The Future of IHC
STAND UP, ORÖ?
Is it time for Inline Hockey Central to become mostly reader supported?
by Richard Graham
Crazy thought: What if IHC was supported only by reader contributions and advertisers that could take an occasional negative comment about their product or service in the Forums section and continue to support IHC? (Many former advertisers and potential advertisers have been scared away by negative comments by IHCís readers. Thatís a fact. Itís an uncomfortable fact, but itís a fact.)
It would mean a Pay Pal donation button on the IHC Home Page, and occasional reminders that IHC was largely reader supported. That can be a pain in the neck, I know. I have always disliked those appeals for support from a radio show, when youíd tuned in to listen to MUSIC.
The reason this topic comes up is because IHC has limped along for most of its 10 years because of my personal sense of obligation to the sport. Inline hockey gave me a living from 1993 to 1997 when I was an editor at Roller Hockey Magazine and InLine Hockey News, but those days are long gone. I really donít think I owe anything to the sport anymore, personally... I just love it, and want to see it reach the heights it once attained, when InLine Hockey News said that inline hockey was ďthe sport of the Ď90s.Ē
Several people have asked me to turn up the heat on the Professional Inline Hockey Association, asking that I pose even tougher questions to Charley Yoder, but my sense is that that would be fighting THEIR battles. Whatís in it for IHC if I help to bring down PIHA? Whatís in it for the sport in general? Absolutely nothing, in my opinion.
I am still in a bit of shock that IHC has rarely had any advertising support from some of the major companies in the sport. I no longer think itís anything I did personally to alienate the bigwigs at those companies. I now think that it is their shortsightedness and narrow vision and blinding egos. I donít think anyone can deny that Inline Hockey Central brings new people to the sport every single year. Those companies should feel an OBLIGATION to support Inline Hockey Central. Since they donít, it would be wonderful if IHCís 40,000 unique visitors each month could chip in a little bit to keep this site going.
Where else can you keep up on the news of inline hockey around the world? Where else can you have (nearly) daily breaking news stories on domestic and international tournaments, major issues facing the sport, and the people who are working their butts off to build our great sport, from the recreational leagues to middle schools to high schools to colleges to ostensible professional leagues to masters divisions?
Where else can you find information on places to play, the best equipment to buy, and which tournaments to support and which tournaments to avoid? (Iím well aware that itís mostly IHCís readers who perform that specific informational service, on IHCís very own Forums section, and I salute IHCís readers for that.)
The answer? Nowhere.
So, Iíve said it. Are IHCís readers prepared to step up and keep this site alive? If everyone who visited IHC sent in one dollar per year, I think that IHC could survive indefinitely... and I wouldnít have to go hat in hand to events like the Letís Play Hockey Show and ask for advertising support, and not get one single reply from any of the companyís that attended that show, except for Slapshot Energy Drink, a company that I gave a free banner ad to because I liked their product and their personable and friendly owners.
Iíve thrown down the gauntlet. Letís hear where YOU stand.
(Of course, I extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported Inline Hockey Central over the course of the last 10 years, as readers, advertisers, commemorative IHC jersey purchasers, etc. You know who you are. If you need me to point you out, Iím willing to do that, too.
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