A blogger is a goddamn millionaire: some quick thoughts on The Big Lead’s gold strike

The sports blogosphere awakened Wednesday morning to a changed world. Well, I assume it did; I’m writing this late Tuesday night. Also, most of the blogosphere doesn’t drag its scraggly ass out of bed in what anyone would call “morning.” But I’m drifting. My point:

On Tuesday, The Big Lead and its creator, Jason McIntyre, closed a deal to get itself bought for a million-dollar sum.

One million-plus bucks. For a freakin’ sports blogger. This is huge, friends. HUGE.

In one move, sports blogs instantly and forevermore became legitimized. Not that we in the blogosphere weren’t legitimized before — cashing a paycheck for blogging tends to legitimize you, as do getting media access, nominations for awards and interviews on other media. But for the great mass of readers/consumers, who, when they think of bloggers at all, go with the kneejerk “geeks in their mom’s basement” cliche, a check with a whole lot of zeroes in it gets their attention.

Now, you can quibble with McIntyre’s motives; he apparently went into this whole blogging gig in the first place with the idea of selling out eventually. And you can quibble with his methodology; he’s very much of the boobs-and-video school of blogging. His site may lack, say, the earnest wit of Leitch-era Deadspin or the nihilistic snark of Daulerio-era Deadspin — the blog to which TBL is most often compared — but man, you simply cannot argue with the fact that McIntyre came up with an idea, defined it, implemented it, followed through on it, and finally sold it for a million freaking dollars. That, friends, is impressive in any regard.

Am I jealous? Hell yeah, I’m jealous. Who wouldn’t like a million bucks for their work? But I’m not, like, “the world is unfair!” jealous, because it’s not like McIntyre didn’t earn this. Whether you like it or not, the site touches a nerve and resonates with a significant segment of the sports-fan public. The New York Times estimated TBL’s monthly readers at 3 million, which is … nice. (I’m bound by Y! confidentiality agreements from saying more.) But clearly, anybody that can go from zero to three mil is doing something right somewhere.

So, congratulations to McIntyre. And congratulations to all of us in the sports blogosphere. This is a win for all of us. (Some more than others, of course.) Next time some old-school MSM’er starts complaining about these good-for-nothin’ bloggers that serve no purpose in the sports world, point ’em to the TBL story. On second thought, don’t. Those guys’ lives are depressing enough already.

Drinks are on you in Chicago, McIntyre.

Jay

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