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Horn Sports Vision, Update


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As you're undoubtedly aware, there are quite a few things going on behind the scenes of the site. Rather than focus on the intricacies of how to get there, we would like to share some plans on the direction of Horn Sports.

 

To start the discussion, it's helpful to take a high level view of the online reporting industry (Please forgive the too broad of brushstrokes...this is intended only as a macro view of the market):

 

Site A: A message board driven site that has a distinct personality

Site B: A site that is known first, second and third for the insider post

Site C: The opposite of Site B. They provide solid coverage of UT but have little/no community

Site D: A newer site that appears to be placing a priority on being the ones to break news

Newspapers: Solid coverage, but even with their websites, it's a poor delivery model

 

All of those sites are very good at what they do. HornSports doesn’t need to be the "next" anything. It can be the "first" and only site in the market that takes a new approach....what is that approach?  Good question!

 

LHN and AM 1300 The Zone each do an excellent job of providing in-depth coverage of UT without being total homers. Long story short, there is a significant market for a similar style of coverage in the online industry.

 

HornSports was recently awarded media credentials by UT. That is a significant victory for the site and it represents a vote of confidence from the university in the direction our site is heading.

 

To be successful in creating a new niche in the online market, HornSports can't be known as "Crossfire". It simply can't. If the site is going to achieve what it can achieve (and we will), HornSports must earn its own reputation instead of having a reputation built around a weekly article.

 

Over the past 2 months, the staff has made major efforts to begin shaping the site to head in this new direction. In addition to credentials and the associated reporting, HornSports is delivering loads of new content including: Chalk Talk, the Q&A, a recruiting Top 50 list, in-depth opponent previews, etc. Along with those articles, it is easy to estimate that recruiting coverage is 3-4 times more than it was 90 days ago. We have reached out to a few guys that are well respected in the recruiting arena and they will be providing content moving forward.  We've also released plenty of features like a photo gallery, the social wall, the Wire, and the Ticker, not to mention a player database.

 

There has been a lot of beneficial discussion pinned at the top of the board. Much of it has focused on the lack of content from HornSports. If you look at the article archives for July 2014 and compare them to December 2013, HornSports delivered more and better content in July without question. That means that the site is not doing a good job of making the content known and discussed (it is there). That's a problem that we can and will address.

 

Reality is that an online audience expects some inside information. We are not at all opposed to an inside scoop report every week. Have no doubt that there will be an insider report every week. It may not be called Crossfire, but this site will continue to deliver insider information. Period.

 

We are sharing this with all of you because your input matters. If you have thoughts on any of these subjects, please share them by posting a response. And please be candid. HornSports has been around for over three years and we are legitimately interested in taking the site to a new level.

 

Many of you have asked about McPhaul.  As far as Darrell is concerned, he will still be posting here at Horn Sports – he is still part of the HornSports family.

 

Thanks again for your membership with us.

 

-Horn Sports Staff

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*Reality is that an online audience expects some inside information. We are not at all opposed to an inside scoop report every week. Have no doubt that there will be an insider report every week. It may not be called Crossfire, but this site will continue to deliver insider information. Period.*

 

 

Many of you have asked about McPhaul.  As far as Darrell is concerned, he will still be posting here at Horn Sports – he is still part of the HornSports family.

 

 

 

This gets to a crux of a matter that will be very important to many who frequent this forum.  What exactly will be Darrell's role on HornSports - especially regarding "Crossfire" or a Crossfire like feature?

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You said Darrell was part of the family not the staff. Is he not part of the staff? Is he just a poster? If this question was clarified somewhere else I am sorry for asking again, I'm a little slow sometimes

 

Drgilbert, I gave your post a "Like".  I just want you to know that I did that because I agreed with what you said, not because you said, " ... I'm a little slow sometimes."  I just want to be clear about that!  ;)

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Well I don't know about McPhaul but here is my take and why I came back to Horn Sports. 

 

Aaron contacted me about a year ago while I was at Hook'em Headlines. He had an idea to turn HS into a big time player on the Texas Longhorns sports scene. I trusted him so I came back and everything he has done for the website has made it better, I don't think anyone will disagree with that. 

 

The reason I came back was because I didn't want to write "200 reasons why Burnt Orange is the most awesome color ever" articles that you see on other websites. Now when I was at Hook'em Headlines, none of my editors told me to write those certain articles but sometimes they would suggest that. I wanted more objective, thought provoking articles but that meant I wasn't posting as much as others. That obviously wasn't okay with them so it caused a rift between me and them. 

 

Other websites have loads of content like that, I don't like that type of content. If you do, great. That wasn't for me. Here at Horn Sports, I get to write the articles I feel will engage a broader conversation about Texas and college sports itself. (Hint Hint, read my latest Horns Up! here). Many of our writers do that as well with football schematics or other things. 

 

Another reason I came back was to be in on the ground floor of the transition listed above. I hate to date myself but when I was a freshmen at Mizzou, many of my classmate were talking about this new website. It was called "The Facebook". I joined it and 10 years later, I feel this "pride" that I was there when it all began. When it was just a single profile picture, had to type www.thefacebook.com and just a few things about yourself. 

 

So what's the point? When you are in on the ground floor of something special, there will be hiccups here and there but as time progresses it will grow into something special. After that, you feel a sense of pride from being there from the start. 

 

In a year, this website has changed dramatically and it's not done yet. I know in our day and age patience is gone but in 18 days, things will blow up fast. So my advice, stick with it. Then you can be a Horn Sports hipster. 

 

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Let's see if I've got this right. Last fall and winter this site exploded due to the reporting of Darrell McPhaul. Crossfire and Inside the Humidor became the most eagerly awaited weekly features on the web for Longhorn addicts. Horn Sports decided that they were Big Boys, and decided to become a pay site. Being stupid, I ponied-up for the annual subscription. Now, a couple of months later, I read that HS can't be known as Crossfire. Did anyone on your staff major in marketing? This is like Coca Cola deciding they can't be known as Coke. I can't help but wonder if acquiring press credentials from the AD was quid pro quo for backing off on Crossfire and Darrell McPhaul.

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. I can't help but wonder if acquiring press credentials from the AD was quid pro quo for backing off on Crossfire and Darrell McPhaul.

 

 

Interesting conspiracy theory but since IT has media credentials (and I've been pretty vocal that Hay-Sues was the worst of the "insider/wannabes"). . .not sure that one flies. . . .

 

 

I'll roll with S-T-P's post. . . . .the onus has now shifted and we'll see what the next year brings...

 

 

But in the "know your audience" dept.. . .keep in mind that 1300 doesn't do much for many of us as we don't live in Austin.   And LHN's coverage is VERY superficial .. . .you are not going to get cutting edge commentary or breaking stuff there .. . .doesn't mean it's not high quality. . . .

 

 

 

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Let's see if I've got this right. Last fall and winter this site exploded due to the reporting of Darrell McPhaul. Crossfire and Inside the Humidor became the most eagerly awaited weekly features on the web for Longhorn addicts. Horn Sports decided that they were Big Boys, and decided to become a pay site. Being stupid, I ponied-up for the annual subscription. Now, a couple of months later, I read that HS can't be known as Crossfire. Did anyone on your staff major in marketing? This is like Coca Cola deciding they can't be known as Coke. I can't help but wonder if acquiring press credentials from the AD was quid pro quo for backing off on Crossfire and Darrell McPhaul.

 why? afraid they'd leak saban-100% again?

 

oh, and always get the monthly on a new venture.

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The reason I came back was because I didn't want to write "200 reasons why Burnt Orange is the most awesome color ever" articles that you see on other websites. Now when I was at Hook'em Headlines, none of my editors told me to write those certain articles but sometimes they would suggest that. I wanted more objective, thought provoking articles but that meant I wasn't posting as much as others. That obviously wasn't okay with them so it caused a rift between me and them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I would like to see that Magnum Opus you wrote, "200 Shades of Burnt Orange".

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As with any start up, things change that allow or cause the company to pivot and refine their product. This will almost always cause some people to abandon the product because what once attracted then is no longer available or is now in a different form that does not appeal to them. I don't see anything wrong with people becoming dissatisfied or questioning the direction of this site or any product for that matter, it's the natural course of change.

 

What initially attracted me to this site still for the most part exists, intelligent commentary,the general civility of the community as a whole, and quality content.

 

I for one am all in and look forward to seeing the outcome of the new direction of this site.

 

hook'em  

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Let's see if I've got this right. Last fall and winter this site exploded due to the reporting of Darrell McPhaul. Crossfire and Inside the Humidor became the most eagerly awaited weekly features on the web for Longhorn addicts. Horn Sports decided that they were Big Boys, and decided to become a pay site. Being stupid, I ponied-up for the annual subscription. Now, a couple of months later, I read that HS can't be known as Crossfire. Did anyone on your staff major in marketing? This is like Coca Cola deciding they can't be known as Coke. I can't help but wonder if acquiring press credentials from the AD was quid pro quo for backing off on Crossfire and Darrell McPhaul.

I think you're grossly overestimating crossfire/humidor and there actual value to the Longhorn community not too mention there actual reach/level of accessibility.

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We as a staff are working to produce more content for your value. I felt like we nailed some summer events such as the Elite 11 and had content all over the place from the nike camps in Houston and Dallas. I can tell you from a staff standpoint we've become much more organized and have a clear direction. Thanks for sticking with us and consuming the product. Just know we are working to make the product better.

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What did Darrell Royal say?

 

The sun don't shine on the same ole dogs ass everyday?

 

I have been fortunate to have been a contributor on the Hornsports staff since I accepted the invitation last October.

 

Thank you Aaron Carrara & Mike Barnes.

 

Regardless of the decision to discontinue Crossfire,  I was blessed with a good run and it was fun while it lasted.  I will admit to decision to discontinue Crossfire stung but, writing Crossfire is not what I got the most enjoyment from.  What I enjoyed the most was being apart of building this community and that does not have to change.

 

Matt & Aaron and the rest of the staff have done some very good work and they both deserve to be recognized for that and I ask to you to give them a chance.  

 

Darrell

 

 

 

 

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

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