Back in January, I posted an open letter letting you know that SB Nation and Vox would no longer support and monetize most of their MLS sites, including Hudson River Blue, as of February 28, 2023. To put it in metaphorical English: They told us they were going to pull the plug. But they also told us we could keep on keeping on and continue to run our sites for no pay and for an undetermined set of time.
Confusing, I know. Information trickled in over the following several weeks, but in recent days the options available to HRB have become more concrete, which means the future of this site has become clear: Not only will HRB continue to publish, we will start to operate as a fully independent site as of April 1, 2023. We ain’t going nowhere.
What does that mean to you? Not much, at least not at first. Vox decided to extend the support of their sites through the end of March, and so HRB will remain exactly the same for several weeks. But at some point during the month we will migrate to a new site that will be recognizably HRB even if it won’t be a Dolly-like clone of what you see now. I’m told that we should be able to import all of our articles and posts, including a full archive that dates to December, 2014 — we have the best fan’s-eye view of everything that has happened at NYCFC since day one, and we plan to safeguard those posts. Let’s hope all goes smoothly.
This brings us to the next phase. I’d be lying if I promised you the new iteration of HRB will be bigger, badder, and better than what you see now. I’m new to the website-building game, and chances are it’ll be a little cramped and a little awkward, at least at first. It’ll be more like a starter apartment than what you find in the World of Interiors.
Which is OK. Life is a journey, and the purpose of the Marchapril relaunch of HRB will be to move the site to a platform that can’t be shut down or sunsetted by a C-suite executive who doesn’t understand the power that soccer has to forge a community. Even if we’re glitchy we’ll be independently owned, and I’m hoping you will stick with us while we figure things out.
That’s because we’ll improve the design and functionality over time, and eventually HRB will be bigger, badder, and better. We’re going to turn lemons into lemonade — and lemon granita, and pasta al limone with grilled langoustines basted in lemon butter, then make preserved lemons with the rest for a mega-tagine that you will dream about for the rest of your life. I believe that an independent HRB will serve you better, and will provide us more opportunities to expand our coverage of NYCFC and all things soccer in the New York City area.
As I put it in my letter to you last month, “we’re having too much fun to stop now.” I still stand by those words now that the end of our relationship with Vox is coming into view. While some SB Nation sites responded to the planned shutdown by moving to Substack, and others simply stopped publishing, we put together our most comprehensive preseason coverage in years, complete with an exhaustive account of transfer news and rumors, plus 23 (and counting) player previews. We published 30 posts in January, and will publish more than 30 this month. That’s how much faith I have in this site, in our contributors, and in you, our readers.
Managing Editor, Hudson River Blue