We hate it. Perhaps it’s out of vanity, but we hope you do, too. A little?
Whether for now or forever, Electric City Sports is shutting down. We’ve sunk a bundle in the Anderson County sports site.
Now it’s 4th-and-a-mile here and we have no choice but to punt. Almost seven months ago, we set out on a mission to give Anderson County coverage of all its sports at eight public high schools and a private university. We recognized correctly that the job was logistically difficult. We thought incorrectly that we could mine all those different fan bases for support.
We’re proud of what we did. We’re honored by a readership that has led our three sports sites (the others are Laurens County Sports and Furman All the Time!) in clicks, page views and most other pertinent analytics.
Fans seem to like us. Coaches and athletes seem to like us. Many potential advertisers don’t. Perhaps we weren’t sophisticated enough in our appeals.
We put a lot of non-productive time into advertising sales. A lot of businesses never told us yes but never told us no, and we spent too much time following up over and over. What we’ve learned is valuable. “Let me think about it” has a practical translation as “no.”
We tried to solicit advertisers with ads.
We solicited voluntary support by a yellow “donate” button on the site and a link to our Patreon site, where readers themselves could make monthly donations of any amount. It doesn’t minimize our gratitude to two individuals who liked us enough to donate to the Anderson County cause. We just needed, oh, about 48 more.
Our cheapest advertisement was $35 a month. Our cheapest Patreon subscription tier was $3 a month.
Football is king in South Carolina, and football is over. We love the other sports. Analytics and advertisements tell us that not as many do.
Money is why we cannot continue, but we have already invested as much in time as money. We felt we had to spend money to make money. One has not followed the other. Support has gotten better, but this decision is really based more on another kind of analytics. We can’t figure out a plausible way for ECS to make enough money to make it worthwhile.
Not that we didn’t make mistakes. Not that we didn’t learn lessons too late for ECS but useful with LCS and FUATT.
We’ve been staying up all night on weekends to get everything done. Now we’re just working most nights. It’s the change that takes place when football and others make the transition to basketball and others.
FurmanATT.com has shown a tremendous upside with a fraction, a very small fraction, of the work we’ve done in Anderson. Two of the advertisements, from clients who came to us, have outsold Electric City Sports’ six months of ad revenue.
We’re not altogether giving up on the site. For now, it’s on hiatus. It’s in what politicians call “the pre-planning stage.” We plan to make more plans.
ElectricCitySports.com may reemerge in another form, whether it’s a tighter focus, a different topic or a different place with a different name.
Just because we haven’t gotten enough support doesn’t mean we aren’t doubly grateful to the folks who supported us from day one.
We suppressed our frustrations by working harder, improving our coverage and clinging to the notion “if we build it better, they will come.”
DHK Sports was born in a pandemic, and only one of its initials remain involved. LaurensCountySports.com, which debuted in April 2020, struggled at 1st but is now solid. Job 1 is now building FurmanATT.com. Job 2 is maintaining LCS’s prosperity. Job 3 is something down the road now. It may be something that comes to us instead of what has heretofore been vice-versa.
We can’t thank those who supported us enough. We just couldn’t find enough of them to go on.
The best thing about punting is that you can get the ball back if the clock doesn’t run out. It’s just time to stop milking it and call timeout.