Lance Armstrong during this year's Tour de France has been hosting a podcast and writing an accompanying blog for Outside magazine, a "giant step back into the public eye" for him, according to Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. But while Armstrong can "make for interesting listening, not everyone is celebrating his return." Commenters on Outside’s Facebook page are "overwhelmingly anti-Armstrong, saying they are disappointed that the magazine gave Armstrong a platform." Still, many "gave the podcast post a Facebook thumbs-up." Outside VP and editor Christopher Keyes said that he and his fellow editors "expected their choice to be controversial." But he said that Outside "partnered with Armstrong anyway after hearing his weekly podcast, 'The Forward.'" Keyes said that Outside is "not paying Armstrong for his blogging." Macur notes Armstrong's podcast, called "Stages," made its debut this month on the U.S. iTunes charts at No. 10. Keyes said that Armstrong’s blog had been "good enough and that he would consider inviting him back for next year’s Tour" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/19).
Former SI and Boston Globe writer Greg Bedard is "launching his own independent site, four months after he was caught in the most recent layoff maelstrom at SI," according to Chad Finn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Titled Boston Sports Journal, the site will "debut on bostonsportsjournal.com Monday morning." The outlet will cover the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, and coverage will "include traveling to road games." Some hires will be "completed and announced later, but already some prominent names are on board." CSNNE's Sean McAdam will take on the Red Sox beat, while WEEI.com's Christopher Price will cover the Patriots. It will be a subscription-based model with the "likelihood of sponsorships." Finn writes Bedard's in-depth film breakdowns of Patriots games were "must-reads" during his time at the Globe, and he "did similar work for SI." It is the "kind of unique content that readers may be willing to pay for." Bedard said, "What it will be in the future will be on the backs of the subscribers" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/19). Bedard in an introductory post for the site writes the first week "will be free" and there will be an accompanying Apple/Android app. Bedard hopes to "expand quickly," including adding a Revolution writer beginning next season, but that will "depend on subscription levels." Bedard writes he "no longer wanted to work for people who didn’t have a plan for the future," and he "wasn’t going to work for people who didn’t know what consumers really wanted on a daily basis." Bedard: "I didn’t want to work for people who knew more about venture capital than journalism" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 7/18). Subscriptions to the site are $4.99 per month, $34.99 annually, $74.99 for three years or $299.99 for life (THE DAILY).
In N.Y., Keith Kelly cites sources as saying that Time Inc. is "indeed mulling an SI frequency reduction," but the total annual output "would be closer to 30 issues" instead of the previously reported number of 24. Meanwhile, SI is "looking to diversify its base and recently announced plans to introduce a line of bathing suits." The company has "teamed up" with California-based RAJ Swim in the premium apparel space, and models in the next February swimsuit edition are "expected to showcase some of the swimsuits" (N.Y. POST, 7/19).
VIEWING FOR ALL SEASONS? In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce notes NBC's new Olympic Channel will show "various competitions" at qualifying events leading up to future Games, but wonders "how interested" audiences will be. Pierce: "How many of us would watch that U.S.-Croatia water polo match three years out from the Tokyo Games?" Pierce wonders if the Olympic Channel has a "realistic goal." Pierce: "Only time will tell." But the channel "won't hurt archery, badminton and water polo." Pierce: "Maybe it will help" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 7/19).
SCRIBE SHUFFLE: East Bay Times columnist Marcus Thompson will be joining Tim Kawakami at The Athletic's new Bay Area publication (TWITTER.com, 7/18)....SI's Pete Thamel announced he is leaving the company to cover college athletics for Yahoo Sports (TWITTER.com, 7/18).