The Allrounder will be the online journal for fans, athletes and enthusiasts who know that there’s more to sport than preseason predictions, arguments over missed calls, and highlights of fantastic finishes. We won’t break down last weekend’s action or make predictions for the upcoming season. Instead, The Allrounder’s writers will look at the broader meanings and impact of our games.
The Allrounder will be distinct from existing sports media sites in covering the whole world of sport. The site will feature writers from different countries, whose expertise ranges from basketball, cricket, and hockey to all codes of football. And The Allrounder will aim for the global fan—for the Indian who is up in the middle of the night watching the Champions League, the American who follows Six Nations rugby, the Brit who cheers for the Maple Leafs, the Brazilian with a LeBron jersey, and the Aussie who loves baseball novels.
The Allrounder will also offer a different take on sport. Most of our contributors are academic researchers at universities around the world. The site will bring their insights out of the seminar room and make them available to educated, curious fans—without getting overly theoretical or ponderous. We’ll be smart without being stuffy or snide.
What will The Allrounder offer?
When The Allrounder launches in September 2014, it will offer original pieces of analysis, opinion, and in-depth research, presented in an engaging and accessible way.
The Allrounder has a large pool of contributors who cover the globe. Here are just a few of the topics they’ve written about for academic presses and media sites:
- white owners, black players, and racial politics of the NBA
- NFL Films and the development of sports media
- fútbol and politics in Pinochet’s Chile
- female fans of Australian rugby
- IPL matches on YouTube and the future of online sports broadcasting
- cycling in the Middle East
- German politics and the 1972 Munich Olympics
- Canadian hockey poetry
- the neuroscience of fandom
In covering topics like these, The Allrounder will offer a deeper look at how sport shapes our world. We expect that you’ll learn something new, and that you’ll gain a different view of your favorite games.
The Allrounder will also serve as a digest of insightful sports writing from around the web. The site will present a curated selection of essays drawn from an international pool of blogs, journals, and media sites. By offering original content as well as a digest of worthy reads, we expect The Allrounder to be regular reading for sports enthusiasts who look beyond scores and highlights.
We’ll also have some diversions, such as killer trivia—since all sports fans love trivia (especially fans with graduate degrees).
Why are we running a Kickstarter campaign?
The Allrounder will feature the work of experienced researchers, journalists, and authors. Their writing regularly appears in academic journals and sports media. They speak at international conferences, and they're interviewed for radio and TV. Kickstarter pledges will allow us to compensate their work for the first year.
Donations to the Kickstarter campaign will also meet our start-up costs: site design, programming, hosting, legal fees, etc.
Who are we?
The Allrounder is led by a team of four editors who have been researching and teaching about sports for years:
Bruce Berglund is a historian and director of the Honors Program at Calvin College. A two-time Fulbright scholar in Eastern Europe, he has written about nationalism, architecture, religion, and cultural geography in that region. He has interviewed more than 125 scholars and journalists for the podcast New Books in Sports, which is downloaded by listeners in 112 countries.
Michael Buma is an analyst at Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ontario, and a former faculty member in English and kinesiology at Western University. He is the author of the book Refereeing Identity: The Cultural Work of Canadian Hockey Novels. His writing about the cultural meaning of sports has appeared in periodicals such as Aethlon and Canadian Literature.
Yago Colás teaches sports and culture at the University of Michigan, where his courses include "Global Sports Cultures" and "Cultures of Basketball." His writing has appeared at Salon, The Classical, Free Darko, and his own blog Between the Lines. He is currently completing a book entitled "Ball Don't Lie! Myth, History, and Invention in the Culture of Basketball."
Jean Williams is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University in Leicester. She leads the MA distance program in Sport, History and Culture and teaches modules on sport and literature, mega events, and the Olympic Games. Jean's most recent books are part one of A Contemporary History of Women's Sport and Globalising Women’s Football.
The Allrounder’s contributors are specialists in a variety of academic fields—people like philosopher Emily Ryall, economist Stefan Szymanski, sociologist David Rowe, film and media scholar Victoria E. Johnson, biochemist Chris Cooper, historian Tony Collins, anthropologist Meghan Ferriter, and cultural studies scholar Juan Poblete. And we’ll feature the work of journalists, bloggers, and authors, like former BBC correspondent Nicholas Walton (the voice of our video), ESPN Cricinfo contributors Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and Firdose Moonda, novelist Geoff Herbach, Hockey in Society editor Mark Norman, and John Harms of The Footy Almanac and ABC television’s Offsiders.
For an introduction to a few more of our writers, and to see samples of their work for other sites, please visit the Line-Up page on our preview site.
New to Kickstarter?
If you’re new to Kickstarter, here’s how it works.
We are the creators of the project, and we’re asking for your donation to help get it started. If you decide to give, hit the green “Back This Project” button at the top. You’ll be asked to select an amount of money to pledge, and the corresponding reward you wish to receive. In order to pledge, you will then be asked to set up an account with Kickstarter. It’s quick, painless, and allows you to visit Kickstarter again and support other project.
Kickstarter explains the whole process on their Backer Questions page.
Please visit The Allrounder site for credits and source information for the images used in our video.
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter funding will help us get established for the first year. But the big challenge we'll face--like other online media sites--is setting a strategy for long-term sustainability. In our first year, we'll work at building revenue sources. This includes partnering with appropriate advertisers for The Allrounder site. We are also making plans for print publications that we will produce in the first year. Like The Allrounder site itself, these publications will feature top international writers and will be marketed to readers around the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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