Esports journalists Jacob Wolf, Mikhail Klimentov launch joint Patreon

Jacob Wolf Mikhail Klimentov headshots
Image credit: Jacob Wolf via Substack

Esports journalists Jacob Wolf and Mikhail Klimentov have moved their independent Substack newsletter publications into a joint Patreon.

The pair said the move would allow them to pool their resources and have greater reach while maintaining their individual brands and personalities. Together, they will continue to cover gaming, esports, the creator economy and wider internet culture.

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Jacob Wolf is a veteran esports journalist who’s worked for leading endemic and non-endemic outlets. A former reporter for ESPN, The Daily Dot and Dot Esports, Wolf has broken numerous major industry stories including extensive reporting on League of Legends and Activision Blizzard’s franchised esports leagues. Wolf is currently CEO and founder of production company Overcome, and writes The Jacob Wolf Report, an independent subscriber-funded newsletter on Substack.

Mikhail Kilemintov was Assistant Editor at the Washington Post’s now-shuttered gaming and esports vertical Launcher, following which he transitioned to an Assistant Editor role at the Washington Post’s Foreign desk. Mikhail, who’s broken stories on topics such as TSM’s toxic workplace culture and the recent LCS player walkout, now authors esports-focused Substack newsletter ReaderGrev. Mikhail told Esports Insider the new joint Patreon venture would be separate from his work at the Washington Post, where he remains an Editor.

The new Patreon will include access to the journalists’ respective newsletters, and podcasts. While the pair will join forces and bring their work under one joint Patreon, the newsletters will continue to be published separately and will not be merged.

“Long-term we want to be able to build a subscription-backed media company that is… employee-owned, content creator- and journalist-owned, something that we can truly have ownership [of] and dictate everything that we’re doing,” Wolf said in an announcement video on the new Patreon page.

“Our ambition in turning to Patreon is to be able to pool our resources, check off our bucket list journalistic stories that we’ve always wanted to do,” Kilemintov added. The pair said they hoped to support other journalists and grow their team should the model succeed.

Jacob Wolf Mikhail Klimenintov
Pictured left-right: Jacob Wolf, Mikhail Klimentov. Image credit: Overcome via YouTube

Subscription prices on their Patreon range from £6 per month for the starting tier and rise to £13/month and £64/month respectively for two premium tiers with varied perks.

Both Wolf’s and Klimentov’s newsletters offered paid subscription options on Substack. However, Wolf has spoken about hitting a growth ceiling on the newsletter publishing platform thanks to its predominantly non-gamer audience and his relative lack of discoverability on the platform.

In an interview with Digiday, where the news was first reported, Jacob Wolf argued that Patreon was more native to gamers than Substack, and thus would allow them to better scale and monetise their audience.

Recent years have seen a number of esports-focused news outlets and media companies fold or lay off journalists, including Washington Post’s Launcher, Upcomer, Inven Global, ShiftRLE, Fanbyte, G4 and more.

The predominantly younger gaming and esports audience is often seen as having less appetite for reading and paying for written journalism, in part thanks to the direct connection to celebrities and news sources provided by social media.

Jake Nordland
Jake has worked at Esports Insider as a journalist and editor since early 2021. Now ESI's Media Manager, he continues to act as lead editor of print magazine The Esports Journal, and contributes his words to the website from time to time.