Sadly, Slingshot will cease operations effective tomorrow, Oct. 31, 2017.
We launched Slingshot because we wanted to do great esports journalism. I think under editor Vince Nairn’s leadership, we did produce great work. We didn’t fail in this regard and I owe debt of gratitude to all of the writers and contributors who worked with Slingshot over the past two years.
We were unable, however, to secure enough funding to continue operations. This is a business fault that lies with me, not with the editorial staff. For the past eight months or so we have been trying to raise funds and simply did not raise enough to continue Slingshot in the way we wanted. We had offers to purchase the site, but for several reasons those offers did not make sense. So we declined. We had a great business plan and were making progress building a membership base. But that plan requires new resources. And we weren’t able to find them.
We set out to create a media company that was independent and focused on producing high-quality journalism and esports content. We thought and still think we have a solid business plan built around diversified revenue streams from memberships, advertising and ecommerce based on our years of publishing experience. But for many years digital media has been dominated by advertising alone and now there’s skepticism about the monetization potential of advertising, leaving many investors and venture capital firms skittish about media. Some of the investors we spoke with were all in on social video, which we don’t think makes for good journalism or works as a long term business strategy.
Esports needs an independent media outlet. I urge anyone who was a fan of Slingshot to support the other independent, native media in esports. There needs to be someone willing to report on wrongdoing. Someone needs to stick up for unpaid players and to investigate the inner workings of the industry as it expands and experiences growing pains. I wanted this to be Slingshot, but it seems that will not be the case. So please, support other independent media.
Anyone who contributed to the Patreon we launched will be refunded. We launched the membership program as a step toward building to the future. But things did not work out as planned. Our intention was only to take money from members if we were continuing with the operation. So we will issue refunds.
I will likely share some more thoughts in the coming days about esports and esports journalism. I’d be happy to share more details about the experience on the business side with anyone interested. At the very least, maybe it can help others succeed where I did not. But I wanted to share this important news with you first.
I highly recommend anyone looking for esports writers and reporters consider Jarek “DeKay” Lewis, Stephen Chiu, Andrew Kim, Emily Rand and Vince Nairn. You won’t find many better than this crew.
I’m sorry it has to end this way. Thanks so much for reading.