It's American Thanksgiving, which is a chance for those of us on the road to thank Waffle House for being open 24 hours. This is also a chance to thank everybody who have bought our goods and services to help Season 6 happen, and especially to thank those who have donated above and beyond that. We are 100 percent viewer-funded now, as you well know. Without you, I'd be back at home watching TV instead of spending Thanksgiving at a four-team holiday tourney at the University of South Alabama.
I'm trying to keep most of the money stuff out of the regular blog and the RSS feed, because most of the readers don't care about the money part of this, and just want to read about basketball. But here's what's going on.
Most of the money in the thermometer ($5,250) was from folks who pre-ordered my book, Sports Bubble Blues
, over the summer and became charter Bally Club members in the process. The next two K's came from people who jumped in during the first week of Season 6, buying Ballys, joining the Club, and renewing their Basketball State subscriptions ($5 of each subscription goes directly to the travel fund). In the second week, we added $700. Last week, $225 went into the kitty. So far this week, as I write this, we've netted $41.
You can see where I'm going here. Our travel expenses run $600-$800 per week with plane tickets, rental cars, gas, food and hotels, and if you do the math, that's definitely jamming econo. If you keep doing the math, you'll realize the same thing that I do... that we're going to run out of cash by Christmas.
Barring a miracle, we're not going to fill the other half of the thermometer
. The folks who are strapped in for the full ride, the ones who stayed up with us on Halloween night for the 2 a.m. EST relaunch wearing their Bally t-shirts, are in
. Those people who were on the fence for a while have chosen a side, on or off. People aren't going to contribute en masse without an event to give them a reason to, and I realize that. The next major influx of visitors we'll get will be in March, and those will be of the hit-and-run variety. By then, it won't matter anyway.
I want to make a deal with you. If we can raise $4,000 by Christmas (via purchases or donations), I will match it.
As I may have mentioned here, and as I've told some of you personally, I used to run a software company, and I was bought out a few years ago. I receive quarterly residual checks, which is why my rent and phone bill are paid while I'm out here doing this basketball thing. My January check was going to go towards my Olympic trip to Vancouver in February, but times like this require a resetting of priorities.
I've heard a lot of opinions in these past few weeks. Some say The Mid-Majority isn't as good as it used to be, that the content has suffered. A few have told me, face-to-face or via e-mail, that they're disappointed by the new features and the new two-man setup. But I've also heard people say that it's better than ever, so I take opinion at face value. What really matters in the end is whether this will be paid for or not. I know that it's a personal decision to buy a Club card or a Bally or a book or donate, and this will work if enough people do those things. If we can raise this money in the next month, we can end this thermometer nonsense once and for all, and we can get on with basketball.
But if we don't raise the funds to finish Season 6, the site likely won't shut down. I've already talked to Damon about this, and as it now stands, he would finish out the season if I leave the road. Anything raised that doesn't go to travel would go to him and to charity. (And I'll go to the Olympics.)
I do have an offer for you, one that you may not be able to refuse. Every dollar raised from here to $4,000 will get you one virtual raffle ticket for Bally #100
. There will only be 100 made, and the last one is going to be a Giant Bally. Giant Bally is dubl lifesize (18 inches in diameter), and is triply awesome. Whether or not we make it, Giant Bally will be awarded, and the winner will be announced on December 24.
I'll keep the "alert" panel at the top of the main screen updated. And I've resolved to remain unemotional about any of this, because it's not an emotional thing. It's money. As I've said all along, if it works it works, and if it doesn't it doesn't. It's not my decision, but I'm doing what I can to influence it.