About this project
When I launched BallinMichigan.com seven months ago, my vision was to create a site that is both a news source for basketball coverage at all levels in Michigan as well as a historical site that curates the state's rich basketball tradition and history that includes legendary names like Magic Johnson, George Gervin, Dave DeBusschere, Chet Walker, Spencer Haywood and Mel Daniels among its many notable greats.
So far, I've been both overwhelmed by the success of the site in a relatively short period of time and anxious to tell more stories. Michigan is a huge state, with great basketball traditions and stories tucked in every corner that I'm dying to be able to tell. To do that, I need great writers to go out and help find them. And to find great writers, I need to be able to pay them for their time.
BallinMichigan.com is many things -- a news source for readers, a hobby for me, the site's founder and editor, a platform that showcases videos and stories about young players who dream of playing at the college level, a resource for coaches looking for information about potential players, a forum for professional players playing away from home overseas to stay connected with fans and supporters back in Michigan and will continue to evolve to serve many more purposes.
Above all, it's a labor of love. A way to promote and highlight the many excellent things the game of basketball can provide, a way to shed light on under-covered teams and athletes in the state and, eventually, it will be a historical database full of information about the teams, players, coaches and others who have made the Michigan basketball tradition what it is.
It will continue to be all of those things, funding or not. But I also realize the potential that this site has as a tool. Expanded coverage through this funding will bring more participation and more voices to the site, which will allow us to grow to new heights. This $1,000 investment from our readers will be solely devoted to paying freelance writers for content over the next year. Now, $1,000 is certainly not enough to pay for full-time help or anything like that, but rationed appropriately, BallinMichigan.com in 2013 will have significantly more in-depth content and be a model for other hyper-local, specialized sports news sites around the country.
Risks and challenges
The beauty of this project is there are no risks. BallinMichigan, although it has an established and growing audience, is still in its start-up phase. The goal, ultimately, is to eventually become a site that makes enough advertising revenue to maintain a yearly freelance budget. We're getting there on that front -- our traffic has grown significantly each month and will continue to grow, meaning our ad revenue will continue to grow as well.
This $1,000 is a seed investment. It will allow us to pay a modest amount per-story to freelancers to produce quality, in-depth writing on assigned topics. 100 percent of the money will go towards these stories. 100 percent of the money will be spent in 2013. Each story that is produced using these funds will be noted when the story is published and at the end of the year, a thank-you to readers who supported the cause, along with links to all of the work produced with this funding, will be published on the site.
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