September 8, 2023

Your front row seat to sports newsletters - Part 1

👋 Hello newsletter enthusiasts,

How did your Fantasy Football draft go? Have no idea what we’re talking about, we didn’t either until a couple of years ago.

Send us an email and let us know.

🐾 Thank you for reading, stay pawsome.

From sports rants to sports chants, let’s dive into newsletters about sports!

Maybe you’re a big Fantasy Football fan, or focus on the major tournaments like the US Open, or are fascinated by the business angles in the sports world?

Well, guess what? You’re not alone.

Sports newsletters have become more and more prevalent, with focuses ranging from specific sports to a broad spectrum of global sports happenings.

For this deep dive, we’re focusing on “general” sports newsletters — those not concentrated in one sport or topic.

And boy are there are lot.

There are so many that we decided to make this a two-part series.

👉 Fun fact: Did you know that Sports Officials have a newsletter from the National Association of Sports Officials?

Let’s take a look at five different sports newsletters and what makes them unique. We’ll be looking at five main areas:

  • Newsletter overview. Introduction, frequency of sends.  
  • Subject Line and Preheader. Emojis or no emojis, that is the question!
  • Preheader length and emoji display varies on device and OS.
  • Visual aesthetics. Do they use Content Dividers? Imagery?
  • Sponsored Content. What does it look like in the newsletter?
  • Interactive, engaging elements. Polls? Trivia? Referral programs?

Side note: It may go without saying, but most of these newsletters — as the essence of newsletters has come to embrace this — are less “newsy” in the traditional sense and more… writer or personality-focused? For example, a newsletter may come from a bigger organization, but the newsletter part of the business, the voice and tone of it, can be more reflective of the writer than the brand.  

Ready? Coffee's brewed, comfy chair located, let's dive in!

Newsletter #1: The Sportsletter

The Sportsletter

The Sportsletter is a daily newsletter with “No Spam. No Bias. Just Sports & Highlights”. With over 100,000 subscribers according to their LinkedIn page, and founded by Jeff Yoder in ~2018.

📧 Introduction, Subject Line and Preheader

The Subject Line for their emails are ~1-4 words usually accompanied by an emoji:

  • The Bandwagon Fan Guide 🏈
  • Coco On The Cusp 🎾
  • Still Kicking… ⚽️

The Preheader will include more about what’s in the newsletter, here’s an example:

There is an introduction at the beginning with a consistent sign off of “Letter Rip!”, embodying the passion packed within the newsletter.

🎨 Visual aesthetics

The newsletter frames each section with an outline with rounded corner boxes giving it a neat and organized look.

The dual headline system, featuring a broader category cue (mini headline) followed by a more specific headline, prompts a smooth and engaging reading experience.

🔗 Link Sections

They have a couple of Link Sections too. Each section offers readers a multifaceted dive into the world of sports, and makes easy to navigate various sections.




Sometimes they’ll include a Storylines section.

💰️ Sponsored Content

The Sportsletter introduces Sponsored Content seamlessly, matching the design of other sections.

They also highlight Partners:

🕹️ Interactive, engaging elements

Referral program

They feature a prominent “🔈️ SHARE SPORTS” button at the top of their emails that lead to their referral program.

Poll // Question // Trivia section

The Sportsletter asks a Question of the Day, with the Answer featured in next day’s send, building anticipation and a habit for readers to open the next email.


Shoutout to newsletter operators having users reply to the email with responses 😳. So much reading.  

Answer (featured in next day’s send)

📺️ What we’re watching section

They include a Schedule towards the bottom with a “Must-Watch” list across various sports, and a prompt to download their ”Must-Watch Calendar”.

➕ Bonus observation

It’s not just about content; it’s about community. The shoutout to the team, including a message to “Please consider supporting The Sportsletter, an independently operated and bootstrapped publication,” emphasizes their mission. It also mentions access to an exclusive Sunday edition if you do support The Sportsletter.

Newsletter #2: Front Office Sports

Front Office Sports

Grab your morning coffee or your evening tea because Front Office Sports is here to keep you entertained not once, but twice a day during the weekdays, plus a special Sunday edition.

With a focus on “The influence of sports on business and culture”, it's no wonder their newsletter has ~800,000 subscribers, according to a 2022 Bloomberg article.

📧 Introduction, Subject Line and Preheader

The Subject Line for their emails are ~five words, and if it’s in the PM, they’ll include “FOS PM:”.

  • The NFL is Serious About Streaming
  • Private Equity Hits College Sports
  • FOS PM: ACC Expands, Pac-12 Done?

The Preheader will include more about what’s in the newsletter, here’s an example:

There is an introduction at the beginning with the consistent sign off of the writer linked out to their author’s page, a nice shoutout.

🎨 Visual aesthetics

The layout is easy to follow. There is a light grey line acting as a Content Divider for each section providing a smooth reading flow, with unique Social Sharing links at the bottom of sections to share that particular story “via FOS”.


Via Twitter // X

Sharing example from Front Office Sports

They consistently use shades of blue to highlight things like their Podcast:

And as a highlight color for the mini headlines in the Sponsored Content section.

🔗 Link Sections

Front Office Sports curates a blend of sections that house a variety of links, including some Editor Picks.

Conversation Starters

Editor’s Picks

💰️ Sponsored Content

The trademark blue, as seen throughout the newsletter, acts as a mini headline, as well as denotes Sponsored Content, creating a seamless content flow.

🕹️ Interactive, engaging elements

Referral program

We did not notice one mentioned in the email.

Poll // Question // Trivia section

Front Office Sports asks a Question of the Day, with the Answer featured in next day’s send, building anticipation and a habit for readers to open the next email.


Answer (featured in next day’s send)

📺️ What we’re watching section

They did not include a “What we’re watching”-like section.

➕ Bonus observation

The footer functions like a mini-navigation hub, complete with links to Advertise, Learning, Videos and more. This section also tends to include disclaimers.

Newsletter #3: Yahoo Sports AM

Yahoo Sports AM

Axios Sports ring a bell? Their main writer, Kendall Baker, recently joined Yahoo and is their “Pilot” for Yahoo Sports AM. The “All the sports, all in one place,” newsletter is sent to an unknown amount of subscribers, and launched ~week ago. There isn’t a large sample size for analysis, and based on their introductions are adapting and fine-tuning as they go.

🎉 You got this, Kendall and Jeff!

📧 Introduction, Subject Line and Preheader

The Subject Line for their emails are an emoji + Yahoo Sports AM + ~three words (similar to the subject lines of Axios Sports).

  • 🎾 Yahoo Sports AM: Taylor Fritz interview.
  • 🏈 Yahoo Sports AM: One week down
  • 📺️ Yahoo Sports AM: Cable vs. ESPN

The Preheader will include more about what’s in the newsletter, here’s an example:

There is an introduction at the beginning with a sign off of “Let’s sports…”

🎨 Visual aesthetics

Though the sample size is small, they launched with a blend of consistency and spontaneity in their design. Each section uses a light grey line as a Content Divider and they’re including some interesting sections!

🔗 Link Sections

The Headlines section takes a prime spot towards the beginning of the newsletter, instead of the typical placement towards the bottom.

Interestingly, we noticed a slight evolution in design between September 5 and 7, signaling a potential phase of experimentation and//or refinement.

Example from September 5 (mini headline and emojis):

Example from September 7 (No mini headline and no emojis):

The newsletter continues with a couple of sections, highlighting different sports and news depending on the day.


💰️ Sponsored Content

Not… yet? Though there was a link to BetMGM in the Betting section, it didn’t have a disclaimer, leaving us unsure of its official stance as Sponsored Content.

🕹️ Interactive, engaging elements

Referral program

We did not notice one in the email. Unsure if Yahoo newsletters offers a referral program for any of their newsletters.

Poll // Question // Trivia section

Yahoo Sports AM offers a variety of interactive, engaging elements, like sharing an “On This Day” fact, highlights of top plays along with some trivia.


September 5 example (with emoji and mini headline):

September 7 example (without emoji and mini headline):

Answer (featured at the bottom of the email)

The answers are featured at the bottom of the email. Talk about instant gratification.

September 5 answer:

September 7 answer:

On This Day

Photo of the ____

Daily Ranking


This links out to Baker’s Twitter where you can watch the Top 10 plays.

📺️ What we’re watching section

They include a Watchlist section towards the bottom:

➕ Bonus observation

Yahoo! Sports AM doesn't shy away from promoting their platform with distinct callouts in sections like Headlines and Betting, guiding readers to explore more exciting content on their website.

Headlines example:

Betting section example:

Newsletter #4: HeadlineToGo from Boardroom


Boardroom sends out a daily and two weekly newsletters. We’ll be focusing on the daily: HeadlineToGo. It provides “A morning rundown of the day’s biggest business news across sports, entertainment, culture and the key players in the industry.” Sent out to an unknown amount of subscribers.

Founded in 2019 by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman and is a 35V company.


Shoutout to Kevin Durant for spotlighting boba, arguably one of the most delightful beverages around. We certainly are enthusiasts!

📧 Introduction, Subject Line and Preheader

The Subject Line for their emails are speaker emoji + HeadlineToGo + date. This creates a rhythm like pattern, and a consistent look in the inbox.

  • 🔈️ HeadlineToGo: September 5
  • 🔈️ HeadlineToGo: August 31
  • 🔈️ HeadlineToGo: August 26

The Preheader will include more about what’s in the newsletter, here’s an example:

There isn’t a standard introduction like in some of the other examples. There is a header image with an image of the writer, Vinciane Ngomsi.

🎨 Visual aesthetics

A minimalist yet captivating approach marks their visual aesthetics. A black line acts as a Content Divider framing the series of headlines, encouraging readers to explore each segment.

🔗 Link Sections

HeadlineToGo goes for comprehensive summaries in each section instead of too many external links. This approach nurtures a focused reading experience, helping readers soak in the essence without venturing out of their inbox.

Example 1

Example 2

💰️ Sponsored Content

We typically see “Presented by,” or “Sponsored by,” language at the top of a section. HeadlineToGo found a spot nestled under the image, adding a unique presentation.  

It also featured collaborations styled as “From Our Friends at”, which may or may not have been a paid collaboration.

🕹️ Interactive, engaging elements

Referral program

Although the newsletter doesn't overflow with interactive elements, and may not be their goal with HeadlinesToGo, it features a referral program encouraging readers to be a part of a growing community.

Poll // Question // Trivia section

We didn’t notice any in the newsletter.

📺️ What we’re watching section

They didn’t include a specific “What we’re watching” or a Watchlist section with a variety of things to watch, but did have a shoutout to Boardroom.TV:

➕ Bonus observation

True to its name, HeadlineToGo seeks to offer readers a quick, yet informative reading session every morning. A notable choice is the limited external links, encouraging readers to soak it all in in the inbox.

Newsletter #5: The Underdog Newsletter

The Underdog Newsletter, Joker Mag

The Underdog Newsletter confused us a little since there is a beehiiv page and a JokerMag page. From our understanding, The Underdog Newsletter is a part of Joker Mag, and is written by Tyler O’Shea.

Going with Joker Mag wording: “Get inspired by the best sports stories you’ve never heard & learn powerful lessons from underdogs beating the odds.” With over 7,000 subscribers according to their sign-up page.

📧 Introduction, Subject Line and Preheader

The Subject Line for their emails may be undergoing a rebrand since they started including a dog emoji in their subject line accompanied by a couple of words:

  • 🐶 | Jailbird rocks MLB (September 5 send)
  • Billy Beane's Ultimate Dream (July 11 send)
  • 56-Year-Old College Baseball Player (June 27 send)

The Preheader will include more about what’s in the newsletter, here’s an example:

There is an introduction at the beginning with the consistent sign off of “Let’s dive in.”

🎨 Visual aesthetics

Visually, there’s a consistent yellow found throughout. Used as the color of the Content Divider, and in the graphics, maintaining a cohesive and vibrant look throughout.

🔗 Link Sections

The Underdog Newsletter was one of the few newsletters we analyzed using a graphic as a headline. Typically, a headline like “Top Stories 📰“ would be in an H1 or bigger font, but The Underdog Newsletter uses a graphic to denote most sections. Examples below.

Top Stories

Nestled towards the latter part of the email, Top Stories appears to be their Link Section.

Extra Innings

As you venture further, the Extra Innings section is found below the referral program section towards the bottom, and offers shoutouts to readers along with a selection of additional links.

💰️ Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content finds its dedicated section, complete with a call-to-action button and multiple links, offering readers avenues to explore further.

🕹️ Interactive, engaging elements

Referral program

The referral program finds its spot towards the bottom of the email, offering readers an opportunity to spread the word about The Underdog Newsletter.

Poll // Question // Trivia section


The writer prompts readers to reply to the email, asking readers to let them know which story you liked most. Or you can take a poll to rate the edition of the newsletter. Both elements encouraging a dialogue, and can help with engagement and deliverability.


The Underdog Newsletter incorporates trivia into the newsletter with the answer found at the bottom.

Answer (featured towards the bottom of the email)

📺️ What we’re watching section

We did not see a “What we’re watching”-like section, but it also might not be applicable since they’re focusing on one particular story in each newsletter.

➕ Bonus observation

Ending on a positive note, the Feel-Good Post section encourages readers to leave with a smile, a wonderful way to wrap up a newsletter filled with inspirational narratives.

🔑 Key observations

The Newsletter Newsletter
  • Newsletter-first approach? Some of the newsletters analyzed were a part of a larger media organization, and were not front and center on their homepage. For example, Front Office Sports, Yahoo and Boardroom highlighted their content versus signing up for the newsletter. Signing up for their newsletter was front and center on the homepages of The Sportsletter and The Underdog Newsletter.
  • Curated watchlist. A prevalent trend across the board, this section offers a curated list of must-watch events, fostering a community of engaged and informed readers who are in the loop about the latest happenings in the sports world.
  • Personal introduction and sign-off. Adding a touch of personality, most newsletters feature friendly introductions and characteristic sign-offs, such as “Let’s sports…” or “Letter Rip!” This creates a connection between the writer and the reader, making the interaction more personal and engaging.
  • Engaging elements. Whether it’s a referral program, poll, Question of the Day or trivia, each newsletter seemed to highlight something along those lines, transforming the reading experience into an interactive and engaging one that encourages reader participation.
  • Consistent, yet dynamic subject lines. Some newsletters take the approach of incorporating the highlights or what’s featured in the newsletter, which is dynamic, and may or may not pair them with something static like the use of a specific emoji, or an emoji in general, or a prefix.
  • Smooth reading experience. Most of the newsletters we analyzed were fairly long, except for maybe HeadlineToGo. To ensure a smooth reading experience, design elements such as Content Dividers, imagery, H1 or headlines were common to help guide you through the newsletter.

Want us to deep dive on a newsletter? Or maybe feature your newsletter in an upcoming newsletter? Email us.

🐶 Pawsitive vibes

💌 Thanks for joining the pack of newsletter enthusiasts! Keep on reading, writing and sharing your newsletters with the world.

Also want to shoutout folks that have been sharing their feedback with us. Thank you!

 ✏️ One sentence, okay maybe two, to take you into the weekend:

The Newsletter Newsletter

🎉 Have a great week!

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