Letter from the Editor: Have you ever felt the ‘die’ in ‘diehard Lions fan?’ Then insider texts are for you

Dungeon of Doom Insider

MLive is launching a new premium texting service on Monday, May 22, 2023. It will connect avid Lions fans with the sportswriters who cover the team for MLive.

It’s been so long since the Detroit Lions bandwagon has rolled through town that many fans are going to need an instruction manual on how to climb aboard.

But MLive has just the thing for those who never jumped off, those who bleed Honolulu blue and silver and bear the emotional scars of sticking by one of the NFL’s saddest franchises over the last 65 years.

Starting Monday, we’re launching the Dungeon of Doom Insider Texts – a subscription service for diehard fans that will serve up text messages every day from our Detroit Lions coverage team of Kyle Meinke, Ben Raven and Kory Woods.

It will be conversational, it will be in the moment, and it will take you directly into practices, the locker room and press conferences.

“People I respect in this business have used (direct texts) as a way to connect even more directly with the fans who care most,” Meinke said. “It will take readers even more behind the scenes into the team and life on the beat. We’re going to provide as much insider access as possible, as quick as possible.”

Here’s how Raven describes it: “Like texting with a friend each day who happens to cover the Detroit Lions for a living. You’ll get our take from the source on whatever topic, thought or idea comes to mind – usually before a story publishes to MLive.com.” (Woods is on parental leave and unavailable to comment, but will return in time for summer training camp.)

The $4.99 monthly cost of this insider access is less than a bottle of water at Ford Field. And, MLive is offering a two-week trial, so you can get the feel of the service and start to interact with our Lions writers. To sign up, click here. You can text STOP at any time to end the service.

The timing couldn’t be better: The Lions are the pick of sportswriters and sports betting books to win the NFC North this coming season. We’re going to experience communal bliss, or profound disappointment. Either way, it’s going to have everyone talking.

“This level of turnaround didn’t feel within reach for years and years,” Raven said. “It’s been a complete teardown and rebuilding of the roster and culture, though. … We feel and see the difference on the beat every day. Covering competitive football for this fan base has been the highlight of my career.”

The Lions last won a division title in 1993; 40 percent of Michigan’s 10 million residents weren’t even alive when that happened. And yet Detroit football fans are among the most passionate in the country, Meinke said.

“Sounds like I’m writing a Hallmark movie, but you have to understand how atypical that kind of thing is in pro sports. When someone is getting fileted every week, the people stop going to games. They stop reading stories. They stop caring. But not in Detroit. Not with the Lions.”

The name of the texting service is borrowed from our Lions podcast of the same name. Dungeon of Doom, a phrase insiders will know was taken from a former coach’s name for the media contingent, is MLive’s most popular and fastest growing podcast.

The podcast features insights, opinions and newsy items from the writers. They also invite guests – current and former players, coaches, sportscasters and other NFL beat writers. Here’s the episode with the longest tenured Lions player, offensive tackle Taylor Decker.

“I loved those conversations, because you won’t find a bigger collection of people who know what they’re talking about regarding the Lions,” Meinke said. “When the podcast is at its best, it does a lot of that. And now that we have built some momentum, we have some bigger ideas on the horizon for next season.”

Big ideas for a season with big hopes. Dungeon of Doom Insider will help it be as fun and satisfying for fans as it is for the MLive pros who cover the team.

“We didn’t cover a game with much as a whiff of implication for nearly a half-decade. That’s a long time to be a national afterthought,” Meinke said.

“It’s pretty weird to see just how trendy this team has become now. Opening the season in prime time against Kansas City – in the first game of the NFL season – is yet more evidence of just how much folks are buying into the Detroit Lions. This will take some getting used to.”

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John Hiner is the vice president of content for MLive Media Group. If you have questions you’d like him to answer, or topics to explore, share your thoughts at editor@mlive.com.

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