This will be the final post on KnockOn.ie.
I’ve loved every second of the eight years working on this site. It began as a blog about Connacht club rugby, then, slowly, over time as a site catering for all four provinces. The idea was to create something a little different. A news hub for the grassroots rugby follower. The aim was to shine a light on the forgotten side of the game. I like to think that to a large extent, we managed to do that.
Many projects like this don’t have a conclusion, it can be rare in life to get a chance to see something through to the bitter end, I guess that makes this a little different. I explored every last crevasse in my attempt to produce a news hub for amateur rugby that would stand alone as a trustworthy and honest source of information. A ‘click bait’ free zone if you will.
It meant that the revenue models were limited and sustainability would be a huge challenge. We tried it all at different junctures, banner adds, subscription models and chasing big brand partners. We came agonisingly close to a major breakthrough in 2012, first winning a place in the final five of the Irish Times Digital Challenge – where we spent two months in their offices devising a revenue model that might work. That had us sitting in front of a major brand and on the verge of an investment that would have made all of this a sustainable full time project. However all the way through we met the same response, the idea is innovative and exciting but we are just not sure where the money can come from.
In Irish rugby, between the four provinces and the union themselves. The Leinster Branch stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to innovation in communication strategies. They met us last year, expressing an interest in coming on board, ultimately however, we needed a full time employee to get things off the ground and that was too much for their budget.
Hardly surprising when you see a downward trend in domestic games spending around the island. Unfortunately for us, money for rugby projects that have nothing to do with the professional game is thin on the ground.