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A new start for Hudson River Blue

Let's cut to it: We need you to support this publication if it is to survive.

All together now |

Dear Reader,

Maybe you noticed that Hudson River Blue has a different look and feel.

There are no ads, for one. The days of scrolling past Temu marketplaces and 21-day workouts are over.

We redesigned the site, for another. The new HRB is more streamlined, less cluttered — is it too much to call it elegant? The biggest improvements are under the hood. We now use the same engine as Backheeled, Sounder at Heart, and The Atlantic, and we're just starting to learn how fast this thing can go.

This brings us to the biggest change: HRB is now reader-supported.

In place of the ads that never quite covered our expenses, we're asking you to support independent journalism by becoming a member.

Right now, there's a free membership option that lets you take a look around. That tier will end on April 1. But honestly, we need you to step up and become a Backer, or even better, a Supporter — and if you join in March we will extend your one-year membership by one month.

There are two ways to look at why we're making this change here at HRB.

First, the reader-supported model will allow us to prioritize quality over clicks, and publish stories that matter to you. To be clear, nobody at HRB will be drawing a salary or pocketing money — the membership fees will simply cover the cost of running this site. The more support you show, the more tools we can add, and the more coverage we'll provide.

Or, we can be blunt: The old ad-based model failed. It's true across media right now, as publications that chase page views are closing down. After 11 months of living off of Google ads – and Google keeping 65% of the revenue from those ads – we need our readers to become members if we are to survive.

By most measures, this past year was the biggest in the history of HRB. Vox Media pulled their support for us – and almost all of their SB Nation soccer sites – in March 2023, but after we became independent we logged more readers than ever before.

Michael Battista's stories about the backroom negotiations between MLS and the US Open Cup broke national news, and Andrew Leigh provided the most complete reporting on New York City FC's ongoing stadium saga of any outlet in the city. Corey Clayton's "False 9" column on how a promotion/relegation system could actually work jump-started a soccer-wide dialogue.

As for our Matchday coverage by John Baney, Matthew Mangam, and Mark Radigan – from Oppo Research, to Game Day Hubs, to Player Ratings, to Instant Reactions, to Game Recaps – it's the best in the business.

All of that was accomplished in the era of Google ads. Just imagine what we'll be able to do with the your support.

Oliver Strand
Executive Editor