I have a very strong relationship with the guy who, at least at the moment, runs a newsstand in Beverly Hills. When I first relocated here, that place, as well as dozens of others scattered around the area, were my links to the world of New York commuting where such newsstands were on almost every corner and, of course, dominated the airports I consistently flew in and out of. These days, the Beverly Hills landmark is one of the few that have remained in business as the print industry and pandemic all but cratered that industry. Even that one’s future is now in question; I learned that its elderly owner is retiring and the new owners are taking a wait-and-see attitude about its long-term future. And let’s just say both the lack of publications and my lack of funds have taken their toll.
But at least in the world of fantasy football print publications, there’s potentially a ray of hope. Last week I picked up my ninth such publication because, honestly, I need to do well this year. My baseball team has gone ice cold in the last two weeks, my playoff chances hanging by a thread akin to my Mets. I’ve done OK in football despite the fact that for the last couple of years fewer and fewer print previews were available for me to peruse over the summer. Many brands I was used to in the early 2000s and before had disappeared in recent years; the belief being that the cost of printing and the demand all but necessitated moves to online-only, But even my veteran newsstand friend is surprised at the comeback this summer.
There’s SPORT Magazine, a brand for a monthly magazine that folded decades ago, alongside print guides from online-centric brands like The Athletic and Fantasy Football Index. The latter two have some of the most reliable and informative podcasts and digital resources, and I’m an avid consumer of both. ESPN has returned a print magazine to the stands to support their millions of players with projections specific to their scoring system, Rotoworld and NBC Sports are back, as are longtime print-centric brands Lindy’s and Athlon. You name it, I’ve got it. And, thanks to my friend who is looking out for me, I’m getting some really decent price breaks. The fact I show up at all to buy anything else makes me a rarity in these parts.
Of course, we know that summer camps that are opening this week will see injuries and holdouts, not to mention in-camp performances, that will alter these rankings prior to opening weekend. That’s where the likes of FFI and the daily updates provided by Rotoworld and Yahoo!, among others, kick in. And I’m not such a Luddite that I won’t utilize them when needed.
I also expect at least one other one still awaits release. USA TODAY Sports Weekly typically produces a special edition and, at least at the moment, I don’t expect Gannett to fold it just yet. Though considering what I’ve already seen from them in other areas as well as from other daily newspapers’ sports coverage plans this summer, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it did.
And at least for now, I know where I’m going to buy it.
But having either around long-term? Well, THAT’S probably the biggest fantasy.