4th March 2020
The Play Index launched on Baseball-Reference.com over thirteen years ago and has been one of the most used research tools for baseball ever since. We've made a few additions over the years, but the tools have largely stayed the same and the price has only gone from $29/year to $36/year during those thirteen years.
The Sports Reference sites have continued to grow in traffic and advertising revenue over that time to the extent that the Play Index and our ad-free options are a very, very small portion of our revenue. Most of that is on us, as we have not done a great job of promoting and marketing tools that are highly valued by a dedicated group of users. The Baseball Play Index represents less than 4% of our revenue and ad-free memberships are less than 1%. In addition, the Play Index tools are complicated to maintain and manage, and quite frankly are a money-loser for us at this time. It's well past time to re-think how these tools are setup within our constellation of sites.
While Sports Reference is doing quite well overall, I'm not comfortable with having so much of our revenue dependent on advertising. We are very beholden to search engines continuing to send us traffic, and likewise the ad market can be fickle and difficult for a small to medium size operator to navigate.
Also, advertising on the sites does not make it easier for you to answer the questions you have. This is our primary mission. We maintain a relatively low level of advertising on the sites (at least compared to your regional newspaper), and we are loathe to add additional advertising units or more intrusive units. Some of you may use an ad blocker, in which case we are making no money from your use of the site at all, and the audience for our ad-free product has proven to be very small as well.
A subscription model aligns our interests much better with our users' interests as well. I realize that users are being asked to sign up for lots of subscriptions these days, but we feel the tools within the Play Index are so specialized and useful that they warrant a paywall.
So we are making some changes. The Play Index for each site will be moving to Stathead.com. Stathead.com will become the center for all of our subscription products. We expect these products to include tools and information beyond just a redesigned set of Play Index tools. This won't happen all at once, but we'll start with baseball and then proceed through the remainder of our sports. Also, we will be ending our ad-free product and instead Stathead memberships will have ad-free built-in. There just aren't enough users to justify a separate ad-free product. These changes will begin this month and continue through April on baseball and then continue with the other sites after that.
If you are a subscriber, we will make every effort to make certain you are happy with the options we provide to convert your ad-free or Play Index subscription over to Stathead including the option of a refund on your subscription. You will be hearing more from us about the changes over the next few weeks as we will email users directly.
During the deployment of these changes, the Play Index on Baseball-Reference.com (and the to be launched Stathead.com Baseball) will be free. They will continue to be free through at least April 30th. If you are a current subscriber to either of our products, we have already extended your subscription by an additional two months during this free period.
Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Play Index, Redesign, Statgeekery | 27 Comments »
17th July 2017
On Friday, we moved all of the sites over to secure http (or https, more simply). Here's the Wikipedia explainer. Basically, this just means that the data between your computer and our browser is now encrypted, rather than plain text. You should now see "secure" and/or a lock in the address bar when you are on the site. We have never stored credit card information and still don't. All payments were always encrypted and handled by third parties, Paypal and Stripe.
We have not seen any issues surface in this switch, but if you do find something, we'd greatly appreciate you letting us know.
Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, FBref, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Redesign | Comments Off on Sites Switch to Secure HTTP (http => https)
26th May 2017
When we launched our new site three months ago, one of the casualties was the neutralized stats tables we printed on player pages. Those tables were originally built using code that had grown increasingly unwieldy and were not something we'd be able to adequately maintain moving forward. That said, we're happy to announce that we have rebuilt these tables and added new features, as well.
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Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Redesign, Statgeekery | 3 Comments »
14th March 2017
In November, we announced that we were no longer able to support automatic export of our tables to Excel. This was due to newer browsers not behaving in ways we expected, making it difficult to support the feature. We're happy to announce that we've figured this out, however.
Today, the automatic Excel export feature has returned to all of our sites. To export any of our tables to Excel, please hover over "Share & more" above the table you'd like to export. Once you hover, you'll see a dropdown where you can select "Get as Excel Workbook (experimental)", which will download the table into an xls file you can open with Excel.
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Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, Data, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Redesign, Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Automatic Excel Export Added Back to Tables
22nd February 2017
Update: A March 9th update on where the redesign stands
First off, change is hard. I know that. We've moved a few things and some things have changed, but please be assured that we had very good reasons and have tried to make the redesigned site more useful than it was before. It's not perfect, but neither was B-R last month. Please keep an open mind for a day, and if you still hate it, please let us know.
If you follow me on twitter, you know that this work has been a long time coming. Starting in January of 2015, Adam Wodon, Adam Darowski, and I started throwing around ideas for a more mobile-friendly version of our sites. Our mobile experience could have been charitably described as limited and functional. With over two-thirds of our visits coming from handheld devices, we clearly needed to up our game there.
This led to a complete review of how we present data on desktop and how we can make that usable on a small screen. It's not easy and after months of design, user testing and work, we have an approach that we believe will serve both desktop and mobile users better than they are now. If you use our other sites, this is not a surprise as all of those sites were re-launched last summer and into the early fall. That left the baseball site and its 17 years of code that needed some changing, rewriting, upgrading and general improvement. It's taken awhile, but the entire Sports Reference team has pulled together to get this out before the games start this spring.
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Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Redesign | 106 Comments »
7th November 2016
UPDATE: As of March 14, 2017, we figured out how to once again allow for automatic export to Excel
As you may have noticed, on our re-designed sites we recently disabled the feature allowing you to export our tables directly to Excel. This was because updated browsers were no longer supporting the function and it was becoming problematic to keep up. However, this doesn't mean that you can't still easily export our tables into spreadsheets. There's just an extra step or two, now.
First, look for the "Share & more" tab atop the table you'd like to export. If you don't see this tab, it means the particular table you're looking at isn't exportable. Otherwise, hover over it and options will drop down (see image). Select "Get table as CSV (for Excel)", which will convert the table to comma-separated values.
Once the table has been converted to CSV, copy and paste the entirety of the table (or whatever section of it you want) into Excel, as text. You will now have an unintelligible, single-column mess in your spreadsheet, but that's fine. The commas are there for a reason and Excel will help us easily convert those commas into nice, readable columns of data. This next step is sometimes variable depending on the version of Excel you're working with, but what you want to find is the "text to columns" function. In my Excel for Mac 2011, this can be found under the "Data" tab. If you can't find it on your version, a google search for "Excel text to columns" with your Excel version number should yield useful results.
Once you have located the "text to columns" function, you will choose a file type that best describes your data. You will want to choose "delimited" since the fields are separated by commas. Next, you will choose the delimiter. Check the box next to "comma." Once you make that selection, you can finish up with the text to columns wizard and you should then have a nicely formatted spreadsheet.
We realize this is not quite as quick or simple as the old export function, but unfortunately we can no longer support that function. Once you get the hang of this method, you'll see it's also quite simple.
Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Data, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, HowTo, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Redesign, Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Exporting Data
1st July 2016
If you are a friend of Sports Reference, you'll know that sponsorships, which launched in July of 2002, were our second revenue generator (the first being just asking for money). For those who want to know, Charles Saeger sponsored Scott Erickson on July 21, 2002 to kick things off. For a number of years, sponsorships were our main revenue generator and paid all of the bills. Since 2006, however, sponsorships have become less and less of our overall revenue, now representing less than 4% of our annual revenue.
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Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Redesign | 3 Comments »
19th June 2016
See SportsLogos.net for historical and current sports logos
Chris Creamer does amazing work at SportsLogos.net and I've been wanting to work with him for quite a while to put examples of past and current logos on our sites. So when our 2016 redesign got underway, we worked out an agreement that we could use copies of his aggregated logos on our site.
We also realize that many historical logos show offensive representations of various ethnic groups and peoples that were commonplace in their time and in American society. These representations are wrong now and were wrong then. We present them, as we do all of our facts, to educate and illuminate, and these prejudices have been an unfortunate part of the history of the sports we all enjoy and love.
Obviously, we do not own these logos and cannot give you permission to use them. We use them under a fair use argument. We use small resolution images, which do not impact the economic viability of the logos for their owners. And we provide them for educational purposes only. It's up to you to know the relevant intellectual property law and, since I'm not a lawyer, this is clearly not legal advice.
Enough with the disclaimers. Check out some old-time teams for some old-time logo goodness.
Update: on March 23, 2017, we decided to remove logos prior to the seasons for which we have logos. For example if no logo was shown for 1892 Beaneaters we displayed their 1900 logo. This is mostly an issue for MLB, but could also arise elsewhere.
Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, FBref, General, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Redesign | Comments Off on Redesign: Team and League Logos Courtesy SportsLogos.net