The idea always was in the back of my head. To build something that covered Orlando sports in a way that the shrinking Orlando Sentinel was not able to anymore.
This relatively small city had a wealth of sports experiences to share and it was only growing as I grew up.
I followed all the teams — most heavily the Orlando Magic with my work for Orlando Magic Daily, but I also followed Orlando City as a season ticketholder and then casually the Orlando Predators, UCF football and the Orlando Solar Bears. It felt like there was no one site to go to for a deeper analysis of everything going on. Piecing together press releases and short Orlando Sentinel wire reports were never enough for me.
Surely there were others like me. And so the idea always laid dormant in my mind to give all these various teams the coverage they deserve.
Orlando was always my city and my hometown. These teams were always a way to stay connected with the city that I grew up in and the city that I loved. Surely there were Orlando transplants who felt the same way or native Orlando residents who wanted the same. And wanted a way to stay in touch with our city’s teams throughout the city in a more detailed way.
The last five or six years have seen an incredible leap in Orlando sports and tremendous growth in our city.
The Amway Center was constructed. Orlando City became a phenomenon in the city and immediately ingrained in our city’s culture. The Solar Bears returned. UCF went to the Fiesta Bowl and the university became a bigger draw even among Florida’s other more athletically established universities. The city itself hosted bigger and better events such as the Pro Bowl, the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, the Advocare Invitational and on and on and on.
Orlando became a sports paradise. A true city with numerous sports teams and events to offer and root on.
As I watched Orlando Magic Daily grow and found myself commenting and talking with readers about the sports scene in the city, I found myself believing I could do for the Orlando sports scene what I try to do for the Magic.
With such little space and so few resources devoted to many of the other sports in Orlando outside of the Magic and Orlando City, I felt there was a gap a Web site could fill. And so, about a year ago, I started Orlando Sports Daily.
It was admittedly an ambitious idea. I wanted to cover everything going on in the city big or small and treat it like it was the biggest event in the city. Friends encouraged me to go for it and offered to help with columns and analytical articles. I wanted it to both provide news and columns, like Orlando Magic Daily does.
It was an incredible ride. There were days I felt no one was reading and I had to just grind away. There were days when the traffic soared and there was incredible reaction. There were days when I felt the site was getting over the top and other days where it felt like the site was failing to pick up momentum.
Such is the way of building a site from scratch. The margin between success and failure is razor thin.
Unfortunately, a year after I started it, I have to close the doors for Orlando Sports Daily.
This nascent idea certainly can work. I believe Orlando is such a growing and vibrant city that it can support multiple teams and, with a team that is passionate about this city, can support a Web site like Orlando Sports Daily. Perhaps this time is not here yet.
There are some incredibly passionate and talented writers who have helped me out with this site.
I want to personally thank Tim Briggs, Jason Renaud, Eric Lopez, Carson Ingle and Eric Scott for their contributions to the site. I have watched each of them learn and fit the vision that I had for this site and contribute their own unique voice.
Tim grew so much as a writer helping me cover UCF basketball and baseball. His game stories grew better as he learned to find a theme to each game and tell a long story that fits into the scheme of the season and adds depth to the basic “what happened” of a game. He has used this experience to gain some incredible opportunities and I know we will see him contributing somewhere elsewhere. I cannot wait to see what he does next.
Jason too grew so much. He showed an incredible eagerness to write as he learned news judgment and how to write more concisely. I wish we could have worked together more so I could help you continue to improve. I know you will continue to develop your voice and your style while improving your skills as a reporter both in print and in broadcast.
I did not get the chance to work much with Eric Scott. But the few pieces he did contribute were incredibly strong. I hope we will see him covering Orlando City for some of the great Orlando City blogs and publications in and around town. They would be lucky to have him.
All three of these writers are UCF students with incredibly bright futures ahead of them. I have no doubt they will succeed as writers as they continue to mature and get more experience.
Eric Lopez and Carson are mainstays in the Orlando media and radio community and I truly appreciate their contributions as friends and fellow media members to this project.
I truly could not have made it this far without all of you. Thank you so much for all your hard work this past year!
And thank you to the Orlando sports teams and events that have enhanced our city.
The Magic are invaluable and incredibly open to new media. They are truly an anchor franchise for the city. They have opened their doors and have allowed Orlando Magic Daily to prosper. This site would not exist without the confidence covering the Magic for Orlando Magic Daily provides me. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to cover the Magic and the NBA they have afforded me. I try to live up to that responsibility every day.
The Orlando Solar Bears were incredibly open and welcoming to my coverage. I was able to cover their entire season and hopefully give Solar Bear fans more detailed recaps and feature stories about the team each game. They are a fantastic organization and I look forward to seeing what they do moving forward.
UCF too was also incredibly open. Covering UCF basketball — yes, even in this season — was a truly fantastic experience. Both Tim and I truly appreciated the opportunity. I hope we added to the conversation about the team both good and bad after this difficult season. Again, I see great things coming for them. As I do for the baseball team, which Tim covered, and the softball team, which I was able to cover.
I hate leaving the Orlando Predators just before the end of their season. They are a truly open and exciting organization with fantastic people on the field and off. I will be cheering as hard as anyone to see the Predators win the Arena Bowl this year.
Thank you too to the AutoNation Cure Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl. The Cure Bowl was an amazing experience to cover. It truly has an amazing mission and I cannot wait to see the bowl game continue to grow. They put on an incredible first game and it was an enjoyable experience as a media member and I am sure it was for the fans. It was an honor to be a part of the first game in some small way.
The Russell Athletic Bowl too was an amazing experience and a fantastic game.
They both took a chance on me letting me cover the game. I hope I delivered some good coverage even to the small audience of a Web site that was so new and trying to grow.
As you can see, there are so many things going on in town all at once. There was no way for me to cover every event and every game in the manner I desired. I failed to hit my personally high expectations, as much as I tried. It was rewarding for me personally because it brought me closer to the city that I love.
Hopefully I was able to contribute to you, the readers, in sharing all the wonderful sports and events in and and the city. We are truly fortunate to be represented by such incredible franchises, players and representatives.
There are some incredible resources available to follow all the teams in Orlando. The vision of Orlando Sports Daily will carry on through these sources. I encourage you to follow them all. I will highlight a few of my favorites:
You can follow me and my writing at Orlando Magic Daily, of course. I will always be there covering my first love and my passion with the Magic.
I am sure I will still continue to talk about the teams around the city for Orlando Magic Daily on Twitter @omagicdaily with stray mentions on the site itself.
This project has truly been a labor of love. It has been at times difficult and rewarding. It may be an idea I feel ready to revisit one day. I am sure someone will see what I see and attempt to do this again. I will be happy to support it.
For now, though, I have to close Orlando Sports Daily’s doors.
Thank you all for taking this journey with me.
Orlando Sports Daily