I’m flipping through the pages of Skyd’s first-ever print magazine and reflecting on what it took to get to these glossy pages filled with beautiful photography and words about this disc-throwing sport of ours. It’s a sunny June afternoon in Seattle, and I’ve appropriately cornered myself in a Starbucks to update our supporters and readers on what we’ve accomplished so far in 2015.
What Skyd has achieved so far in 2015
At the end of 2014, 758 people helped us raise over $37,000 to support Skyd’s 2015 budget. After investing in better servers, developing new films and more, we’ve spent just over half of our allocated budget.
As Skyd’s editor-in-chief since we launched in 2010, I can say without a doubt that Skyd’s work this year has been more comprehensive than ever. In fact, in just six months, we’ve already accomplished all of the SkydFund goals we set. Here are the highlights of what we’ve done so far this year:
- Moved Skyd to new, stable, faster servers – We switched over to wpengine.com and have enjoyed wonderful stability since. I wish we had done this years ago.
- Released a handful of new Skyd Films including IRONPRIDE and Everyone Plays – We’ve invested the remainder of our Films budget into Flatball Radio and will release video from the Portland show in the coming months.
- Live-streamed the World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Dubai (as well as preparing to stream games at the World Under-23 Championships in London and the European Ultimate Champions in Copenhagen this summer).
- Filmed and released video from the Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference 2015.
- Started producing video product reviews with Gil Mcintire.
- Published daily content from all announced columnists and additional ones:
- Partnered with Grantland sports-writer Spike Friedman to produce a column taking an outsider’s look at ultimate.
- Presented the talented cartooning work of Megan Praz and Meghan Kemp-Gee in the world’s first ultimate comic: Contested Strip.
- And more!
A Year of Experimentation
2015 has also been a year of experimentation for Skyd. While the generosity of our supporters has gotten us part of the way towards a realistic operating budget, we’re still not there in terms of sustainability. As stated in our SkydFund 2015 campaign, the money raised is a means to reach sustainability, not an end in of itself. We are challenged with finding a working revenue model for Skyd’s long-term contributions to ultimate. Running another fundraiser for Skyd and continuing to do so on a yearly basis is possible, but not a realistic model for full sustainability. Online advertising and sponsorships remain less lucrative than necessary and other product sales experimentation, like posters, hasn’t been as fruitful as we hoped. With advertising and potential sales, our print magazine has proven to be the most encouraging source of revenue, but still not enough to take us all the way toward a viable, sustainable business.
The inaugural print issue was entirely funded by an outside source, and distributed primarily to SkydFund contributors who donated over $40. It was extremely well-received, but its production was–simply put–a lot of work. We held ourselves to a high standard and worked hard to meet our target dates. By the end of it, much of our staff felt the weight of our efforts, but paging through the issue is nonetheless rewarding. While producing this print issue on a regular basis is a goal, we didn’t see demand requisite with our needs. Our current plan is to release a second issue this fall while allowing for a long pre-sale window to confirm paid interest.
What’s Next for Skyd
From a business standpoint, the coming months will provide further opportunities for experimentation. We’ll announce pre-sales for our second print issue shortly and will print in the fall should we reach required sales. We’re also working to develop additional print items which may provide sustained revenue for Skyd.
From a content standpoint, with much of our goals for 2015 already accomplished, we’re continuing to develop new and exciting material. Upcoming on our calendar is streaming coverage of the World Under-23 Championships in London and the European Championships in Copenhagen. We’ll continue to see pieces from many of our columnists, but we’ll also start to scale as appropriate with our actual proceeds for the remainder of 2015.
I encourage you to support Skyd by purchasing a copy of the first issue of our magazine and pre-ordering a copy of Issue 2 when we launch pre-sales in the coming weeks.
Thanks as always for your support.