for a day or two, with everything else behind the paywall.

    Dumb Guy hasn’t decided if he is also Cheap Guy in regard to U-W.

    He is in many things, that’s for sure. He’ll just have see how this progresses.

    As someone who was always fascinated by this subject, I was thrilled several years ago to have found Uni Watch. At the risk of sounding overly fanboy-ish, I’ve had an awful lot of fun reading your site, and I’m fortunate enough to do what I can to support your way into the paid access era. Much rather that than have you pull the plug entirely.

    Fair winds and following seas, Paul.

    Thanks so much for providing a fantastic service to everyone in the uni-verse. As a current college student, it’s hard for me to find a way to come up with an extra $5-10 a month, but I wish you the best of luck in the future with this site. You have a lot to be proud of!

    Well, I guess this is the end of my daily morning ritual of uniwatch. I refuse to pay $5-10 a month to read a blog about what keyring you have or where you spent your vacation (sure those are fun reads when it’s free, but not for $5 a month). The pricing just doesn’t make sense for the content you are delivering.

    Perhaps it’s best for you to shut down Uniwatch and leave the memory of it as is and not tarnish it with the pay wall.

    I’ll continue to read your articles on ESPN (FOR FREE).

    I’ve been a card-carrying member since 2009 (holy crap!), and a daily reader since about 2007. I will continue to be a daily reader for as long as I possibly can. Other blogs have held my interest at times, but none can even approach the 10+ years I’ve been reading your blog. Heck, I can’t even believe it, to be honest. There’s something endearing and genuine about your work, and I admire the way you approach your craft, and your overall outlook on life, etc. As much as I enjoy the uni watching, I really enjoy the trip reports, and What Paul did Last Night reports, Culinary Corner and stuff like that also. Thanks for keeping the ship afloat all this time on your own.

    Just curious how you came up with the $5-$10 per month price point? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to at least start at the lowest number you can justify, so no one can claim it’s “too much”. If you can get three times as many people to subscribe for $4 per month as for $10, it’s to everyone’s advantage.


    I can honestly say that I am not surprised that you have to make changes, considering how the market it evolving. One thing that I think maybe you should look into is becoming THE repository for all things uniform in all major sports. The idea about being a resource for the history of NBA uniforms is a start, you should expand this to all major sports including both college and pro. This way there would be a huge value to the subscriber that goes beyond a daily blog. It would also fill a void that needs to exist. Plus it’s historical and we love history.

    I have been reading the site for long enough that I have no idea when I started, but I remember it being a big deal when the blog post went up an hour later. Reading it has become part of my daily routine, and I enjoy it very much. It’s a nice mix of good journalism about a vert specific issue and passion projects offered by guest editors.

    I have long thought that the site is too much work and the ads too small and specific to achieve economic viability. As much as I like free stuff, nothing in life is free. I have tried to show support by clicking on the links and buying the occasional t-shirt, but I would rather support the site through a subscription model. My guess is that with a little conversation and trial and error, you will come up with the right offer.

    As I have enjoyed seeing the site evolve and grow, I look forward to the next chapter. Anyway, this seems like a good time to acknowledge everyone’s contributions. Thanks!

    Totally understand decision. On fence about paying only because my attention has been drawn away from Uni-Watch by other life stuff, but not having headlines on Twitter to glance at might draw me back in. I’d like to ask if you see the content changing at all? I most enjoy the posts that are essayistic in nature: reflections on the critics role, Uni Watch’s role in branding, etc. I suspect that 1) those types of projects happen when they happen based on other events and 2) are a little more labor intensive, so I suspect you can’t promise regular schedule of those. I like your writing (style, voice, sarcasm) and think you use these essays as an effective tool to dig deeper into either nuanced issues or issues needing more nuance. So, if you want to know what would push me toward paying, more of those entries would be it.

    Appreciate your work. Been around since the beginning.

    I don’t foresee major changes to the content, Matt, but will try to take people’s preferences into some consideration to whatever extent is practical and possible.


    I have not been as long of a fan, only jumping on board in the recent years when found one of your ESPN articles. I have enjoyed a great deal of the articles this website has produced and learned so much about the niche community of uni-watching that i am on board for a paid subscription. i look forward to reading the articles each day and would not mind supporting the function of this website. I hope the subscription model allows the site to grow and prosper, and will be there to see it shine.

    Your craft beer analogy doesn’t hold water for me. Sure craft beer is tasty, but when I can get 30 BuD Lights for the price of six beers, I’m drinking Bud Light most hot Texas weekends. I may splurge once a month for a tasty craft beer from Austin, or I may have a couple if I’m going out, but for a more regular drink, It’s not practical.

    I’ve never experienced Texas heat but even if I was on the sunny side of Mercury I would have a hard time swallowing that canned piss, let alone 30 of them ; )

    It is interesting to me Paul has finally decided to charge for his content… disguising his ego as “good for the journalism sector” is disingenuous.

    I have certainly been very dissapointed of his hypocrisy over criticism of NBA jersey ads; while doing the EXACT same thing on his website… he doesn’t buy overpriced polyester tees, but expects you to do the same. 20$ magnet with his face on it?! why not!

    Many, many more readers will not follow Paul (though he is delusional and can’t be convinced to see another side of any argument, he can’t be swayed otherwise).

    Paul, if you read this, I feel bad for the people who read your blog as a way to brighten their day, as I used to… Just don’t disguise it as doing good for society; this is doing good for Paul, and no-one else.

    This is really disappointing. This post was a daily ritual for years but I’d noticed in the last couple of years I’ve been to it less and less. I’ve never been a big fan or even understood the lecturing about certain topics so that was turning me off more and more. I know it’s your site and your opinions so I never complained and honestly I started following UNISWAG on instagram and Twitter more because of it. I still liked some of the back stories on here and I appreciated that. I think everyone should be paid for their services but it’s a risky move because of the amount of other places to get uni-related info online. It was a nice run but I guess this was the final death blow for me. I can’t see paying for something I can just get somewhere else. It was nice having everything in one place but not nice enough to pay for it. Good luck and I hope this works out for you.

    I guess the biggest issue I’ll have will be with the inability to share a post that’s particularly interesting. Like, if I want to spread the word about #NoUniAds, the paywall will limit how much that movement can grow. I support the paywall idea, but I imagine it will limit your influence.

    I support the paywall idea, but I imagine it will limit your influence.

    Excellent point. But did we ever really have that much “influence,” outside of our core audience? I’m not so sure. But it’s worthwhile consideration.

    Shame it had to come to this, but I will not be subscribing. Just echoing a few reasons others have posted; ticker is a collection of items sourced from the web; view points on some subjects; do I want to pay to read about vacations, Beefsteaks and what you did last night. I’ve always been in the camp of this is your site and you post/write/opine on whatever you want as we are just visitors. Except paying for all the un-uni related content I think is a bit much. The economics are what they are. Good luck, hope it all works out for you.

    Thanks for the heads up Paul – I’ve been a daily reader for years and will continue to be until the paywall is implemented and will hold off on deciding if I’m willing to become a paid member until that day. I know this is just the first post about what is coming but I do not see myself paying for Uni-Watch based on what it currently is or the description about what it will become. Not because I consume journalism for free. For what it’s worth, I signed up for a year of The Athletic because they showed me the value in their reporting and content. Uni-Watch has been very valuable and informative in the past, however right now the Ticker isn’t really doing that for me. I appreciate the work and commitment that goes into preparing and delivering it, however there’s just not enough there for me to give $5-10/month even if it is just the same as not getting a couple of cups of coffee. I hope you can change my mind over the next few months because I’ve always enjoyed your work (even though I often disagree with your takes on social issues)

    This is disappointing news, but it’s completely understandable. I’m not sure I’ll be able to justify paying for Uni Watch in my current stage of life with a new baby and other subscriptions to pay for, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it in April.

    In case the end is indeed near for me, many thanks to you Paul. Uni Watch has been my favorite way to start the day for years and at the very least, I’ll definitely continue reading your ESPN content.

    Paul, thanks for this article. I appreciate the transparency. I always love the Uni Watching, the travel chronicles, the Culinary Corner, and the couple of times I’ve met you. I will almost assuredly pay for one of my favorite writers, websites, and communities—especially if an annual rate lets me save a bit.

    “Transparency”–That sums it up for me, too. Thanks for being honest and open and allowing us all to make an informed decision.

    I’m probably what one would consider an “average'” reader – I visit the site three or four times per week, see if the lede story is of interest to me (I’d say it’s a 50/50 split), then peruse the ticker for any tidbits I want to check out. I love the in-depth reported pieces, your opinions, and the easy access to an aggregation of uni-related content. Never particularly cared for all the non-uni stuff.

    As much as I’d like to support a paid model, it just wouldn’t work for me. I give monthly to orgs like the ACLU, NPR, PP, Longreads (which is perhaps the most similar to this situation, though they do still provide free content), etc. and there’s only so much I can afford to give, so it’s sort of a case of weighing Uni-Watch versus others, and it unfortunately just doesn’t come out on top in any of those bouts. I think it’d be really awesome to try to provide at least some free content, maybe a monthly recap post or something like that, but totally understand if that isn’t in the cards.

    All that said, thanks very much for all the fantastic work over the years, and best of luck with this pivot.


    While I understand and respect your decision, I feel like it’s a decision that will kill Uni-Watch. If you’re fine with that, this is your show, and you have the right to do what you want with it. With that said, I’d like to respectfully disagree with some of your premises.

    As I may have mentioned over email, I’ve been a loyal Uni-Watch reader for 8+ years. I worked at Google for 6 years where I worked in ad sales and product strategy for small & medium businesses. I’m currently a grad student (meaning I probably can’t pay for Uni-Watch for a couple of years) and soon-to-be-strategy consultant. All of this is to say that I know what I’m talking about.

    I fundamentally disagree with the idea that people aren’t “paying” for good journalism. Instead of paying with their wallet, many people are paying with their time and attention. Over time, advertisers have realized that more “engaging” (or as I suspect you’ll describe as “obtrusive”) formats like video work better than traditional ads. As such, I don’t believe that the economics have changed such that you can’t be sustainable. But I do think the economics have changed that it won’t be sustainable if you don’t adjust to include newer ad formats as those are the ones advertisers pay more for. While I have certainly appreciated your ad approach thus far, I would much rather have the option to click thru annoying ads than pay (especially as a student).

    I got hooked on Uni-Watch when I was an undergrad student, when I couldn’t afford to pay for Uni-Watch. I love that when I meet other people who thinks they’re weird for obsessing over uniform and logo details, I can introduce them to a community of people just like them that’s free to view. While I know a strong portion of Uni-Watch nation will continue to support you in a paid model, I don’t believe it will continue to grow. It will be a matter of time before your community dwindles, and Uni-Watch as we know it disappears. I think we all agree that would be a sad day.

    My suggestion would be a dual model: free for viewers to deal with annoying ads, pay for ad-free. If you’re willing to discuss, I would be willing to offer whatever time I have to give. I think this model would mean you could continue to post/write whatever personal rants (e.g., hot dogs, offensive logos) you feel like as well.

    I hope you don’t mind me making this offer/disagreement public, as I think Uni-Watch nation deserves the opportunity to see the other side of things. Regardless, thanks for you consideration, and I appreciate your commitment to Uni-Watch.


    P.S. I could try to talk a couple of former/current Googlers into consulting for you too, including one of the guys who wrote a guest post this past summer.

    Over time, advertisers have realized that more “engaging” (or as I suspect you’ll describe as “obtrusive”) formats like video work better than traditional ads.

    I wouldn’t “describe” them as obtrusive; they *are* obtrusive. I prefer not to go that route.

    I respect your experience in the field and appreciate your feedback and advice. Thank you!

    True. “Engaging” is in quotes for a reason :-)

    I listen to Pandora, read Forbes, and watch YouTube videos which all have obtrusive ads. They all have paid versions that I can’t afford, but I can afford to be annoyed for a bit. And on the flip side, there’s crap out there (e.g., USA Today) that isn’t worth the ads. That’s all to say this online content is not “free”: my attention is worth something, and quality content producers can often support themselves with it.

    I don’t mind short video ads as much when I’m watching videos (YouTube).

    I hate pop up videos and other videos occurring when I’m looking for text content (with or without pictures).

    I completely understand why you have to do this, but I too am extremely disappointed, and once the paywall goes up will stop my daily visit(s) to Uni-Watch. I’m a long time website visitor and fan of Uni-Watch since it was just a column on ESPN, so this is a deep cut for me. I plan on unfollowing the twitter account as well, since you pretty much admit that you wont be putting as much on there.

    I simply cannot justify spending $5 to $10 for access to the site, especially when the information on here is mainly a summary of what is freely available all over the web. I think all these websites that are putting up a paywall will eventually reverse course. In todays day and age, I think those willing to pay for access to sites whos content (or similar content) is freely available across the web are slim to none. Although I enjoy the non-uni related content, it’s not something I’m willing to pay for.

    I understand there has to be enough income to pay bills and justify running the site, but the proposed price point is too high. I’m not going to spend more or close to the same price that I do for Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Spotify,…. the list goes on and on. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but reading the comments above, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    Thanks for all the great content over the years. Although I don’t always agree with your opinion, I appreciate your passion and love for “Uni’s”. I suggest that if there is a site overhaul and more content is added, a free trial is offered. I would love to give the updated site a chance to prove me wrong and show me that the price is worth the product.

    I don’t post this reply with any venom or vitriol, I will always be a fan. I just wanted to post my opinion on the news and as a thank you for your hard work over the years. My daily routine will never be the same.

    Paywalls are probably NOT going away. Those who have done it successfully have been smart and pragmatic about it. I would say your analysis is flawed.



    No, but really, I actively welcome the opportunity to support quality writeups and content I am passionate about. As intrusive advertisements and auto-play video RUIN the sports communications/journalism industry (and reduce our collective intelligence and capacity for critical thinking), I am more than happy to support providers doing it the RIGHT way. I choose to read, react, question, research… not have my opinions pre-formulated and spoon fed for me by some talking head. I like to think this outlook on life serves me well.

    With this in mind, I am a proud subscriber of The Athletic. For $4/mo I am delivered excellent coverage, longform/features, and a safe haven from any advertisements or video whatsoever (save for FILM breakdown; remember when that was a thing on ESPN?). This type of thoughtful environment also fosters a very well-informed, engaging, and respectful online community. The writers themselves also contribute to the conversation, as you do here currently, which is always a joy. You just don’t see this dynamic anywhere else.

    I realize this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison given scope and reach, but you would be well served to model your new endeavor after their approach, wherever you can. I’ll be along for the ride every step of the way!

    Thank you for 12 years and all the years to come.

    I stumbled across this great site over 10 years ago as well. The details of logos, uniforms, and such have always grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, I will be one of those that will no longer visit UniWatch. While there have been some articles, statements, or ads (no guns) over the years that I didn’t agree with, they were opinions and I respect that. On that note, I can’t bring myself to support this site, and the opinions, monetarily. Keep up the great work and good luck to you.

    Some of us have been censured (censored?) for posting content/comments that Paul doesn’t agree with. If I pay, am I allowed to disagree and post contradictory content?

    I mean, when a good chunk of this site is really just a compilation of links to twitter posts that are submitted by readers, it does seem a little silly to start charging to view that content. I’ll be honest, most days I skip right over the main article and go to the ticker, and since work has blocked Twitter, I’ve noticed I really can’t even view 75% of the links in there.

    As long as you have twitter, you can still get all the ‘news’ in this site for free. It was a nice place to see this information compiled in one spot but its not worth paying to see it in one place. I guess if you’re a reader who reads the article every day, it might still be worth it, and I wish you well in the future, but I suspect you’re overestimating how many are visiting this site for the articles rather than the ticker. Once you go paywall, those people are just going to get that info elsewhere, for free. For better and (mostly) worse, that’s just the nature of the flood gates that opened when online journalism went freeware, because there will always be someone out there legally providing that information for free.

    Uni Watch is part of my morning routine, and I will gladly pay $5-$10/month to keep it running. Thank you for years of free content. I look forward to Uni Watch continuing for years to come.

    I have been reading your content for a good 4 years, however I believe 5-10 dollars is way too much for a 15 year old to pay monthly. Best of luck with this model, you had a good run.

    As a PS to my comment above and to piggy back off a previous commenter, yes I know you are hesitant to adopt Patreon, but I think that would make a lot of sense. Patreon could gain access to things like Question Time, raffles including but not limited to the annual Xmas thank you raffle, invitations to meet ups, coupon codes, etc…you’re lucky that you have a lot to offer, but ultimately it’s your call.

    As an artist that rarely, if ever, gets paid for my work who knows tons of other ridiculously talented people who rarely get paid their worth, I will gladly and proudly pay for a yearly subscription. Thank you for providing the sort of content that I am eager to read every day.

    I don’t want to put you on alert and maybe ruin a potentially good thing but are you/is Phil going to neuter his Twitter as well? His is nearly identical (maybe more?) to yours with the amount of stuff he posts

    I have no problem with going to paid content. I agree it was insane when media began giving content away and the journalism world now sucks because of it. Will I subscribe? I’m not sure yet, but kudos to you Paul for betting on yourself and realizing that no matter how much you love your work, you should be paid for it!

    Finally, I’m now a Bruins fan. Finally a team realizes that same name on back is not a problem. That’s why we have numbers on jerseys.

    You know, with that reasoning, you could be a Habs fan instead! ;-)
    No really, even the teammate Kostitsyn brothers had just the last NOB, and we currently have Andrew and Logan Shaw (no relation) with just Shaw as NOB.

    Actually, we’re terrible this year. You probably picked wisely, haha.

    Count me in the “understanding but unwilling” boat.

    I have a couple of questions about this that will hopefully be helpful. Do you have a sense of how many paying members to expect? Perhaps based on sales numbers of membership cards and other items. Also, have you considered any other solutions? Is ESPN interested in hosting all of your content on their site? Have you considered moving away from daily posts (every other day? Weekly?)? Very little of the content on here is time sensitive.

    Echo the comment above. Uni Watch is part of my daily routine. Thank you for the years of work and free content. Uni Watch has made me a more observant viewer of sports, and I have to appreciate small nuances in uni design. this has impacted not just how I view professional sports, but my local kid/high school sports as well. Phenomenal work!

    I totally understand the evolution towards a paid subscription. Several of my daily routine internet sites are moving to this model. I will gladly pay for premium content I can’t get other places. I would simply caution not to move too fast. Be sure to dangle some free content to attract new subscribers.

    Keep up the awesome work!

    Totally understand why you’re doing this and I’ll be glad to pay. I just want to hear you say this isn’t any different than NBA teams selling a 2 inch patch on their jerseys first lol. ;) Cause when it all boils down….it ain’t.

    Actually, it’s very different, because the NBA already has lots of other revenue streams: ticket sales, broadcast rights, parking, concessions, etc. They don’t *need* uniform advertising patches in order to be viable.

    Figured this stance was coming, and I understand. But in a vacuum, jersey ads are there to bring in money for the business. A paywall or ads are on your site for what? To bring in money for your business. The only difference, as you pointed out, is that one business is extremely lucrative through other avenues, as if that’s a fault of theirs. Or that they’re greedy to pursue more….I’d just call that a good business decision.

    I don’t think there is any shame in advertisements, especially on blog websites. I even think you should have more! Personally, I would prefer more ads (even videos and popups) than a subscription model. I wish you luck though, seriously. Love the site.

    in a vacuum, jersey ads are there to bring in money for the business. A paywall or ads are on your site for what? To bring in money for your business.

    But the world does not exist in a vacuum. If you truly think all business transactions are equal, well, you can think that. I respectfully disagree.

    Hey, I’ll pay. I’m one of those people that has their morning coffee with a side of Uni-Watch each day.

    I’m opening this up to be told I’m wrong, but please tell me why I am:

    “We could make the daily lede freely accessible but put the Ticker and other stuff behind a paywall.”

    Would it not make more sense to have your own personal words and original content behind the paywall, than the accumulated links that are available around the web? Is that not opening the door for whatever source to claim (despite the free clicks) you’re charging for access to their content?

    Long time reader, first time commenter: So long, uni-watch. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I will not be paying for it.

    I’m in.

    I’ve been reading Uni Watch since Village Voice, its part of my daily routine.

    This isn’t reddit or a twitter hashtag where we’re reading a bunch of random content posted by randoms. This is curated content with analysis, interviews, and perspective. That’s worth something.

    I subscribe to a bunch of things. I support my favourite podcasts. I understand that the world has changed, I’m happy to pay for good content that I enjoy. Its not 1990 or 2005 anymore, if we want good content we have to support it and I’m happy to do so.

    Uni-Watch has long been one of the first sites I open up in the morning, usually the second or third tab I read after world news and so forth.
    I understand the move completely, but still, although I’ve been coming here since almost the beginning, that’s gonna be a hard no from me.
    There are so many things I already have to pay for that I just can’t justify it. Sorry and thanks for the many years of enjoyment.

    If I chose to pay, can I get the option to change the color scheme to a more purple-based model? ;)

    Is there any thought to giving those who invested in a membership card a break on the rate? Just spit-balling here.

    Lol I’ve dug out so much content for you guys over the years and now I have to pay? So the tweets of mine you’ve linked in your ESPN articles are free for you to use, but now I have to pay to see your site that I’ve helped with over the years? Ya no thanks. So you wanna monetize your baby that has grown with the help of others who get nothing for it? Seems fair. Definitely glad I’ve cut back on the content search.

    This right here is what I don’t get. Not saying Paul doesn’t do a hell of a lot of work, but a lot of the site is user contributed, no one will want to contribute or write features and the like for a paid site that they have no incentive for.

    As an avid Reader from Australia with a Lifetime love of Baseball who only reads it for baseball related news and tidbits I can’t justify paying for a subscription. The thing that worked for Uni-Watch is the community working together to find interesting Uni tidbits. With a pay wall/subscription the user base will dramatically dwindle, reducing people who contribute hence lowering the quality.

    I would rather be blasted with a truck load of ads then have this bastion be walled off.

    I do have one question though, will people who contribute to the site, either through written features or small hat tips be financially remunerated under this new system?

    I enjoyed reading Uni Watch for the past 2 years when I discovered it, so as a high school student it’s disappointing I won’t be able to read this anymore. Good luck, Paul. Guess I’ll have to find my uniform updates somewhere else. Perhaps I’ll have to start a website myself.

    Well, categorize me under the “can pay but not going to pay” category. Simply put, I’ve lost interest in the last 2-3 years anyways–I have probably commented maybe three times in the last year. I once commented every day almost.

    Nothing personal Paul but even you yourself have said in the past that you want to move on from covering sports uniforms at some point. You got what you’ve wanted–mainstream media covers uniform changes now. Might be time, in the words of Emperor Chaz, “to move on to your life’s work.” Might be time to focus on other projects, like your meats blog or the permanent records files. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope you can find some form of sustainable income while remaining an independent contractor.

    Simply put, I’ve lost interest in the last 2-3 years anyways…

    I notice that you’re still here today. ;)

    Kidding. Thanks for reading, Joseph.

    Ok, I’m going to just say it. I can totally understand some of you being disappointed that this is going to become a pay site, but bashing Paul’s principles and honesty here is downright disgusting. Obviously I like everybody here has read the blog for years and I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about Paul or his views/opinions. Sure there’s been some fun debate about the “Washington Football Team” or Chief Wahoo or anything else but again it’s always been clean, honest debate. We shake hands and move on. No grudges. Anybody who held grudges walked away a long time ago.

    Suddenly money comes into the picture and everybody’s favorite uni-blogger is greedy and hypocritical. Anybody who has bashed him today when they never said bad things about him BEFORE today obviously never really respected him or the hard work he and the staff have done into keeping this site going and just trolled around here.

    As I’ve said above Paul, think about special perks for paid members like a deeper store discount or some swankier contests. You have time, this is your site and you know best.

    I’d pay $5/month. I recently signed up for my local newspaper since they switched. I recognize the need for journalism to exist and I’m ok with paying for a service I use.

    Paul, I love this site. I’ve been coming here regularly for a decade (perhaps since the very beginning), and I don’t mind paying, but it mst be said that the prices you are considering are really far too high.

    At your higher number, reading this site for ten years would cost twelve hundred dollars, which is more than I (and probably most of your readers) earn for a week’s labor.

    And I’m not alone in hating the everything-as-a-service monthly subscription model that is being foisted on the public seemingly everywhere. People drift in and out of their hobbies and paying monthly for something that I might be really into in March (when baseball teams are revealing new uniforms) and July (when we see what garishness is on display at the All-Star Game) and not in other months.

    Any other system would be better. If there were a way to pay you 15¢ or 30¢ each time I visit, I’d very gladly do that. (Maybe even more than that.) I’d gladly make a one-time contribution of $50 or more to be a member in perpetuity. But a monthly subscription, at a high price, to something you might or might not make use of really ruis the mood. As things are now, I feel like a member of a community — a contributing member who loves finding stuff out in the wild (a rare jersey on eBay; a goofy three-digit number on a Japanese minor leaguer’s back) to link back to here on the site, and who spends time crafting posts full of links to share with everybody. We commenter “contributors” aren’t doing one percent of what you (Paul and the other writers) do, but I much prefer to feel like a contributor than a paying consumer.

    Also, a suggestion for when you go the pay route: it would make paying members happy if you re-hosted the images you link to in the ticker (credited appropriately, of course) so that everyone can see them. Seemingly half of everything is a direct link to twitter, twimg, or other image sites that are blocked at a lot of workplaces (and let’s be honest, people browse sites like this one at work). And as the years pass, these things disappear. Visit a Uni Watch column from 2010 or 2013 and seemingly half the links are dead. If I’m paying to see stuff, I want to see the stuff.

    I’m curious as to why you’ve teased the number out this way. You could also look at the same number the opposite way and say that a daily visit to Uni-Watch will cost no more than $.33 cents a day going forward. That’s less than a bag of chips from the vending machine. While I imagine what we’re ultimately going to see with the pay model at the end of April is something more nuanced than what Paul has announced today, but at the end of the day, content is something that has been created by someone, in this case, someone who many of us have followed for more than a decade, and content creators deserve to be paid.

    That said, I do support your idea about an image hosting site for the ticker items. It can be a little cumbersome trying to follow the ticker, especially on my phone.

    Uni-Watch has long been one of my daily reads. I don’t read my local paper every day nor do I visit more than a handful of websites each day but each morning I look forward to seeing Uni-Watch. I like supporting creative people–I have nothing but local art in my house and I pay going rates for everything. I love Uni-Watch and I love Paul’s sense of community and depth of his commitment to doing the right thing. We shouldn’t expect creativity and hard work to be free. Count me in as a supporter today and tomorrow.

    I’m not invested in this site enough to pay as I only check it from time to time (and mostly for either favorite team stuff or general soccer stuff), but I respect your right to make it worth your time. You provide a lot of interesting information on uniforms/history.

    I would caution you though that unless you offer enough unique content, there is always a possibility of someone else out there doing it just as good if not better for cheaper. I know that’s probably obvious, but something to think about. I don’t see the value as it stands now for that kind of money a month.

    Either way good luck!

    I’ve been a daily reader for a long time (probably 5 years, at least), but have never commented before, and thought that I would add my thoughts to this discussion. Most have been discussed in some shape or form above, but I just thought I would add to the chorus, if it helps in any way?

    $5 a month is a lot to pay, IMHO. I understand why; I understand the economies of scale that this site simply does not have, since we’re a small bunch. But compared to the $12 or so I spend on Netflix, which gives me hours upon hours of entertainment compared to the 5 minutes or so spent each day here, it’s a tough pill to swallow. So I sat here and thought, what, exactly, would get me to pay that for Uni-Watch? And I came up with the following:

    1. A site overhaul: Already mentioned to be in the works, but I’d have to SEE it and LIKE it before committing. Currently, Uni-Watch crashes on a regular basis, especially in Chrome, or has odd ad pop-ups that make the site unusable. I know this is not Paul’s intention, and for free, I wouldn’t complain…it’s in a pay model that I, well…would.

    2. More content. The daily writeup is oftentimes delightful, but both the ticker and column combine to take up, as said, about 5 minutes of time to read in most cases. You mentioned a NBA uniform tracker; that’s a great start, though I’m not a fan of basketball in general. Not sure what else you could add that’d tickle my fancy, to be honest – most everything is readily available from SportsLogos that I can think of for us uni-nerds…

    3. Keep it focused. While I have no problem with using the site as it is as a personal blog, I rarely read anything about “what I did last night” or “this weekend” or “on my vacation” because it just isn’t interesting to my taste (everyone’s is different, of course, and I’d never badmouth it – it’s just not for me). If you took a vacation and visited different stadiums, or sports landmarks, then that’d be another thing. If I pay and come here to see an interesting content piece – like the recent one on Lou Gherig’s pin, for example, and see something about a duckpin bowling outing instead, I’d be a bit miffed. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation for a paid site?

    4. Editorialize less. Opinions are part of the game, I think, and often time, I like reading yours, Paul. What I don’t like is when you veer into political discussions. Again, I’ve never mentioned it before (because I’m not paying), but I’m a Redskins fan, and it bothers me that they are constantly the butt of a really old and washed up joke. Put Chief Wahoo (at least, until the end of the season) or the Braves tomahawk up instead of a Skins logo from time to time at least. Or get rid of the Native American section all together. People have VERY intense feelings about Sports teams and logos, and badmouthing them (however justified) is harsh, and I wouldn’t pay to see my team constantly ridiculed. You have an anti-gun message in the upper-right at the moment, one I completely, 100% agree with, but nonetheless, it doesn’t belong on a uniform/sports site I’m paying for.

    That’s all I can think of for now. Just my opinions, of course, and they are like water, right? :) But thought I’d add to the discussion and help if I could.

    On a side note, I actually really like the specialty ads here that you’re talking about keeping. Tokens & Icons and Ebbetts Field Flannels, just to speak of a couple, are companies I would never have heard of other wise, and their products are fantastic. So keep at it with these!

    Interestingly, and I’m not trying to put you down Jason just more looking at the dilemma Paul has, I would be much less willing to describe if Paul went through with your #s 3 and 4.

    It’s a definite conundrum, because people come here for different reasons!

    Perhaps, for #3 at least, when there’s a “what I did on my vacation” post, there’s at least one other sports-related post for that day. That way, you’re still getting the content you like while I get the content I like?

    As far as #4, when I say “editorialize less,” I don’t mean to stop sharing opinions on uniforms – if they’re ugly, call them ugly. If they’re corporate sponsored and it looks horrible, call it out. I don’t have a problem with that. I suppose a better way to put it would be to “politicize less,” since I was specifically thinking about the Native American and guns issues while I was writing.

    I can see that with #3, though honestly to me the trip reports/etc are usually more interesting to me than a lot of the ledes.
    As for #4, I understood what you meant. I would be disappointed and might be less willing to subscribe if Paul politicized less/gave less non-sports opinions, even though I don’t 100% agree with all of them.

    Great points Jason!! I agree with you 100% that I have not commented on certain views that Paul has, as it is his site and it is free. However, I would definitely NOT pay to view a site that I have MANY differing views with, good or bad. A perfect example is the Redskins and his refusal to use the word Redskins. I am not a fan of them in general, but I do hate the way they are portrayed on this website. Thanks for bringing this up in the discussion.

    I don’t remember how I came across uni-watch (perhaps ESPN), but I must say it has become a part of my daily ritual for past several years.

    Paul – I think you work incredibly hard to produce this content (shocked at times really) and I respect your conviction on ads. Ultimately I think I’ll pay, or at least give it a shot. I’m personally excited to see your new NBA uniform content. I hope you get the subscription model correct and things work out for you.

    The woe-is-me bullshit drama posted by, shockingly, more folks than I anticipated in response to Paul’s news is coming across to me as sour grapes, plain and simple. You’d be hard-pressed to find an honest explanation from the heart by anyone who is concerned about their customers. If you can’t pony up $5-10 a month for something you consume on a daily basis, then don’t bitch about it going away.

    Well said. Paul has always been one of the most honest blogger/writers that I follow. I really can’t believe so many people are so cynical about this.

    Will the quality of the content be increasing since we have to pay for it? Will the constant grammatical errors and typos be a thing of the past?

    I think many of us enjoy your travelogues. If I have to pay for UniWatch I’d like at least one travelogue per week, for a trip that’s been at least three days duration.

    Also, would you consider compensating folks for ticker submissions? I think that might help take a little strain off this unanticipated financial blow.

    Also one more thing, no more taking the entire month of August off. If I’m paying I want your content at least 4 weekdays per week.

    Will there be a free trial period, say 6 months after you re-launch the site to see if it is in fact something I will want to pay for?

    One more thing, since I don’t read on weekends, will there be a discount for that?

    Also, I want to know exactly which companies are sponsoring each team, no more of this Mr. Yuck stuff.

    Fifthly, I want the names of each college football bowl named correctly when it is mentioned. No more chicken sandwich bowl antics.

    Sixthly, I know on occasion you’ve posted a story that you’ve had to backtrack on because it was false information, will there be an increase in fact checking once there is a paywall in place?

    I love this site and have for years. I am not going to spread on the hate, because I understand why Paul has to do this, the economics of the internet is changing and I actually thank Paul for being honest and upfront with the audience. But I am an historical researcher and not exactly rich, I don’t know if I can justify paying for even a cool website like this. My news and media sources are paid for by my work, I cannot convince them to foot the bill for something I read with my morning coffee (and has nothing to do with my work). I wish Paul and the site all the best and hope the pay model works out. But I cannot take part and I am sorry that I cannot contribute to the excellent work here. I will continue to follow on Twitter, FB group and whatever I can on here. I have no bad feelings, I understand all too well what the marketplace is like and thank Paul for his generosity for all of these years. Thanks, man.

    First, I want to add to the chorus of people thanking Paul for this site. It launched the first year I started teaching (I found it from a Slate article that I was reading during a planning period, or at least that’s my recollection). It has been a part of my life for that entire time.

    I don’t subscribe to any other websites. But no other website provides this much of a niche outlet for me. If jalopnik put up a paywall, I’d head to The Drive. Sure, I could go to Creamer’s site (which is also very good), but it isn’t the same. It’s uniforms, but this site is the Grand-daddy of uni watching. Hell, it’s the damn namesake of the thing so many of us do. This site has a distinct voice and that voice has shaped how I look at the world. Without this site, and Paul’s outlook especially, I know that I would not look at the world around me nearly as critically.

    I used this site to help teach critical evaluation and design when I taught yearbook. It was a near daily trip for my students so that they could learn how to evaluate design.

    More than that, though, I feel like this site is written by a person who is true to what he believes. Paul is his own editor. That’s awesome in an era of increasing corporate domination.

    That said, I’m in. I couldn’t have been when I started reading. But I can be now, so I will be. My only suggestion would be to find a way to offer a discount to students. I would hate for young people to not be exposed to independent critical thought like Paul’s simply because they don’t have a stream of disposable income. Maybe a reduced price or even a scholarship program.

    And to everyone saying “but Netflix, but the WaPo, but the NYT”: even if the economies of scale weren’t at play here, are those outlets going to cover this beat? They aren’t. ESPN comes closest, by employing Paul to write about uniforms, but those articles are always just a teaser for the deeper dives that happen here. Just MONDAY we got to follow a flag-pin mystery that wasn’t going to get covered anywhere else.

    Don’t even get me started on the travelogs, Culinary Corner, and Get Out More features (and featurettes). Those alone would be worth a buck a month.

    Anyway, TL;DR: the site is awesome, I feel like I know Paul as a person, and I want to support that. Don’t want to? Can’t? I get it. I feel bad that you’re leaving. Angry? That seems misplaced.

    As someone who writes in the web journalism field, and has seen first hand how advertising is collapsing, I completely understand and support why you’re doing this. I will *most likely* happily be surbscribing (perhaps not at first as planning a wedding is expremenly expensive, but as asoon as possible).

    Also, while I completely understand why the paywall discussion has overtaken the comments today, I just want to acknowledge the anniversary. I may have commented this last year as well, but I changed careers in 2015 to pursue writing after a few years doing something else after graduating college with a degree in Cinema and Cultural Studies and dreams of a writing career. You’re story and work was then and continues to be an inspiration to me, and I just wanted to note that and say thanks.

    Change is hard, and obviously you must do what is best for you and your contributors. Just recently I have decided to cut the cord with cable and get everything a la carte. As I add this up along with other web-based monthly expenses, I will be prioritizing to determine which ones I keep and which I discard. I would put Uni-Watch in the category of the two USC Trojan sites, my alma mater. I frequent those sites many times during the day versus here usually once in the morning for 5 minutes. I might check back if I make a comment to see if there is a response from you or others. Sadly I’m not sure I see the value in paying for this. One thing you might consider is to have a comment section for each catagory/article. This way someone could comment on a particular post, and have interaction with others concerning this. Say you run a feature on the new Titans uniform. Readers could comment and debate this without having to read through all the other comments that are unrelated. I know some really enjoy pointing out spelling errors, but maybe have a separate place for these comments. Or if you post on what you did last night, this would keep those comments contained. When you come out with the price, I’ll evaluate the annual amount and determine if this makes sense for me. I prefer paying the annual. Besides getting an annual discount, it makes it very clear if I value it enough to subscribe. Right now I’d guess that amount is $50. One of the USC blogs offers free months for annual subscriptions. Maybe have $5.00 a month, and if you pay upfront for the year you get two months free. Lastly, I hope when you come out with your new format/improvements you offer a free period to try it.

    As a long time reader & contributor (over 10 years), I’ll just say that I really hope Paul can figure out a way to keep the site going that makes sense for him as well as the readership. Paul has always been a fair & open-minded person, so I’m sure he’ll take any reasonable suggestion under consideration.

    I’m sorry that life and circumstances have brought this day about, and that Paul feels this has to be done. I am not bashing any motives, and I do understand both the reasons behind it and the angst this all caused. I am not going to overreact either way. I am admittedly torn and there are good arguments on both sides, if you dig beneath some of the hyperbole and vitriol. I will see how I feel when it comes time to decide. Either way, best of luck Paul. You have given this community of people who Get It a place to convene and hang out.

    I can understand the rationale for paywalling original content, but most of the site is aggregated from other providers that are also increasingly paywalled. I would have a hard time justifying a monthly fee to be redirected to content that I have to pay again to actually read.

    Well this is unfortunate. I think the hard part of all this is it’s likely to hurt Paul more than help him. It’s delaying the inevitable unless you can come up with some non-traditional way to handling this.

    I’ll hang around as long as I can. … But maybe it’s time for someone new to start blogging about it all.

    I honestly hope this is what happens. I have read this ever since it began and his espn pieces before. And no, I won’t be paying cause honestly my opinion has went down about uniwatch, the crossed out names of stadiums, the anti-corporate views, that are a bit much (overpriced polyester shirts). I hope other bloggers surface, as yes I still read this every day, but mainly the ticker. I do still wish Paul the best and understand why he is doing this, and no doubt he’ll get people (hell, he has people literally proofreading he never asked to). So best of luck Paul

    Been a reader since the early days, will continue to be. Gothamist and Gawker shut down last year and I haven’t found adequate replacements for either so for those that feel they can get their uni news elsewhere, good luck…..

    Gothamist is apparently coming back, but I don’t know how similar it’ll be to what it was…

    As for Gawker, good lord do I miss them.

    I enjoy Uni Watch and I agree that web advertising is annoying and intrusive. Incidentally, that’s also the way I feel about your political commentary. If I’m gonna pay to read a blog about uniforms you gotta agree to keep your white guilt to yourself. Or find a different outlet for it. I don’t need a lecture on how the San Diego Padres alienate baseball fans that don’t believe in Christianity.

    It’s incredible that, 20 years ago, nobody would have thought twice about plunking down 10 bucks a month for a couple niche-interest magazines that most likely end up in the recycle bin a few weeks later. Put the same thing on the internet and ask for compensation and people freak out. What’s the difference?

    I’ve been checking this site out on a daily basis since I was a freshman in college. That was thirteen years ago. That’s a lot of free entertainment. How in the holy hell could I possibly complain about the content’s creator and curator asking for payment for that entertainment, especially when I’m well aware of the financial difficulties that content-creators face on the internet these days?

    That said, I certainly understand the initial reluctance to adding another subscription to my mounting monthly auto-renews.

    physical things are always easier to pay for, and if you toss them in a week that’s your choice. Many people have boxes of those old magazines around. paying for the electrons with no tangible asset in return is much harder.

    Seeing these comments, it seems that your readership will become a lot less mean-spirited post-paywall.

    This, x1000.
    Also, maybe there can be a lesson for commenters on paragraph breaks, and how to use them.

    I understand the reasons and it kinda makes me sad. Sadder is some of the vitriol in the responses. I only read the articles and havnt looked at the ticker in years. If I had to pick my favorite content it would be hard to pick between travelogues or culinary corner.

    Curious if you explored Patreon. It allows content creators to still have some free content, but make other content exclusive to paying Patreon at different $ levels

    I enjoy Uni-Watch very much. I’ve been a regular here for at least 8 or 9 year. Maybe more. As much as I love the site I don’t think I’d want to pay for it. The content is great but it’s just a fun way to spend 10 or 15 minutes. Reminds me of Howard Stern. I used to really enjoy Stern in the 1980s/90s but when he went to pay radio I left him behind and didn’t go back. It’s interesting. Sometimes in life we have these things we think we reallly need or enjoy but when we lose them they are not missed and easily replaced. Paul will still appear on ESPN and has a Twitter account. The Chris Creamer site is also a really good way to keep up with uniform content. I’ll definitely miss Uni-Watch but I doubt I’ll miss it enough to pay for it. As for pricing I drink coffee. I pay $1.65 a day when I buy a cup on my way to work. Far less than $5. Anyway I completely understand where Paul is coming from. By working as hard as he does on the site it’s completely reasonable to expect a decent salary. I’ll miss this site and I wish Paul a lot of success. As for the free journalism I think most would agree the cats out of the bag. As long as there are free news sites, nobody will pay.

    I know this was a hard decision. Even if I didn’t work here I’d support this place, because it’s an important voice in the sports world.

    Much respect for having the balls to go through with this even though you knew it wouldn’t be popular.

    “Virtue signalling” is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.


    This is a GODSEND for me as I teach Economics at local college and will use these next couple months as real breathing example of “Completely Free Market vs. Pricing Properly in the market” discussions.

    Oh Hallelujah!

    Much like CableTV that charges 100 bucks a month for everything even though I only want ESPN, CBS and History channel and can’t buy them ala carte, I only like certain sections of Uni_Watch. I would love to see stats on what gets read versus what is skipped over.

    Personally, I can’t fathom paying for soccer, hockey, the Native American section, the what I cooked on my grill section, or the guess what I did last night but I suspect Paul has the stats to know what his readers look at.

    And my oh my! What if a new site pops-up that offers the same timesuck/kill that Uni-watch did but for free? I used to read NYDN every day but now that they charge I am on the NYPost.

    Kudos to Paul for this landmark decision and kudos to all of you for paying for subscription since this will be going on my Instituion’s credit card and we all know who picks up the tab for our universities!

    Keep up the great work Paul and this has to end better than the decision to split up UniWatch into two sections per day.


    Read Uni-Watch religiously. Love it.
    However, as a senior on a fixed income it will be a stretch.
    Any possibility for a discount for us Golden Agers?


    I’ve been reading the uni-watch blog nearly daily (except weekends, sorry Phil) since it’s inception. I’m debating if it would be worth it to me to pay. I skip some of the content and certain features I just don’t have interest in, while others I find fascinating.

    My biggest question for you would be, how do you expect to get new readers?

    If you have a paywall, yes, existing readers will stay but no one is going to pay if they’ve never seen your content. I really don’t get going full paywall. Why wouldn’t you consider something like Patreon?

    If it’s in the $30/year range I’d be good with it. If you can’t make it work for that I’d understand, too. Not sure how much over that $30 I could go, though.

    Yeah, the more I think about it $30 a year is my ceiling. I will say if he had this amount it would probably make sense to only offer an annual subscription, and not have a monthly fee. One site I belong to did this to make it easier for their bookkeeping.


    First-time, long time. I know this is difficult and this might not work for you considering you’re a one-man operation, but would you consider the following pricing model (borrowed from

    $50/year or $5/month for PRIME content. Limited adds for longer pieces and your personal stuff (e.g. road trips) Maybe a podcast, exclusive event invitations, ebay roundup etc. This would also include the ability to post comments.

    and a free basic account for daily uniform rundowns that include links to twitter but have more adds and no ability to comment.

    Just a thought.

    I applaud you for making the hard decision to go pay-based and, like others above, find it odd how strongly some people are reacting against it. But something has to be done about this race to the bottom that exists not only in online journalism but other areas of society (like huge corporate tax breaks). I’ve been coming here just about every morning since you launched and enjoy just about every bit of content you produce.

    All the snarky people chiming in to say goodbye clearly have no idea how hard it is to produce content almost every single day. Obviously they seem ok with the idea of just being given stuff, wonder what they would say if someone asked them to give away their work. Every time I think of doing something like blogging or youtubing in relation to my interests, I realize that maintaining the energy to do a) do it everyday and b) come up with fresh content consistently is so incredibly difficult.

    Best of luck on the decision and I hope fans stick with it, it’s not only a great site but great community

    Open Letter to Uni Watch:

    Completely understand and agree that content folks pay for everywhere else never should have been provided free of charge on the internet. Not sure how to fix it at this late stage but some system of payment is the only logical solution. I am willing and do pay for content on other sites. However, as this site will soon learn, once folks begin paying for content, the dynamic and expectation will change.

    As a daily reader since the site’s inception (and before), the tone on the site has unfortunately evolved over time. What was once a reporting on uniforms and history and slowly shifted to more editorialized comments based on personal preference. In an era when uniform changes, alternate uniforms etc. are at their peak (seemingly a high cotton moment for this site), the site continues to knock, ridicule, and demean any change or alternate uniform that does not adhere to his strict aesthetic preferences (just look at how many acronyms exist on this time for that purpose). While not ideal, the content provided is still interesting even with this backdrop. However, it’s not worth paying to learn the editor doesn’t like black so the back uniforms are going to be mocked, especially in a era when uniform information is more freely available.

    Meanwhile, political correctness and social issues have bled into the daily dialogue and somehow been juxtaposed with uniforms. Everyone is free to believe as they wish, but I am afraid you will soon discover that a lot of folks are OK skipping content, but not OK sending money to support content/views with which they disagree.

    All this is to say, a change to pay for content structure will be the last straw for me, as I will not be paying to be lectured on what I should or shouldn’t like uniform wise, nor will I be subsidizing political and social propaganda.

    My best advice would be to thoughtfully consider modifying some of the content/general structure on the site before launching a pay program. Revert back to more organic reporting on uniforms, with less editorialized and condescending viewpoints, especially involving politics or social issues.

    It will devolve into a Cult of Paul website. That’s where it has been going for a while now. It’s all about him and his twee hipster lifestyle.

    COTD right here:

    “buck up or fuck off”

    goddam that is so great i might register that as a website

    Love the transparency. Love the site. Not sure if I will pay for the content, but I don’t begrudge the decision.
    Here is a thought: One free month of content with every $20 spent on Uni merch. I’ve often been tempted to buy the shirts, but only have done so once (BFBS). If I knew it enabled me to the content, I would be swayed to buy more.

    Paul, I want to further comment on what several students have mentioned.

    I will pay full price. But, as a long-time software developer that has also been battling the race to $0, I can tell you that students and teachers never want to and will not pay full price. I have found that giving everyone with an .edu email a 50% discount goes a long way. Very few people try to scam the system (at least in my experience) and you’ll have some dedicated fans that will transition to full price once their student days are over.

    As someone who has gone back to school and obtained a .edu address again, I can attest that because I can afford to pay for a full subscription I will. And, I absolutely would have taken advantage of any discount offered to a .edu address when I was a student the first time in 2007 (which, coincidentally, is when I started reading Uni Watch daily).

    I realize I’m shooting myself in the foot here…

    My .edu address from undergrad forever forwards to my personal Gmail. If you’re really intent on collecting money, you might want to think about this one a bit more.

    I have no problem understanding the situation, or paying for it. Like the NYT, WaPo, or whatever, if you like it, it’s worth it.

    And thank you Phil as well. Tough decision – well at least there’s a couple of months to go before the change.

    $10/month = $120/year = $600 over five years. If $600 over five years is pocket change for you, kudos. Not everyone is as fortunate as you. Luckily, most people are not as callous as you.

    Except that it literally is pocket change if you do the math by day. Multiplying the numbers out into the future is kind of a straw man argument. It’s $600 over five years, it’s $1200 over ten years, and it’s $2400 over twenty years! Nobody is asking for any of that money right now, but $10 a month equals roughly $.33 a day.

    Sheesh, look at Richie Rich laughing at all the people that aren’t just like him! Now THIS is just whats needed!


    I didn’t even need to read through the lede (but I did anyway)! Paul, no matter the cost, I’m in – I am happy to pay for the pleasure and enjoyment I get from the daily content. I am proud to be a Uni Watcher!

    Thank you to the UniWatch gang for all the continued effort you provide to people like myself. Your character is portrayed through your website and you have always had the gift of impecable honesty. I feel like im reading content from my friends when I read your site and I look forward to it each and every day. Having the ability to freely comment on a civilized platform is also a major plus that your site has always provided.

    I for one will be willing to pay for content in hopes it is not at an exorbitant rate. I pay 50 dollars every year to play fantasy football and would gladly give it up for a 12 month daily refreshment. I also coach Baseball and feel guilty for not sharing more of my own personal content with the gang. When i read the article today, it made me realize we could all do more to help out UniWatch.
    Last thing ill say is that UniWatch’s motto is “for people who get it”. I apreciate the honesty UniWatch always holds true to. If you cant understand why paid content is necessary than you, in fact, do NOT get it. Best of luck in the future to the whole gang and I hope to send some content to you soon.

    I’m not going to lie, Paul. This hurts. I love Uni-Watch. It’s been part of my daily routine for more than a decade. I know you’ve broached this subject in the past and I hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, because I knew it would be the death knell for many people.

    I am torn. But I have some suggestions that would make me much less torn, should you take them to heart.

    The first suggestion I’d make is to reconsider the price. $3-$5 per month is far less daunting than the $5-$10 figure you floated. Sticker shock is a very real thing for people. Though you could argue going from free to any amount is a bridge too far for most people, I think the lower price point helps soften that blow.

    Also, speaking for myself, I enjoy the supplemental content that Uni-Watch offers outside of just uniform news. Culinary Corner is especially great, as I love cooking and trying new foodstuffs. If I’m going to pay for Uni-Watch, I’d honestly ask you for more of that kind of content, on a regular basis. If you yourself don’t have a new recipe to report, consider asking the readers to submit their own. I think I know the Uni-Watch community enough to know that they absolutely would participate.

    Adding to that point, I also enjoy your editorial content on non-uniform issues as well. Most I agree with, some less so, but even the things I don’t 100% agree with make me think and engage with issues I otherwise may not think about or engage with at all. To me, that is valuable and I’d like to see that content continue to exist at Uni-Watch, and maybe even be expanded on. I can already see from some comments others will not agree.

    Lastly, I think with a subscription should come some manner of tangible good, be it a membership card, stickers, patches, buttons, or T-shirt discounts of some kind. This goes a long way to making people feel they are getting something for their money. Sure, they get the content, which is the point, but for many people, once they’ve consumed that content, it’s no longer tangible. Throwing them something as simple as a sticker goes a long way.

    Anyway, I won’t be abandoning ship just yet. Uni-Watch has been good to me. So I’ll see this through and see where it goes. Best of luck, Paul.

    Simple solution: write one in-depth column a week, and treat this like the personal hobby blog that it is, rather than a journalistic enterprise. Don’t bother with a ticker, or breaking news headlines (or Twitter, for that matter). Then you don’t have to worry about the money, or the time-suck. After all, who expects to receive money for pursuing their hobby? On ESPN you’re a journalist, but here you’re just Paul and these are your interests. Expecting people to pay for that is a bit much.

    Not to become another back seat driver, who admittedly does not understand the economics of a blog, but I would be tempted to 1. Keep it free 2. Reduce the frequency, drop the weekends, let Phil mostly run the show – maybe not every day but say three days a week say, Paul makes the occasional appearance as you see fit.

    I myself have noticed (I don’t think I’ve imagined it) a decline in the comments made, which to me is part of the site’s appeal. I think if the column was cut to three days a week, you still keep most of the audience, and have a whole lot more time and maybe enrich the debate that sometimes takes place.

    I’ve been a reader for 8+ years (albeit an infrequent commenter) and am unsure whether I will subscribe. Regardless of what I end up doing, thanks for the years of work you’ve put into this, and thanks for giving me something to read every day.

    Paul –

    Thanks for everything you’ve done to create and sustain this community and for providing such engaging and high quality content. I, like many, have been a daily reader of uni watch for 12+ years (I vividly remember the Slate and Page 2 years) and plan to be a uni watch reader for as long as this media project exists.

    Reading the comments today has been a fascinating microcosm of the macro trends in journalism over the past few years. The internet is maturing as an economic model and everything on it can’t be free.

    I will gladly pay, as I’ve been reading your content (for free) since around 2005, when I first came across you on ESPN.

    Love you.

    I definitely understand the decision to start charging. Couple of suggestions though –

    1) I feel like a lot of people would skip paying your website and instead go on twitter and search your mentions. So would it even be worth it for you guys to continue accepting ticker submissions through twitter anymore?

    2) If the ticker will be behind a paywall, then there will presumably be less people submitting content, driving the quality down. So there has to be some incentive for people to continue submitting content. Maybe that is a certain number of free articles each time your submission makes the ticker. Even if that isn’t possible, then something as simple as letting the submitter know that their submission made the ticker would still motivate people to continue submitting content even if they couldn’t access the ticker.

    From my perspective, if I didn’t have access to the ticker, I would still be OK with submitting content to the ticker as long as I knew that at least some of the content I was sharing actually made the ticker.

    The system I’m used to is:

    1) I send ticker tips to uniwatch

    2) The next morning I see that some of the tips I sent are on the ticker.

    3) I continue sending ticker tips to uniwatch with the understanding that some of my tips will probably continue to make the ticker.

    Being a former journalist, I totally understand the need for a paywall in today’s market…
    That being said, I’d be will to part with $5 a month (or $50 annual?) for a subscription – but I do like the idea of credits for contributions

    Like many, I like this website a lot, but won’t be subscribing.

    You know much more about the economics of this and have obviously thought long and hard — I wish you the best of luck. If there is still some free content, I am likely to check it out. At the very least, I’ll watch for your ESPN columns.

    While I’m not sure whether I think your decision on the economics of this is correct, I am certain that I think you should follow your heart on managing your work-life balance. If this somehow lets you escape as much distraction from Twitter, your cellphone, or whatever and lets you enjoy your life more, it’s worth it.


    I’ve been reading since the Page 2 days and the first blog post. I can’t even recall how long that’s been. More than anything I appreciate the transparency and how much you’ve put of yourself into Uni Watch. You’ve never been a character or hidden behind an avatar or shilled for a company the project has always been you.

    Frankly my interest in uniforms has dwindled over the past few years because the market has become over saturated (a uni industrial complex of sorts) but I continue to read daily for your voice. I especially like your deep dives into obscure topics, uni related or not. Most days I skim right past the ticker because I’ve seen the info the night before on Twitter. I’m not yet decided on a subscription but I would certainly consider it and more than anything I appreciate you doing what’s best for you and being transparent to your audience. As a loyal reader I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you for all your hard work that you’ve put into and I will certainly consider a subscription. All the best.

    With how you have spoken in the past the headline made me think that you were goin to tell us about the end of uni watch. I’m glad it’s just moving to a subscription model. I visit the site every single day so I have no problem paying. I will say that the $5 a month/$60 a year is the fairest price point.

    Also reading since page 2 & daily reader since the first blog post. It was fun. Creamer breaks uni news first nowadays.

    As a stirrup lover, and as a daily reader, count me in as a paid subscriber. My morning routine is not complete without reading Uni-Watch. Keep up the good work, Paul, and long live Uni-Watch!!

    I am a long-time reader, and this may be the first comment I have posted.

    First, I want to thank Paul and all of the site’s contributors (including all the readers) for the daily enjoyment I have received from visiting Uni Watch for more than 10 years. I appreciate all of the work that goes into producing this content. Even though I have rarely commented, I certainly feel a kinship with an internet community that shares a similar passion about uniform aesthetics.

    I do not currently subscribe to any paywall websites, but this will be my first. I am generally opposed to paywalls, but I’m reconsidering in light of Paul’s commentary. My opposition to paywalls likely results from being able to find the same information for free somewhere else and being accustomed to an environment where “some idiot” made everything free on the internet, and so that’s what I now expect. But as others have stated, this content is extremely unique and thoroughly researched, and I value that enough to pay something close to $5/month or $50/year.

    I have seen several comments today about how expectations would change if readers were paying for the content. Perhaps they could be best addressed in a survey about what prospective paying customers currently like the most on the site.

    I will echo that I likely would not have paid for this 10 years ago as a student. I think a discount for .edu addresses and senior citizens would be helpful. I do not contribute to the ticker, but I have purchased t-shirts and socks. I do think that some kind of remuneration for contributions and/or merchandise purchases should be considered.

    I also wonder about the effect that this could have on attracting new readers. As someone who has never paid for a website before, I do not know how others make a decision to subscribe. I can easily make this decision because I was able to read the content for 10 years, and I know that I very much like it.

    Lastly, I have not met Paul (or any of the other contributors) personally, but I have never had anything other than professional, respectful, and courteous experiences through e-mails or their work on the site. It seems wrong to attack Paul’s character after he has offered plenty of supporting detail on how he came to this decision.

    And one proofreading comment for the ticker: The AAA team in Buffalo, NY is called the “Buffalo Bisons” with an ‘s’ on the end, even though ‘bison’ is the proper plural form of ‘bison’ in English.

    As an academic, the model of giving production away for free has ruled the roost for longer than I can remember. We sell our time teaching for money and earn our reputations publishing scholarship for free. Doesn’t help with your situation, just a musing on the gig economy.

    Your column is the first thing I read every single day for the past 4 years of my life. I am more than happy to support something that has brought me so much joy. #ThankYouPaul

    I support you 100%. I consider your site the premier place to go for uniform and logo news, and I understand the changes you’ll have to make in order to stay afloat. I’ll still be here come April and beyond, best of luck.

    I will actually expect you to work more, not less.

    Right now, I sometimes open the site and instead of a lede about unis I find a fuzzy picture of you at the beach. I shrug (metaphorically) and say to myself what you often say in the comments: It’s Paul’s site. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to read it. But once I am paying for a uni site, I expect a uni site. Then there are the days when I click on the site and there is no content because you had something else to do. Rare, but it happens. Not if I’m paying.

    Similarly, typos, broken links, etc.; you get what you pay for. I would expect those to be gone once I pay.

    Then there is the question of weekends and your annual vacation. Some people like Phil’s work. I don’t. Not saying I’m right or they are right. But I don’t want to pay for his work. Will you have, like The NY Times, a weekday only subscription? Will you give us enough notice of your break so that we can unsubscribe for the month?

    Again, I know there are people who like the travelogues and “journalism” that consists mainly of the use of strike through text. But when I make a decision to pay, I have to decide if what I am getting is worth it.

    (Sorry if this repeats prior posts. Just woke up in Australia and did not read all 275+ prior posts.)

    Typos will not magically disappear, unless we get enough paying customers for me to hire a full-time proofreader (which I suppose is possible, although not likely).

    I have been a part of the Uni Watch community since its onset. Even more so, Uni Watch has been a part of me.
    I know it’s hyperbole to say so, but not having Uni Watch would be like losing an appendage. My family and friends would be saddened if I did not have it. It’s something about me that they love and appreciate.
    I am nowhere near wealthy, but I can afford it. I can’t afford not to afford it.
    I’m a school teacher, I have a beautiful wife and daughter, and I love Uni Watch. I am a very lucky man.

    Hey Paul,
    Sorry to hear the news. I’ve read UniWatch, on a regular basis, for about ten years. I won’t be subscribing, but I wish you the best.

    I pay for public radio and television, even though I don’t have to. I subscribe to magazines I like even though I could get the context much cheaper on other platforms. Hell, I even kick in a couple bucks to a good busker on the subway from time to time.

    We need to support the content we enjoy, or else it goes away.

    Count me IN.
    This has been my favorite daily read for years. You’ve informed and entertained me for free, and deserve to be compensated.
    Put me down for an annual subscription.

    I will definitely subscribe to the new model because I wish to support you as an integral individual and great writer and for the hard work you put into this site. While I am not a journalist I agree that good, invigorating journalism is in decline, and would like to be part of the change to help revive it, or at least sustain what’s left.

    As someone who supports a number of projects via Patreon (podcasts, books, …) and a membership holder and t shirt buyer, i would not be opposed to paying for Uniwatch, assuming the price is right.

    In 2018, I would rather pay directly to someone for ad-free content than an endless string of pop up videos or blue apron/razor/audible podcast spots.

    I have been an avid reader of Uni-watch for about a decade. I appreciate your diligence in running the site for so long. Honestly I have not decided if the content is worth paying for. I do request that when the “new” website is up and running that you allow at least a week of free access so the readers we can decide if the content is worth the price.

    With that said I have always had an issue with the pay model in general including newspapers, magazines, etc. And this ins’t directed at you specifically but since you are a journalist it applies. I have always found it hypocritical that journalists will fight for freedom of the press and the Freedom of Information act yet charge the reader for that same information. I am sure you would not be such a willing participant if you had to pay for your information. Pay the equipment mangers for their inside information, pay for your interviews, pay for photos of new uniforms send in by your fans, pay for links to use in the ticker. I do not know you personally but I would guess that you did not get into journalism as a way to get rich. As a money grab. I would guess its more about your passion and a desire to express yourself as an artist. To be able to set your own schedule and explore new projects. Would that Paul from years ago be supportive and happy by what has transpired today? I always have felt that all forms of the arts should be free. Websites and paper/magazines, music and art. All free. If someone wants to make a good living than one should not be a journalist, or musician or painter.

    That is just my opinion.

    So it’s your opinion that writers, journalists, etc., don’t deserve the opportunity to make a “good living” with their skills? All due respect, but as someone who makes his living writing, I find that patently ridiculous.


    I’ve been a looooong time reader. I enjoy uniforms and I love the news updates. The news is often broken best here, and the small things that don’t make the major media have a place here.

    I commented occasionally in the past, and I’ve chipped in a minor ticker item or two. I met you (Paul) at the Duluth Curling Club when you came to learn the game.

    I’m disappointed to hear this. Not in you for making the call, because I believe you have a right and need to do this, and while I disagree with your general feel about journalism I think sites trying to better monetize their value are doing something worthwhile and I hope it works. I believe we’ll be better off with good media options that make money.

    But while Uni Watch holds value to me, it doesn’t hold enough value for me to pay for. Basic reasons:

    1. I don’t have $5-$10 per month for any sort of reading subscription. I’m not poor, but I’m not rich, either.

    2. I enjoy this site, but if I had $5 per month to pay for a site, this would not be the first site I would subscribe to. There are too many other options, including a couple of major national newspapers, the Athletic, and others.

    3. As a couple of others have alluded to, paying for this site would cause me to have a more personal investment in its content. And it would make content that I wasn’t a fan of harder to overlook. One issue that a small minority of readers may share with me: the political perspectives that are shared. You are, of course, free to hold and express them and should do so as much as you want, but they make the site less attractive to pay for.

    BUT: Please don’t take these minor issues as a condemnation of the site or the move to a fee model. These are nits. For years you have provided good content that I enjoy reading for free. My takeaway here is not anger, and while I am naturally disappointed, it’s not disappointment either.

    Instead, I would like to say: Thank you. This is a lot of work, and it has been enjoyable, and I will enjoy as much as I can. And I sincerely hope that you will find good fortune and adequate funding in this new step.

    I have been a reader for probably the last 10 years, maybe longer who knows. Site was always great and a lot of good content. Even enjoyed the culinary corner.

    I do think that $10 is too much. I won’t pay for this site for a three reasons, two of which are twitter.

    1. Whatever you see on this site can be seen on twitter eventually. With the exception of uniform typos. Was nice everything was on one list.

    2. I am busier now.

    3. The ticker has become just a list of twitter links. This wouldn’t be a big deal except my work has twitter blocked so it’s hard to justify paying to not being able to see what is being talked about.

    Good point on the Twitter links. I abhor Twitter and hate when I open a link up before seeing it’s a Tweet.

    Wow. This one is a tough pill to swallow, but the medication is needed.

    Paul, I too looked at the idea of closing down my blog last year. It’s been over a decade, I have nearly 4000 entries, it has taken me places and to events I’d never dream of getting to, and it has been a place where we’ve fostered friendships over sports. I think, for those reasons, I’m still writing.

    That being said, my blog has become less deadline-driven. Real life and the radio show often take priority over sitting down and scribing a long-winded article on the minutia of some hockey-specific piece of news. That’s not to say that I don’t still do it. Rather, I put me ahead of writing because it’s NOT my job, it’s my hobby.

    For you, it’s different. The industry has changed dramatically, the landscape has become much more barren, and I get your dilemma. Honestly, it sucks, and I wish it would change for the better instead of always being for the worse.

    I don’t visit often enough to warrant paying for an annual subscription, but I hope you’ll find a way to keep opportunities for meet-ups, store purchases, and other revenue-drivers alive for non-subscribers. Our meet-ups in Minneapolis/St. Paul are some of my best memories, and we’ll always be able to chat via email about hockey-related aesthetics.

    Wishing you the best, bud. Here’s hoping this makes you a nice bundle of cash for all the work you put in.

    I was wondering what the heck happened to you Teebz, in my early days of reading Uni-watch – the two individuals who post comments I remember most are you and Ricko.

    Very much still around, but life and the blog and the radio show and the weekly hockey broadcasts started to really eat up my time. I still lurk, I still toss Paul and Phil stuff via Twitter, but there are days where I just don’t have the time. ;)

    Paul has been dropping many hints over the past few years that he was ready to retire the website so I’ve been mentally preparing for that day. People complaining about the paywall should thank Paul for the years of enjoyable content and just walk away as if Paul did end the website. The end was near anyway but maybe not quite as near now as Paul tries to see how long his new model can last.

    For the recored, I’m undecided if I will pay. If I don’t then I just want to say thanks to Paul, Phil and everyone else.

    I’d gladly pay to support the site. I get seven days of interesting content that I enjoy, much of it unique.

    If stop allowing people to tell you every time an apostrophe is out of place and stop posting fan fiction (ledes or anywhere else, tired of seeing the 400th time how someone would redo so and so’s uniform), I’ll pay.

    I wills say $5-10 is probably too much. $2-4 may get you more subscribers. I have no idea if that is true though or am I basing it on anything. Just a though I’d always had that if websites charged a buck a month people would eventually pay and those that didn’t, who cares.

    Hi Paul,
    No matter everyone’s feelings on the pay model and the economics of journalism, I just wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire Uni-watch team. I was relatively late to the game (not finding the site until your Page2 Story “The Untold Story Behind the Patriots Logo in 2011), but over the past 6.5 years, Uni-watch has been how I started my day. I still devour any topic you present from the mainstream to the mundane.

    The biggest thing I have always appreciated from Uni-Watch was finding acceptance among like-minded individuals. Before finding the site, I thought I was the only one who “got it.” Thanks to Uni-watch, I not only found a community of my peers but have had my thoughts validated and appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish you the best and can not wait to see where the Uni-verse goes next!

    I would not have been surprised at a retirement announcement. Uni Watch has to be incredibly time consuming. I understand the necessity to make Uni Watch a paid subscription, but I don’t think I could pay. Since I retired and can’t ‘waste’ work time reading it, I find I don’t read Uni Watch as much, and rarely look at it outside of baseball season. A friend emailed me the link to today’s edition because he “never looks at it anymore and won’t pay”. If you could reduce my cable bill by $10 a month, I’d happily give it to you, Paul. That is pretty much the only thing left I pay to read or watch. I have cut my newspaper subscription to Sundays only and am considering dropping that too. If there was a baseball-season-only subscription option, I might consider that. Good luck, Paul. Its been a great run and I hope you can find a way to continue.

    i am good with paying. I love the site but never got around to joining because i could not decide what the back of my card would be! As a result, no revenue for Paul. I did buy a few things over the years on the site, however.
    Regarding the subscription, please make it an annual plan. I reward myself each year on my birthday ( March 1 in fact) with my annual subscription to Time it to MLB opening day. The site and content are worth it for those of us with this obsession.

    Paul has the right to do whatever he would like to do with HIS site. It’s a cool site for sure. I’ve enjoyed the uni previews for the big sports in years past. I’m not surprised to hear this since he sells memberships, T-shirt’s, mini helmets, etc. I also wouldn’t say I read his posts for FREE since I pay to to have internet. I just don’t pay him. Good luck to Paul and his site.

    I’ve had a busy workday, so I’ve had only minimal time to read the previous comments. I hope to go back and read more of the discussion later. Apologies if any of these reactions / suggestions have been covered in previous comments:

    1) I place enough value on Uni Watch as part of my life and daily routine that I would pay for the content. I would prefer something closer to $5 a month, even if that means maintaining some advertising. I think there are certain advertisers who fit the ethic and culture of Uni Watch, and I don’t find their ads disruptive.

    2) Providing some form of discount/credit/compensation for regular contributors – both Ticker submissions and more substantive content – seems like a reasonable request. It’s one thing for us readers to contribute when it feels like we’re all in this together, in a sense, to create great content for free. Asking readers to continue contributing to the site’s success AND pay full price for the privilege feels a bit askew to me, on principle. Plus, a compensation-for-contribution model may be what allows someone like Gene Sanny to stay engaged. (Don’t leave us, Gene!)

    3) Perhaps you could consider a tiered subscription model where someone could pay for access to the Ticker as standalone content. Despite what some readers have said about the idea that Ticker just compiles what everyone could find for themselves, I think there is tremendous value in the aggregation of this information. If someone isn’t inclined to pay for access to the whole site, maybe they’d still check in, at a reasonable price point, for the Ticker.

    4) One thing I would want as a subscriber is a robust, easily searchable and well-indexed site archive with a user-friendly search interface. Also, it would be great if the archive could preserve links as much as possible. I realize that digitally preserving linked pages would require quite a bit of work, but perhaps it could become part of the routine of the Ticker compilers.

    By the way, thanks, Paul, for the thoughtful way you’ve approached this topic with your readers. You’ve mentioned enough times in the past that you don’t love the advertising model and have considered the subscription model that today’s announcement doesn’t feel like a blindside to me. I appreciate you being transparent with us.

    Like some of the others above me, I too have been a long time reader (10 plus yrs) but a very rare commenter. I’ve seen this site grow into a rather large success of providing top- notch journalism in regards to uniforms.

    For the most part I never really agreed with Paul’s stances on anything. Purple, Advertisers/Sponsors on clothing, the placement of makers marks, the introduction of camo, pink, stars and stripes etc on uniforms, the ridiculous usage of terminology to describe things that not everyone agrees with ( an example is color RUSH… yes, some combos may be ugly, but not every single uniform needs to be described as color RASH as the letter of the law)

    but in the end I’ve always respected the fact that it’s his website, his commentary, and I’m just here to watch.

    To pay for more of the same, however, is where I will throw in the towel.

    No offense to Paul or to any of the weekend staff, because you all work very hard and I appreciate that, but I’ve tended to stop coming to visit uni watch as often as I have been simply because I find the product to be too in depth, or watered down, or whatever you would like to call it. Gone are the days of this website being simply a place for Paul to break uni news or creating an exclusive article that made it’s way over to the ESPN site.

    I completely skip over the weekend posts entirely. 5 and 1, scoreboards, contests..picture recolouring…uni tracking….DUCK tracking… all deviate away from the main premise of the site.

    I appreciate the effort of collectors corner, but can’t be bothered to click on a dozen or more links to look at vintage items.

    I now see the financial reasoning behind the naming wrongs t-shirts…but seeing those shirts every other day was annoying as anything else on this website. I’m pretty sure it got to the point where every single team of the big 4 has some sort of shirt design on wherever they used to play, save from the Yankees, unless there was a shirt that says I miss old Yankee stadium.

    DIY’s are interesting but only serve to those who care enough about the process. Do I find it interesting that somebody repainted electric football game players into pats and eagles? Sure. Do I want to read 3000 words on how they did it? No. (As an aside, the guy with the diy jerseys [waffleboard?] created some very interesting pieces over the years.)

    Same with Mr. Ullman, he’s done some incredible work over the time I’ve read the site.


    As per the ticker…. which I’m assuming a good majority of the readership go straight to or enjoy the most on the website…
    I figured the skins watch would have been done away with months ago. I understand Yahoo is sort of in the same boat so the section still holds relevance, but the obscure articles about fill in the blank high school were redundant.

    Same with color on color matchups. Same with central state university going GFGS. The following 16 colleges have tequila sunrise jerseys on today.

    It’s a lot of redundancy and yes that’s the nature of the game and how it’s changed from this website since 2009. But it’s not worth trying to get through it all for free let alone for a monthly payment, just to finally read an exclusive here for a major league team to introduce something.

    Paul maybe that’s where your dilemma with your time lies. If you decided to cut back on all of the incoming info and focus on what you feel is most important to you and your readers it might free up your site and your reporting. Maybe you already do feel as though all of these features are a important part of uni watch. It’s sadly made me take a step back over the past 6 months or year and now I guess it will be completely. If you still plan on doing exclusives or season previews on ESPN I will always stop and read those.
    If anything, you’ve taught me reveals happen at draft time, apostrophes are backwards, and that the way teams explain their new fabrics or colours or whatever through corporate stories is completely ridiculous. it took me 10 years, but I think I “get it”. So thanks for the memories.

    hey everyone! you can use my login credentials for the new site

    Password: Hayseed

    Just kidding! keep up the great work Paul, and I will be the first person to plop down the $10/month. It will be a nice change not to have all the “poors” in the comment section finally!


    Hi Paul.
    Thanks so much for your incredible dedication to this site. I’ve been a daily reader for a decade and as a retired journalist, I appreciate the challenges you face.
    Unfortunately, I’m a senior on a fixed income and won’t be able to sign on.
    The very best of luck!

    99% of the commenters sound like the guy who plowed the girl for years and once she asks for a ring they dump her.

    Tough crap, freeriders. Time to put a ring on this finger or just fondly recall your spank bank of uniwatch memories!


    Or maybe for most of us this blog became more like stockholm syndrome and while there was alot I didn’t care for, I still had the habit of reading it every morning, I will be GLAD to finally not here his vocabulary anymore, to see just Color Rush. 12 years ago, he was better and hell if he asked 10 years ago, maybe more would consider it, but this blog has gone downhill, and honestly it is hard to keep a daily blog fresh for 12 years, so it was bound to happen. And I never cared for his vacations or random activities.

    I didn’t know you could force people to read a blog. Is this like the updated version of A Clockwork Orange?

    The authorities have been contacted and are on their way to Brooklyn.

    Haha, maybe I did use too brutal of a term, I just mean since people were so used to reading to uni watch every morning even if they had problems with it, they still read it, plus it only takes a few minutes,

    Welp, this move is certainly Paul’s prerogative … and it will have been nice knowing him. Best wishes, and all that.

    I’m good with paying to see the content here. This has long been a go to for me in the mornings when I’m sitting at a loading dock.

    You deserve to get paid for the effort you put into the site, and I know myself and obviously a lot of other people enjoy the content. But, you lost me when you compared yourself to “craft brew” and the New York Times.

    The reality is you can make money off the site without charging people a subscription, but you choose not to. That’s a big distinction. People have become millionaires by recording themselves playing video games or opening kids toys on YouTube, yet you can’t figure out how to monetize this site? That’s great that you have all of these anti-advertising principles, but don’t act as if you’ve been done wrong because some “idiot decided to give away their content for free 20 years ago.” Countless companies, websites, bloggers, etc have made money with an ad supported model. That’s great that you want to live on the “no advertising” hill, but hopefully your website won’t die up there.

    Hi Paul,

    I’m still deciding whether I’ll sign up for paid content. I also love your site and don’t want to see it die. But I think you’re making a mistake by going behind a paywall. From reading the comments, it seems like about half the commenters are adamantly against paying (or they’re trolling) and the other half are happy to pay. But the commenters aren’t representative of your readership. Most people who read your site never leave a comment, and I think virtually none of those people will pay. So you’ll lose the vast majority of your readership, and you’ll have a hard time attracting new members. People who are going to subscribe will do so because Uni Watch is already part of their lives. But once you go behind the paywall, the only people who will have Uni Watch in their lives are the ones who have already subscribed.

    If you want to keep Uni Watch alive, my recommendation is to go with the pop-up ads and let people pay to go ad-free. I know you hate the idea of more advertising, but sometimes compromises are necessary. I think this is one of those times.

    All best,


    “Worst. Episode. Ever.”

    I’ll gladly pay for all of the excellent content that has brought me such joy for years. And although I’ve only bought two shirts I really enjoy seeing all of the new designs, so I hope you don’t completely get rid of the merch as a revenue stream.

    Will Uni Watch previews still go through ESPN as well? Answer has no bearing on whether I will pay for membership or not, just curious.

    As long as “uni-watcher” is part of my identity, I’ll pay to keep this magical bubble from popping. Paul, I appreciate what you’ve given me for the last ten years for free, and I look forward to supporting the site moving forward.

    I don’t even know how long I’ve been reading UniWatch. You’ve posted my links, included me in your contests and provided me with very interesting content. But I must admit, over the last few years, I’ve had so much going on between podcasts and other sites, that I sometimes just scan the ticker (if I remember to go to the site at all)

    I wish you good luck, Paul. As a UX designer, I know how quickly things evolve in this industry. I believe that UniWatch has overstayed it’s welcome if it can no longer be free.

    Thank you for all of the years of content and information.

    I guess I’ll have to search myself to find out when the Hickory Crawdads are wearing Avengers-inspired jerseys


    Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by teams and the colours of their kits and uniforms and think I have followed uni watch pretty much since the start so it’s a sad day that this becomes a pay site, I myself work in an industry that has saw a massive decline in the Internet age, but have adapted myself and the business I work for accordingly in an attempt to stay relevant, and while I understand the need to produce income to remain economically viable won’t another version of “Uni Watch” just pop up for free by some other blogger anyway, maybe not necessarily with the same insider info as Paul, but in a world where the latest news about uniform changes and concepts is usually from a leaked sourse anyway it will always find it’s way onto the free internet!

    This isn’t like some new February fools day prank, if not thanks Paul for all the good stuff you’ve brought us, but in a world where I have subscriptions coming out my ears this is one Expense I couldn’t justify!

    Oneonta and Vermont in the NYPL played a game July 31, 1999 where both teams, I believe, wore a variety of Negro League uniforms. It was certainly interesting seeing the teams have no uniformity in their garments.

    as someone who is disabled and as such income limited, goinng behind a paywall will meake me no longer enjoy this site as part of my morning web surfing routine…. i get the need for it, but a gofundme or kickstarter would be a better option… this is a sad decision man… DO NOT LIKE

    Not sure how people can criticize without even knowing the model or cost. It’s like knowing a uniform change is coming and hating it based on speculation before it’s even unveiled. You could end up with a Buffaslug, or a Dallas Stars (or some other widely acclaimed release).

    Learning about blowtorch steak here has changed my life, and I’m very likely in even though I don’t / can’t read every day and usually catch up with a whole week’s worth of posts on the weekend.

    What happens if people are essentially posting your content (or news breaks) on CCSLC or some other message board? Is that just a risk or will that be policed in some way?

    For what it’s worth, your work and those of Phil and your other assistants have tremendous value to me. I have no problem paying for quality and can’t understand why some do.

    If anyone here thinks Paul is doing this for any other reason than necessity they’ve got it all wrong.

    Some of the reactions here are extremely disappointing, though not surprising. We do live in the age of entitlement nowdays though don’t we?

    “Also, I’d like to be able pay Phil, Brinke, Alex, Kris, Jamie, and Anthony more than the embarrassingly small amounts I currently (under)pay them.”

    I didn’t know the other staff members were paid at all. Paul, has any of this been run by them? Have any offered to take a cut or accept no money? I’m not critical of them either way, just curious as to what all has been said by all parties concerned.

    Phil has known about this for a couple of days. The others learned about it today.

    They have not offered to work for less (why should they?), nor would I accept such an offer. They all deserve more, not less.

    They’ve all been in touch today to express their support (which I guess isn’t surprising, since I’m hoping the new system will allow me to give them a raise, but still).

    “They have not offered to work for less (why should they?)”

    To prevent a change to a new model and/or shutting down the site? I’d imagine this has led to sacrifices for everyone involved, I was just curious to see if anyone volunteered that or offered an alternative solution. An inside look at UWHQ, as it were.

    Count me in as somebody who totally supports your decision to do what needs to be done to make Uni Watch worth your time to continue to run. Whether or not I will be able to subscribe depends totally on what your final cost/format ends up being.

    One thought on this – I know in the past we used to butt heads a bit on political/social issues, and after discussing it with you I agreed to let things rest on a number of such issues and keep my comments mostly limit to uni-related matters.

    One reason I agreed to this was that I recognized that it was your site, your rules, especially since you were providing content to readers free of charge.

    Now, I understand that you’ll always want to moderate your comment section for civility, etc., but I am kind of wondering when the paywall is put up if you’d allow paying members of the site more leeway to discuss political and social matters that are brought up and related to the Uni-verse? Obviously there would have to be some rules and standards, but quite often you end discussions here with some variation of “that’s enough of this, let’s move on”, which I have no problem with as a free visitor but if I were a paying subscriber I might not feel the same way.

    Would like to hear your thoughts…I know you don’t want the comment section to turn into non-stop debates but since social issues are brought up by you and others it seems reasonable that paying subscribers would be free to fully express agreement or disagreement.

    I’m always happy to discuss issues that come up on the site, Dan. I usually try to cap those discussions when (a) the people involved, myself included, are just chasing their tails and rehashing the same points and and over without actually saying anything new, and/or (b) the issue is something we’ve already covered a jillion times in the past.

    I hear ya. There is a fine line between moderating a user-feedback site and censoring it.

    My main point was just something for you to consider – paying members might feel entitled to more leeway in commenting than what your current standards are.

    1. I’m IN and will continue supporting this excellent, niche journalism that truly can’t be found anywhere else. I’m in because you are a journalist. Not a blogger (though you run a blog). Not a content producer (though you produce content). I respect the integrity and process that you bring to your work, and I am committed to supporting it and ensuring it continues. You are worth the money, and I definitely can’t say that about the vast majority of people who post stuff on the Internet. Even if they work for popular websites.

    2. Keep the non-uniform content flowing. It’s a huge part of the delight of this site. I like Paul Lukas as a personality and identify with and am inspired by your lifestyle and experiences. UniWatch is like GQ or Esquire, but for a different sort of guy (or gal).

    3. Do some sort of paywall, but as another comment posited, it’s true that it’s important to think carefully about the slight long-term ramifications of taking your content out of the larger public view. A pay wall takes away the opportunity for people to discover your work and fall in love with it (or realize that they too, Get It™). Yes, in the grand scheme of things our community is niche and small, but you don’t want to freeze the community forever at April 2018…you want to make sure new people are discovering your content all the time and deciding to invest in it. It’s harder to motivate people to make that decision if the product is largely an unknown good. One thing you’ll hopefully still have going for you for a long time will be the 10-12 ESPN columns per year that serve as a discovery point into this wonderful world.

    Can’t get this kind of content anywhere else. Will happily pay for this site – where do I sign?

    Some of the reactions here are disappointing. This is a shit sandwich for Paul and he’s doing what he must do to keep things existing. I’m sure Paul doesn’t like the choices before him but he’s doing us all a great favor by being honest and showing us his process. That takes guts. A lot more guts than whining in a comments sections.

    I am especially frustrated with comparisons to much larger media companies. Paul isn’t the goddamned New York Times!

    I don’t like having to pay for stuff any more than the next person and I generally think that money is a corrupting force, but this is the world in which we live and it’s not changing any time soon. I’d rather not have to go to work every day, but I need money to feed and house myself so off I go every morning.

    I’ve read this site since the very beginning and will continue to do so because I enjoy it. Sure, I find some content less interesting than others but that’s life and everyone has a different take.

    As for the details, those will get sorted and they can always change. It’s not difficult to tell that Paul is thoughtful and cares about doing the right thing. He has my confidence.

    I read the news today, oh boy.

    Fo’ free.

    I can appreciate the economics of the situation and it really is easy people – if you want to stay you have to pay. It is hard mentally to pay for something you used to get for free but we value this things we pay for and it has been a good, long, free run. Times change and this is a reasonable model transition. Unless you can’t pay for some reason save the snide, churlish comments. No one wants to hear your thoughts on why you think UW/Paul and Co’s time and effort isnt worth something. Of course it is. But if it isn’t your cuppa, then adios.

    Forward, UW – trolls be damned!

    11XWS Champions

    P.S. The Mets are still pond scum.

    If you don’t want to pay for it… Don’t. As Paul has said many times, if you don’t like the content, don’t read it! Good stuff cost’t money, and we’ve been getting this for free for 12 years. Good Grief.

    There is NO PLACE on the Intergoogle that has the content that uni-watch does. Each day is like opening a little present – I never really know what’s going to be there, unless there has been news of a uni unveiling.

    I’ll pay. I hope you find a pricing model that works, and is fair.

    My only question is what if the pay-for-content model doesn’t work? Will this be the end?

    Oh, and I have another question – when is there gonna be a redesign the Bengals contest? Everything but the helmets is tired.

    I was an occasional reader over the years but I have become daily reader the past nine months and equally enjoy Paul’s take on music, art and food as the uni stuff. Right now I’m in for $5 but less sure at $10. Any thoughts on a discounted Monday to Friday plan. I love Phil but if it lowers the cost I am willing to pass on the weekend.

    I would also be down for periodic uni-watch beefsteak fundraisers to raise a little cash ; )

    I always wondered what lede topic drove the most comments. I can now stop searching archives – we have a winner!

    Get paid for your passion Paul. I am sure whatever model you decide on will be in the best interest of the Uni-verse.

    I’m echoing the sentiment of others, but I can literally think of 2 independent blogs I would be willing to pay for. This is one. That I have been reading every day for the better part of a decade for free makes it seem like a steal to me.

    Count me in.

    I’ve been reading since the beginning. I won’t be paying, but would accept pop-ups, etc.

    Whatever happens, I hope that in 22 years you are as content with your February 28 decision as you are now with your February 29 decision. God bless.

    I am dismayed to learn about the changes that are coming to Uni Watch. In reading all the comments that have been posted, I have to remind myself that this website isn’t going away, even though it sounds like it will. But it is getting out of reach, just like other things that I’ve enjoyed over the years. I used to buy The New York Times every weekday, but when it became too expensive, I decided to stop buying the paper and tried to keep up with it online. But you can only get so many articles each month before your access is cut off. Of all the options for this site that were mentioned, I would prefer this method over putting everything behind a paywall.

    Up to now, I’ve been reluctant to pay for anything I could want on my computer, but I’ve come to appreciate this website’s coverage of uniforms and logos, and other sports-related minutiae, so I might want to commit any amount of money you would charge after all; I have the next couple of months to make up my mind. In any case, congratulations on your emancipation, which helped to make this website possible. And good luck with whatever direction you decide to take it.

    I am in for sure. Not so sound lecture-y, but really, to expect an enterprise that takes this much time to create and curate to be free is kind of insane, frankly. I will say that I think a rate closer to the $5 than the $10 would bring in a hell of a lot more subscribers, but count me in either way.

    Just brainstorming, so maybe this won’t make sense. But perhaps you keep your paywall model, but also license your content to different outlets like The Athletic, Boston Sports Journal, or similar outlets (see article below). That way, subscribers to those magazines could also read UniWatch. This would help with people who won’t pay for UniWatch alone. You could seek a flat fee, or some metric based on web traffic or new subscribers, or some combo of these. Your reader base might be appealing to some of these outlets. link

    Just to expand on this: I may not want to subscribe to UniWatch alone or Boston Sports Journal alone, but very well could see paying for Boston Sports Journal + UniWatch.

    I am a Teenager who really enjoys this blog. You guys have my support. Maybe I can get a job in 2-3 years. But hey, thanks for keeping it cheap!

    I have read this blog for a little less than a year. Enjoyed every article!

    Though you did warn us that this day was coming, I’m sorry to hear this.

    I’ve been a daily lurker for a very long time. I discovered Uni-Watch when I was working a job that I quit in 2006, so it must have been very near the beginning. It is one of many sites, mostly blogs, that I still visit every day I’m at a computer. (Sorry, I never joined the membership. I know that makes me part of the problem, but I’m a firm believer in Groucho’s maxim of never joining any clubs that would have me as a member.)

    The Internet certainly isn’t what it was 10, even 5 years ago. You talk about the decline of journalism, and I totally agree. However, I don’t think that most of what happens here *is* journalism. Sometimes it is; the lede most frequently. And when it is, it’s pretty good. Sometimes it’s the best.

    But I feel that most stuff here most days isn’t even criticism but just opinion writing. While I love reading about Paul’s vacations and keychains and meat, that’s the sort of thing that I can’t justify paying for when I can still find enjoyable content from other blogs created and maintained by hobbyists who don’t need to monetize their opinions.

    (I speak as someone who maintains such a hobbyist blog website. Several, actually. While I wish they made money, they don’t. And as they are just my hobbies, I’m content to continue giving that content away for little to no compensation. I don’t mean that as apples-to-apples comparison to Uni-watch which I would hope has a much, much larger readership and admittedly does contribute to the world’s knowledge of what goes on behinds the scenes in sports design; I just mention it to help clarify where I’m coming from.)

    Best of luck going forward. I really hope it works out for you. Thank you for all the good times.

    I think $5 a month is fair for a site like this. $8 is pushing it.

    Like a few other people I don’t agree so much with Paul’s obvious political bends, and I can’t stand his obsession with rare meat. But i think anyone who agrees with his stance on uni-capitalism should consider it a duty – think of it like a uni-PAC – to donate a few bucks to the Cause. Uniform ads and logo creep are a disgrace, and perhaps we should be thinking about this site less like a content generator and more like an advocacy site.

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for discussing this. As a reader since 2006, I plan to pay when you start the new model. This site has meant a lot to me over the years. I want to thank you for consistently contributing so much amazing content and being a top notch journalist. (Also, thanks to the whole team for all of your contributions.)

    As others have mentioned, I anticipate that some readers will become more “demanding” about what they want to see. Consequently, there may be a lot of blowback against editorializing, taking the entire month of August off, etc. But I guess it is your choice as to whether or not you’ll listen to that feedback or disregard it. As you said, there may be more of a vibe of readers being “stakeholders.”

    My hope is that the new model will still allow users, including college students, to discover the content. I was in college when I started reading the blog in 2006, and I hope that base of readership will have the same opportunity to discover this content/community.

    Thanks for everything. I’m also really looking forward to the site redesign.

    I’ve been a huge fan of Uni-Watch since the periodic articles on the mothership and was stoked when my little brother informed me of the daily blog back in ‘06. Every day has started with that since – on a desk top in college, then a smart phone, then at work. I’ve grown a lot in that time and the only constant was this site. Every good day, every bad day, and every day in between began with a quick check of Uni-Watch. I’ll always be appreciative for that.

    That being said, I’m really a bigger fan of the ticker. The articles, culinary corner, and vacation blogs are sometimes enjoyable, but not something that I find actual value in. The ticker alone just doesn’t seem worth $10 a month for me when the information is also readily available elsewhere. I can easily afford it, but the juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze there. My only wish at this point is that you continue the partnership with American Trench and the stripe right socks – I’m a huge fan of them and have almost all of ‘em.

    I wish you guys nothing but the best and tip my cap to you, Paul, and the rest of the crew. You guys are and have always been great. Thanks for the memories.


    I am on the fence whether I will pay for UniWatch. There is one issue I will want to see addressed before I make my decision: censorship.

    I know Paul will edit or delete comments that he feels are not pertinent to the conversation he wants to have. I did not appreciate it the times it happened to me. Instead of complain, I withdrew from being an active contributor and remained a passive reader. My line of thought was, this is his site, he can run it the way he wants. If I don’t like, I can start my own site.

    But if I am going to pay for UniWatch, I need Paul to assure us that our comments will not be altered or censored. Without that pledge, I would not be willing to join the site.

    I also hope the redesign includes an improved commenting system. Having the comments constrained to a single day makes it impossible to have any sort of long-term discussion. Hopefully the new site will allow us to directly post photos and offer previews of linked pages.

    As far as pricing, my comparison will be DKpittsburghsports. I pay $30/year, and they have 6 reporters out in the field. How that price compares to the price to access one expert columnist doing most of his work from home will be the other part of my decision. I know the economics are different, and DKPS does have corporate partnerships, but fair or not, that will be my measuring stick.

    I do enjoy reading this site, and talking about it with my friends who don’t read it. I hope that continues in the future.

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed is absent from all of the comments today, it’s that through this entire blog Paul has been nothing but an open book with everyone who has taken to reading what he has to say. And not just with his concerns about the business model of the site, but with his life writ large. Put differently, if you think this is just a uniform blog, I’m not sure what you’ve been reading.

    I don’t just come here to read about uniform developments — that was the initial hook for me back in the mid aughts. I come because Paul is willing to give his voice to whatever is going on in his life, and it takes a special kind of writer to do that on a near daily basis for as long as he has without becoming guarded or jaded.

    So yes, if you don’t find value of paying for a uniform blog, then don’t. But I’m paying because I’ve gotten to learn more about a total stranger for a decade through this blog, and in the process have my perspectives challenged and broadened on a host of topics that I would otherwise not have been pushed.

    Duckpins and beers on me next time you’re in Maryland.


    As a long time reader and contributor, I have a great deal of respect for Paul and his team. I can only imagine how much the guy has going on every day, but he usually answers every email I send him, even when it’s something so obscure it probably doesn’t interest anyone on the planet but me.

    His explanation shows a level of clarity, transparency, and credibility that I wish a lot more people would possess (turns and stares down our nation’s capital).

    I especially respect Paul’s attitude towards advertising. I don’t know who it is who thinks auto play video and pop-ups in the middle of the reader’s experience make for good advertising, but they’re dead wrong. Frankly, it would’ve been easier for Paul to sell out with ads then to tell all of us something we don’t want to hear. I’m a big fan of people who don’t take the path of least resistance.

    Interested to see how this plays out. Some have fair points about determining the value, but in the end you just have to decide whether it’s worth it to you personally.

    I hope it works out for the best for Paul and his team. Change is always difficult, especially when it’s not our choice to change, and that’s the case as much or more for Paul as it is for us.

    I’ve been reading since day one, and even had my work featured a couple of times. I spend a lot of time reading a lot of websites. All of them are free. Most of them I would never pay for. But Uni-Watch is part of my daily routine. If there is one site worth my money, this is it. Paul, we’re all indebted to you for years of free, quality content. Do what you need to do, and continue to give us the content you do, but just as importantly you opinions as well. I don’t always agree… but isn’t that the point? They are conversation starters.

    Again, Uni-Watch is the only website I’d pay for, and the way I see it, I owe you for about a decade of “free samples.” Thanks again for the past. Looking just as forward to the future.

    As long as you remain passionate about the content you’re publishing, I think that you’ll see success with this model. You’ll lose a few, but even some of those guys will come back after missing the site.

    I’m seeing lots of heated comments. I’d take it as a compliment. No one gets that passionate over something that isn’t worth it.

    I normally don’t comment, just lurk. But I think this is important and I wanted to give some positive support.

    FYI… card carrying member and reader from the beginning. I will continue… as long as the credit card billiing LLC can read as:


    Paul, could you at least make the ticker free and the analyses cost money? I really love the ticker.

    I am sorry to hear this. I have read your blog fairly regularly for quite a few years, primarily during college football season. While I understand you want to monetize your work – and I respect your right to setup your website however you see fit – I just don’t see your content worth paying for. It’s entertaining and something I care about (at least for college football). However, I have a lot of things I want to read online that I don’t have time to get to, so I won’t be hurting for content. I don’t use ad blockers so I do bring eyeballs to all sites I use, but the only one I see fit to pay for is the Wall Street Journal. I wish you well and hope you find a model that allows you to reconsider this. Perhaps something like Patreon would be a less dramatic options, but if you continue down this path, we will unfortunately be parting ways. Best of luck….I have enjoyed it!

    Well, I’ve often wondered how you make enough dollars to support the time it takes to write every day. Just put me on auto renew. I won’t even notice and nothing will change with my daily routine.


    Ive loved your site for years now and quite frankly you do whatever you feel is best to keep the site alive. However, I do urge you to look at something like Patreon. From most of the comments here most people are unwilling to pay, i fall into that category and will miss Uni-Watxh.

    Will pay without question. Have read since 2005 and can think of nothing else in my life that has been as consistently inexpensive for so long while delivering so much. Even received 2 soccer Uni Watch shirts for the price of one due to a misprint. Will hope everything remains the same, too. Some of my most favorite pieces of writing have been the travelogues and Culinary Corner.

    I’m sorry but I can’t justify paying to read ledes like all of your roadtrip/vacation summaries and ticker items that are composed of findings from US on Twitter and other places of the like

    We currently pay more than $100 a month for our cable and internet package, and on top of that, I pay $15 a month for access to all of the New York Times online content. I no longer read online editions of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal regularly, and I avoid links to them from other sites, mainly because of the paywalls. While I certainly enjoy Uni-Watch, I have to say that there really isn’t anything here that find worth $10 or $15 a month to get, nor I would pay that much for access to all of ESPN’s online content. I especially like material related to “vintage” baseball and football uniforms, but I rarely do more than gloss over articles relating to other sports, and I don’t care very much about items such as hypothetical cross-sport uniform concept rundowns, hockey jersey design competitions, and seemingly unending links about college softball teams switching to matte helmets with raised logos. Paul’s weekend excursions and cooking adventures with the Tugboat Captain – that’s for the travel section, not the sports page. Maybe the economic answer is not to charge more, but to focus on less. All good things come to an end – it was nice while it lasted, but don’t expect me to sign up.

    Last commenter here I think, being on the west coast, so I hope you read this Paul. I tried to read most of the comments, and what I would suggest is the model where you pay only for the days you want.

    I am a baseball fan only. I read the lede if it’s baseball, then I read the baseball portion of the ticker. I recognize the amazing content you have on the other sports, but I just don’t read it usually, unless it’s really out of the ordinary.

    The most common comparison I can think of is Sports Illustrated. I buy the issues that have baseball on the cover, or a major baseball story inside regardless of the cover. So for Uni-Watch, I would prefer to see the lede and/or a secondary article (Too Good for the Ticker), and then decide from there. The Ticker has cool stuff, but usually not life or death if I miss it.

    I sympathize with those who can’t afford it. That really is hard to have to make a decision like this. For those of you who were rude and obnoxious about Paul’s decision, you’re lame. I hope we never see you guys again. If you disagree, you should be able to make your point in a civil manner.

    Thank you for everything you’ve put together for us so far Paul! Looking forward to seeing what’s next.

    I have been a uni watch reader from the beginning. And while I do understand the need not to lose money or to make a small profit, I have to disagree with several of your points. Primarily that you are doing this to prove a point that journalism should not be free. Journalism on television was completely free until the advent of cable news, and even then we never had to pay for each journalist or each show we wanted to watch. If we had to pay $5 to $10 a month for every blogger we like to read, on top of paying separate fees for every news source, news reporting, journalism and the Internet in general would turn into something to serve only people with upper middle class incomes or higher To keep journalism and information behind paywalls, and worse yet to have to buy it piece-meal perpetuates an uninformed, under educated working class that is denied information based on socioeconomic status.

    Granted, uni watch isn’t vitally important but your view could easily be extended to all information and education which could be considered journalism, and opens the door for unscrupulous and fake news providers to be the only ones reaching the low income communities, which, by the way, happen to be minority populations more often than not. I’d be willing to bet that once you start charging for this site, that the majority of readers that you lose will be people of color. For someone who fights against racial stereotyping, it is disappointing that you would essentially turn your site into a upper class (white) community.

    I make minimum wage, and have to decide who gets my hard earned dollar, and it pains me to take uni watch off of my daily list, but I can’t justify perpetuating the belief that only those who can afford it should have access to news and information.

    I also have to agree that this site has too much going on so that a lot ofv things only get skimmed over. Which is great for a blog but not great for being a focused, money generating site. I would have rather seen UW run only Monday to Friday and not be so specialized and remain free with pay options like tshirts and member cards and helmets, versus going to a monthly pay service, especially in the name of proving a very misguided point.

    Journalists get paid, bloggers provide opinions and live off of ad revenue. This is a blog site, not a news site. While I understand your points I disagree with them and I hope that you realize the impact that you are having on people who have very few entertainment and information options open to them. Oh well, the poor get screwed again, but who cares, right? Thanks for the memories, I guess I’ll catch you on ESPN at least until they decide sports journalism shouldn’t be free either.

    I don’t mind paying the for the content. It is well written, well researched and in my opinion worth it.
    Simple as that. Thanks for the thoughtful explanation.

    I was under the impression that almost ALL journalism is supported by ads. It wasn’t invented for the internet. Prices of traditional newspapers were mostly a token amount to cover the cost of printing and delivery, but ads paid for most of the rest of the costs. (Except for places like Consumer Reports.)

    Late to the party here. I’ve read probably since the beginning. Don’t comment much.

    I completely understand what you have to do. Unfortunately, I cannot justify spending the money. We cut out tons of other expenses in our lives and don’t want to add one — no television, no internet, never had Netflix, as examples. We have three young kids now.

    There’s just more I can use the money for now.

    Bravo for you. As a creative professional myself, digital rights and verifying paid content are an increasingly tough sell. I will be one of the first to sign up, as UW has been a daily part of my routine since the site launched.

    As an aside, have you considered something like Patreon, or does that fall under the crowdfunding umbrella? It seems to be a quasi-subscription, as opposed to a full paywall or traditional crowdfunding platform. I’d be in either way but am mostly just interested mostly in your thoughts. I’ve grown to appreciate your opinions over the years :)

    I’ve read your above comments on Patreon. Don’t feel like you need to repeat yourself.

    But still, bravo to you, and count me in!

    Hello Paul – long time reader, first time commenter.

    I would like to tell you that I agree with all your points about the effects of content being free and and only ad-supported. This requires companies to maximize not only the number of eyeballs they have the attention of, but maximize how long they hold the attention of those eyeballs. This has caused not only a decline in good journalism and rise in sensationalism (consider the threshold for what is “breaking news” now vs 30 years ago), but impacts many other areas of society such as how facebook manipulates news feeds to maintain people’s attention. This is all detrimental to society in general.

    Obviously, I don’t think you ever write something in an attempt to be be sensationalistic and gain more views, but write what you find either newsworthy or interesting. Speaking for at least myself, I do find this refreshing. Thank you.

    And I know uni-watch taking a stand is a small thing, but if no one takes a stand, then nothing ever changes. Kudos for taking this risky, and I’m sure scary, stand.

    I deal with something similar as a software developer. Many people, including friends and even other software developers, feel that there is no need to pay for software or games. I find this view, regardless of reasoning, very troubling. If the person using my product doesn’t work for free, why am I expected to? I like food and a roof over my head just like everyone else. I believe people deserve to be paid for the work they do.

    I wish you the best of luck with this venture. Unfortunately, all that being said, I am unlikely to subscribe. Not because I have a problem with it, or I think the cost is too high, but because I’m not all that consistent of a reader. I only visit uni-watch occasionally – sometimes not for months. I do enjoy it, but infrequently.

    I will suggest a couple of things though:
    1) Maybe the culinary corner, What Paul did last night, and vacation updates should be left off of subscription-based uni-watch. You don’t have to pretend you don’t have a life, but if people are paying for the uniform related news and commentary, the long personal blog stuff should probably be moved elsewhere.
    2) Be careful to not charge too much – $5 seems reasonable. $10 might be hard to justify.
    3) Be sure to still provide some material free, so you can attract new customers. There are different models for this (NYT X articles free/mo, or maybe hand select certain articles for free, etc). Everyone who currently reads uni-watch knows about it, but you’ll want to continue to attract new people.

    Thank you, and best of luck,

    Count me in at $5.00.

    I disagree with Chris, if I sign up, I don’t want anything to change. I don’t even care if there are more ads on the side, as long as there are no pop ups or videos that start automatically when I open the page.

    I get it, you gotta do what you gotta do. Good things that bring you joy are worth paying for and checking in everyday brings me joy.

    Thank you and everyone who contributes!

    I’ve been a longtime reader, and I appreciate Paul putting all of the work into this that he has. But let’s be real. This is a glorified personal blog. Yeah, it has great uni content. However, a very good portion of the posts are about what Paul did on vacation, or what he cooked last night, or something else that in no way relates to uniforms and only to Paul’s life. That is why I can’t justify paying money. Sorry, I totally understand and it is absolutely Paul’s decision to make, but I’m not going to pay to read about how Paul prepares a brisket. Thanks Paul for what you have done for the uni-verse. All good things must come to an end.

    Not a coffee drinker either but I’d happily pay $5. Tbh, I knew there would be trolls but I’m shocked at how many angry people there are. Life’s to short. Anyways, Paul I think it would be fun to add a section for a fake jersey watch. It’s an epidemic that infuriates me.

    I’ll happily pay for a site that has given me TONS of unique content for years and years. It’s overdue, and honestly, you deserve it, Paul.

    Like Steely Dan said: “Like a Sunday in TJ, it’s cheap but it’s not free.”

    Sales 101: To get someone to buy, you have to make the value of what you’re selling (features and their benefits) outweigh the cost… $10 a month, really?

    I understand you love uniforms and you’re good at writing about them, but we’re not talking an Ernie Pyle level of journalistic importance.

    Uni-Watch was nice while it lasted.

    Hey Paul, I’ve seen Paypal Tip Jars used on other sites. The revenue would be much more passive, but curious if a Tip Jar would be worth the effort/fees?

    Sorry to hear this news. I can understand the reason but not happy about it.

    Not sure anybody asked if the old columns would be accessible or not.

    Its been fun to be a part of the site. Thanks to Paul and Phil and all the other contributors.

    Best of luck Paul. Was a great run while it lasted.
    Love the simplicity of the site as is but I know where you are coming from. Sometimes sacrifices are needed to be made for the greater good. Standing up for what you believe in and what not. Dig it.
    I am a reader that will not be making the move with you but honestly and truly best of luck. Hope it works out better than you thought. Personally I have too many things to pay for these days.

    First off: Thank you Paul, for all your hard work over the years. You have undoubtedly changed the way a lot of people watch & enjoy sports.

    I have been a reader since the very beginning, though over the last 2 years I’ve started visiting the site less and less. Primarily, I think, because there’s too much [stuff] to wade thru. I agree with most of your opinions (and certainly your right to share them). But as the posts have grown in length, I find a smaller percentage of the info actually useful to me. I understand that being the premier website chronicling sports uniforms means being comprehensive & thorough, but Japanese volleyball uniforms? Come on.

    The move to a subscription model could, however, make things better. If the site had enhanced functionality, like filters I could permanently set to only show content I’m interested in, I would be willing to pay a small monthly amount. If I have to pay for essentially the same website (that I currently only rarely visit), I would probably choose not to.

    Please take this as a constructive comment, just my 2 cents on how it could all work better. Thanks again for all your hard work!

    Thanks for the entertainment over the years. I visit most every day, and have no objection with you moving to a paid model. I’m a kindred sprit uni-wise, and there is great value in the way that you aggregate, and present the information. I would not want to have to hunt for it down multiple avenues.

    Since others have brought it up, I don’t enjoy the political, or social issues that occasionally pop up – (Redskin fan for example) – but I usually just ignore it, and it surely wouldn’t stop me from subscribing. Thanks again, and best wishes. Will look forward to the new site.

    Well I hate to see you go. This site was one of my regular daily visits but I’ll pass on paying for it. Good luck and thanks for the entertainment you’ve provided.


    I post a comment 2-3x a year but this site is a daily read for me. That said I’ll be paying. I don’t have a membership card, bought the Xmas shirt a couple of tears ago, but the whole time always asked “how are they affording this bandwidth?”

    Sign me up Paul.

    For those of you saying that you can’t afford $5-$10 a month I would be very curious as to how much you spend on non-essentials just in a single week, ex. Starbucks, Fast Food, a doughnut on the way to work in the morning, coffee breaks during the day, etc.
    I understand that there is a difference between “not being able to afford it” and “I say I can’t afford it but I actually spend twice this amount each week on random food and drinks”

    I’ll pay, I got the money so I won’t mind. It can be $1 a year or $1000, no matter what cost, I can say I can definitely afford it. I love the grill posts, the grommet project, the vacations, and the Skins watch. All worth it to me.

    “I really hated providing content for free, but I was making money. I’m not making money anymore, this trend is bad and I’m done” is how I’m reading this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (I can afford $10 bucks though c’mon ppl)


    I agree with you.
    Especially after having “emancipation” post at the end.
    This is a hobbyist site that was parlayed into a slim-for-profit area that I am sure funded his choices for his life.

    He could have easily chosen to man-up an take a 5-10 hour part-time job, but that would have likely been to invasive, so instead he opts to ask for a handout and alienate those who supported him by the ad generation who came here.

    It’s all about money in the end.
    Now I truly “get it”…

    Are you delusional? Or sarcastically trolling (Colbert-style)? Saying that Paul “opts to ask for a handout” is pretty much 180° from what’s actually happening. We the readers are the ones who had been getting something of value without earning it. Paul wanting to get compensated fairly — for something he obviously works very hard on — is the opposite of asking for a handout.

    No, I am not trolling, nor being sarcastic.
    As I mentioned…this is a hobbyist site.

    We all work hard at something, and if we have the good fortune to make a few dollars at it, then we are the lucky few.

    However, as he has chosen this path, and stood way too hard-headed on a business model for a niche market that he feels that should be profitable that obviously was destined to fail, he really should re-consider looking at what he does.

    Yes, he is looking for a hand-out, and yes, he knew he was sharing / giving away he information for free to fellow enthusiasts.

    But now, those who “get it” will only almost be “elitists” with a freelancer who hasn’t had real job in 20+ years that he so graciously reminded all of us on this day.

    “I’m totally willing to pay, but my wife will flip out if she sees a charge to Uni Watch on our credit card statement.”
    Uh, the 1950s called and they want their joke back.
    Also, 2018 called and wanted to let you know this woman and her wife read (and contribute) to uni watch.
    But yeah. Women! With their vacuuming and nagging and sports hating. Am I right?!!

    Used to come here daily, until a couple of years ago. Reason? Paul can be condescending and a smart-ass for no good reason. Then his lackeys blindly jump to his defense.

    Ironically, imo the content may well be worth five bucks or so a month. I wouldn’t mind that. I just don’t want to hand it over to a prideful and condescending individual.

    Good to see other dissenting voices here…way to speak up. And good to see Paul/others allowed them to be published.

    Perhaps this means there will be more resources for road trips. Love the uni content but the travel journals are far and away the most interesting part of this site! Sign me up

    I realize I’m a few days late as I don’t always read the blog on the day it’s posted. I’ll miss the uni and travel content (the political, social and culinary commentary I won’t miss) but unfortunately I won’t be able to support UW as a pay site. Thanks for your efforts.


    A little late, but here goes-

    Add me to the “understand but unwilling” column. I have thoroughly enjoyed this site for many years. It’s part of my daily routine. I never thought there were others who shared my interest in uniforms. I also like the non-uniform content.

    In both cases, if it I wasn’t interested in a topic, I just skipped it instead of bashing it. But this seems like an appropriate time to air my criticism.

    I find Paul to be an excellent writer. I’ve always liked his interesting take on things, even when I occasionally disagreed.
    But his stance on advertising and merch sales is just hypocritical. Occasionally, “Get Out More” comes off as “Why I’m More Awesome Than You”. “There no reason you shouldn’t like this band” sounds like a pretentious college record store worker looking down their nose at your taste in music.

    Now that I got that off my chest, let me reiterate how much I appreciate the efforts Paul and his staff made.
    I believe this was a difficult choice and to question his motives or character is out of line.

    Thanks for this great site and best wishes for the future.

    You gotta do what you gotta do. In the end it’ll come down to is this a good value for me or not? This is nothing like my cable or cell phone bill; but I have to feel good about it. One appealing fact is that I would compare subscribing to this site to patronizing my local hardware store instead of going to a big box: your money stays in the community.

    I’d say if there’s a value added I would probably sign on. And from the letter it sounds like there will be. And it’s only the beginning. (How about access to all archives included with the subscription, guest columns, oral histories, etc.). Knowing Paul and his crew and their integrity (unmatched) I have faith they’ll bust their ass to make it worth our while.

    To be a part of that would be pretty cool.

    Hey Paul, here’s a thought: There’s a lot of kids who want to get into journalism. Why not use this as a platform to get some thoughtful work published? Basically an internship, where the exposure on a national platform would give these kids a leg up. My guess is you’ll have your pick of some talented people if you do this. I’m sure some of the readers would be willing to provide content gratis, much as we have now. Of course it would have to fit the mission of the site but it’s a good way to make a difference and make it feel like it’s OUR website. I’d be proud as hell to sponsor that.

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