2018 PFO Annual Report

Philly Front Office was founded in 2018 to be a different kind of platform for coverage of Philadelphia sports. “Write what you love” has been and will continue to be our motto.

Write What You Love

We often tell new contributors that PFO stands for Passion First Organization. We believe in being a non-exploitative platform for people who think differently and express themselves from all angles that go beyond game reports and highlights. As a result, we have attracted a very talented group of writers, editors, photographers, and designers.

In 2018, PFO published 381 articles, which includes podcasts and photo galleries. Philly Front Office content ranges from serious analysis to comical satire. Our style is molded by the personalities of our team. Simply put, we write what we love.

Like the city of Philadelphia, we bring a work ethic to our passion. From the Jawnies, a Philly-based awards show to a breakdown on Joel Embiid’s “Batman” role, we cover the landscape in a way that resonates with our growing following.

Our Organization

Philly Front Office now consists of more than 40 total contributors, editors, and photographers. Our growth has been remarkable. We cover all Philadelphia sports, as well as some pop culture. PFO is a multi-platform endeavor that includes this website, as well as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and multiple podcasts on Apple iTunes.

Additionally, we have recently launched a site targeted at Cleveland Browns fans based on the passion and desire of the people in our organization, but Philadelphia will always be our home.

Our leadership team consists of four founding fathers: David Jackson (CEO, System Administration & Technology), Jason Blevins (COO, Lead Writer), Brian Jacobs (President & Director of Public Relations), and Bryant Baker (Managing Editor).

Message from the co-founders of Philly Front Office:

The commitment and partnership we have received from the Philadelphia 76ers and Delaware Blue Coats especially has been absolutely foundational to our success. We cannot express how deeply appreciative we are to have the opportunity to work with these fine organizations and the tremendous staff in public relations.

Growth and Reach

Philly Front Office was launched on June 28, 2018. Since then, our growth has been steady and staggering. On December 21, 2018, less than six months since our inception, phillyfrontoffice.net, our primary website, exceeded 1-million hits for the first time. Our month-over-month growth has exceeded 60 percent consistently.

A key note to our growth is unique visitors, which is growing at a rapid pace. From a meager 23 unique visitors in the first three days of June, we have grown to reach 20,000 unique visitors. Our “uniques” are on pace to double in December over November, but growth overall has been steady in this area as well at roughly 60% per month. We have had visitors from more than 40 countries with the largest international followings coming from the Philippines and Australia.

On Twitter, the growth has been steady as well. We consistently have more than 1-million monthly impressions across our primary Twitter handles, including our largest following, which is @PFOSixers. Instagram and YouTube are growing as well, but they still require some focus from our organization. Our PFO Podcasts offer a range of perspectives, analysis, and conversation, and are a huge part of the excitement of our future. We are big believers in the podcast medium and invest time and energy in this area.

Financial Highlights

As the media industry continues its chaotic revolution from a financial standpoint, PFO is assessing and waiting for a revenue model that makes sense, without compromising our core mission to not exploit free labor for profit. We are currently not accepting advertisers or subscribers on any of our platforms and will continue to resist deciding on a revenue model until we have a very clear path for fair and equitable sharing of profits with our contributors. Being new to the industry, but with deep roots in the technical world, we bring a startup mindset to this endeavor. We have not taken any outside investors and have not done a series A funding. We are lean and keep our costs low.

While we are technically revenue neutral, we cover our meager costs by self-funding by our leadership team. The talent that we bring to bear really comes from years of deep experience in the technology industry which allows us to do all technical platform work ourselves. We host on AWS and are scalable for continued growth as we look for the right revenue model to fit our mission and goals. Meanwhile, we are building assets and intellectual property that we believe will have tremendous long-term value.

Operating Highlights

Our operations have grown and matured over these few months. We utilize essentially the same toolsets that others in the industry use to write, edit, and post content. Our administration staff is responsible for on-boarding new contributors, and our editors will review and edit any content prior to publishing.

The leadership of PFO is in consistent review and analysis mode for ways to improve our processes, speed, and quality. We have invested in our media library heavily to control costs around photography. We have a staff sports photographer, Wayne Terry, who has done great work for the Delaware Blue Coats, and we look to further invest in this key area.

Additionally, we have an internal communication channel where we communicate within the organization 24/7. This is a key pillar of our organizational culture, which we take as our primary mission. Our team discusses ideas, news, and collaborates very well in this communication channel. We believe it is a big part of our success and continued enthusiasm internally. Below is a snapshot of our visits by hour of the day.

Looking Ahead

As we move into 2019, we look to further strengthen our key relationships, build credibility within the industry, and continue to innovate in our operations. We believe that our growth and reach will continue. 20,000 visitors represents just a small fraction of the overall sports fanbase in Philadelphia. As mentioned earlier, we have recently expanded into the Cleveland market with a podcast centered on the Cleveland Browns. There is a passionate fanbase there that in many ways mirrors Philadelphia, and we will continue to explore more markets as we grow.

We are registered for Sloan Sports Analytics conference and intend to begin covering Sixers road games on the east coast as soon as possible. We look forward to covering Phillies Spring Training and the NBA Playoffs as well as the NBA and NFL Drafts in the spring. Our goal is to prove our capabilities and continue to grow into deeper coverage in all areas while reaching new people.

We will NOT sacrifice our core mission in order to accomplish this however. Our financial stability and resources allow us the luxury of patience, while our passion drives our opportunistic approach. Once again, thank you sincerely for the time and commitment you have shown to us, we cannot adequately express how much that means.