Steve Hiegel says traditional sports news websites today are just too busy.
When you visit ESPN.com, it can take a few clicks and pages to eventually get to college basketball coverage.
Hiegel sees a market for specialized collegiate sports coverage. So, the current marketing director at Lutherville-based Omni Land Settlement plans to get at the heart of this problem with his new line of college sports websites.
Starting wth JustCollegeBasketball.com this month, Hiegel is planning to create a network of all things college sports.
He has already invested between $25,000 and $50,000 of his own money into developing the website and hiring writers, and hopes to one day make it his full-time job.
Throughout the college basketball season, Hiegel and his writers will be interviewing coaches, writing features and giving readers their informed opinions about teams and players.
Going forward, he also hopes to launch JustCollegeSoccer.com and JustCollegeFootball.com.
What made you want to launch your own website?
I came up with it because you go to ESPN usually for sports news. But if you want to just look for one thing, and one thing only, this is the place to go. It can be a pain with all of the sites, you go there and you find all of this information at once, but sometimes you only want one sport. Long story short, I drove out to Arizona for this year’s Final Four, and I had a long time to think. And it got me thinking that it would be so much easier to get my college basketball news if it was all on one dedicated website.
What are some specific things that readers can expect to see on the site?
It’s going to be broad for starters. And I’ll be on there, but I have writers as well. For example, the feature section will be once-a-week “sleeper teams,” a “player of the year” watch and a “coach’s corner.” I’ll be doing a focus on a different arena, probably one a week. I’ll be traveling to some of the arenas, talking about the good and the bad. It’s about the game on the court, but it’s also a website about the fan experience.
What kind of investment is needed to get this kind of thing off the ground?
Monetary, it’s been probably about $25,000 to $50,000 to start up. And I’ve done a lot of background stuff over the past couple of months. I don’t mind doing it, though, I like doing it. I want to launch two sister sites, as well with college football and soccer. I always wanted to launch three different sites, start with [basketball] because the season starts the soonest.
What got you into college basketball in the first place?
I’ve always been a big fan of it. I’m 40 years old now, and when I was a kid, you could only watch five or six games on TV. And now almost every game is on at once and accessible.It’s a great game to watch, too. If you watch the NBA, it’s just not the same. The best team always wins. In college, you never know what could happen. I’ve always liked the sport and I’ve always been a big fan and always looking for something out there that would give the fan’s perspective.
Nowadays, anyone can launch their own sports blog and can offer their opinions on social media. What do you think will set yours apart?
I think my site will be different, because it’ll be giving different points of view. I’ll be doing a different focus each month on each conference, and even some of the lesser-known conferences. If you’re just on Twitter looking you’re just getting news, not really in-depth features on coaches and players. So we hope to be more informational for the die-hard fan. I’m not going to do as much of the writing myself, though. I’m working to get a couple of people to do blogs on the site who are ex-players or ex-coaches. Because if I have people who are known as experts, that’ll drive traffic.