Summer League

A few people have written about the Blazersedge Summer League plans so I thought I'd address things here to save cutting and pasting replies.

For those who aren't aware for the past couple of years I have headed down to Las Vegas to cover Summer League for the site and for some national publications.  It has been an absolute blast and I have been proud of the work we've done.  Since Summer League has been populated by the team's most significant players the last two summers many of the year's trends have been foreshadowed here before they've been anywhere else.

The hardest part of the trip both years was hands-down getting media credentials.  The first year we just flat-out couldn't and I had to cover the games from the stands.  Last year we had them and put them to good use, if nothing else by getting that famous "Buffet of Goodness" quote from Channing Frye.  Apart from that the trip was a breeze.  The first year one of the local media people was kind enough to get a double-occupancy room and let me stay in it.  Last year faithful-reader Ken put up both Photographer Dave and I in his very own house.  Both experiences were a blast and I made life-long friends.  It was also wonderful getting to know some of the other media personalities who cover the team...people you've seen interviewed here like Jason Quick, Mike Barrett, Mike Rice, Scott Zachary, Brian Wheeler, and so on.  The connections there were amazing and it was an honor.  Best of all was the Blazersedge get-together in Vegas.  We had around 20 people who had a blast getting to know each other and talking about the team.  That was one of the nights that made blogging worth it.

This year, though, everything has flipped around.  At this point I don't think getting media credentials would be a big issue.  Ironically enough, just when that puzzle gets solved the rest of it becomes problematic.  First and foremost, both my media connection and faithful-reader Ken have moved elsewhere.  That means I'd have to pay to put myself up in Vegas for 10-12 days (on top of already paying my way down there, food, and related expenses).   What's more, in case you didn't know it the ticket-link market on sports blogs has gone completely dead.  It used to be the bigger your blog the higher it was ranked on Google.  Ticket companies would buy text space on highly-ranked sports blogs to get higher Google ranks themselves.  That provided the travel money for Summer League (as well as contests).  Google has since nerfed the ranking of any blog with those links (including this one) and any ticket company buying them.  That means no ticket company will touch an ad like that with a ten-foot pole now.  Those links you see in the left sidebar are running out the last legs of last year's contract.  None of them will be renewed.  Since there is no other way for individual bloggers to sell ad space in this new format (notice the blogads are gone) that means this blog is officially bringing in zero income and will continue that way for the foreseeable future.  After years of blogging every day for almost free, I am now officially doing it whole-hog.

In the days when we were bringing in two paychecks at home this all might have been a non-issue.  But as you know we had Baby Point Guard this year and that means one less paycheck coming in and extra expenses for strained peas and diapers.  (Somehow those two are related.  I haven't quite figured it out yet.)

What this is all leading up to is it's going to be very difficult for me to go to Summer League this year.  The combination of basically tripling or quadrupling the trip expenses, plus having no blogging income to offset the cost, plus less money coming in at home seems pretty insurmountable at this point.  It's going to kill me to not be there.  I am really going to miss the networking and making connections.  I'm worried that the blog may suffer a little because of that.  Part of me is really tempted to just spend the money out of my own pocket anyway.  But having thought about it for the last two months I'm pretty sure this is one of those times I should be valuing my responsibilities as a husband and father over my responsibilities as a blogger.  I probably owe it to the little guy not to spend his strained peas money to cover the Blazers, no matter how much I love doing it.

I hope that's understandable to everyone.  Maybe some of the folks who are in the stands can give us reports of how things are going.  It's not quite the same as getting interviews and inside info from scouts and analysts, but it could still be cool (and, being home-grown, very Blazersedge-ish).

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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