The Readability of Fantasy Sports Journalism

By Mead Loop.

Published by Journal of Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 7, 2015 $US5.00

The freemium revenue model dominates the $2 billion fantasy sports industry in the United States, in which most web sites offer free content as well as premium information for a fee. This study is the first to examine the grade level of writing about fantasy sports by comparing free content with pay content among ESPN fantasy sports journalists. ESPN was chosen because of its influence in sports and fantasy sports. The author used the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level test to measure differences in grade level. Of the 154 articles coded, 85 articles were free content while 69 articles were written by staff writers who generate content that is placed behind the ESPN Insider paywall. Articles considered free content registered a mean of 7.8 grade level on the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level scale while the typical article that was placed behind the Insider paywall averaged 8.3 under the same readability measuring tool. This demonstrates that the difference in readability between free and pay fantasy football content is slim. This suggests that those who subscribe to ESPN Insider for fantasy football content may not be getting necessarily a higher level of quality analysis. Certainly, they are not getting a noticeably higher level of writing. The average was about an eighth-grade reading level for free and pay content.

Keywords: Fantasy Sports Journalism, Writing, Readability

Journal of Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-5. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 7, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 280.399KB)).

Prof. Mead Loop

Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, USA