In late 1995, I joined a five-person company called Extreme Fans. It was a startup funded by America Online as a sports site on the AOL service.
The founders’ concept was to reach an audience of hard-core fans through news, message boards and interactive contests. Their initial concept was for a “Digital Sportsbar” where fans could congregate and talk to each other.
I helped to develop the voice for the site and its content. The voice was smart, sarcastic and with an educated opinion about the latest in the sports world. It invited participation from site visitors and encouraged lively debate. The site offered a precursor to today’s blog world where every post allows comments from the audience. We were an early pioneer in interactive content.
I wrote our first signature nightly column, a nightly baseball column summarizing the night’s games in an edgy and fun manner. It built a subscription base to over 25,000 e-mail subscribers in two years.
I also developed ideas for interactive contests on the site. A daily Picks Contest called “Who’s Got Winners” kept users returning to the site on a daily basis, while fun contests like the daily Top Ten List allowed users to compete for prizes, but also provide user-generated content for the site.
In late 1997, America Online acquired the company and made us the provider of sports information for AOL.com. The company was later sold to CBS Sports.