The timing is right for a lot of big changes in Oklahoma sports, including this one.
Timing is not everything. But it’s a lot of things.
The idea for Sellout Crowd was hatched more than three years ago. Not the exact concept. Not the exact format. Not even the same name.
But Mike Koehler, who I hired as deputy sports editor at The Oklahoman more than two decades ago, had an idea for a totally-digital sports media business. His idea? Enable and arm sports journalists to succeed without the umbrella of traditional media companies.
We met at Kamp’s 1910 Cafe on 10th Street, just off Automobile Alley. My longtime Oklahoman sports editor, Mike Sherman, joined us. I told them I wasn’t going anywhere without Jenni Carlson, and soon enough we brought in JackO, too.
We told Koehler that if he raised the money he needed, we were in.
This was 2020. We all were trying to deal with the pandemic and its ramifications. The money wasn’t raised. The idea didn’t die, but it never left the station.
It wasn’t the right time.
Fast forward three years, and Koehler was back, with an adjusted format, concept and name. Sellout Crowd.
And the timing is just right.
Selloutcrowd.com launches the day before OU and OSU football set sail on seasons that will end an era.
The Big 12 this season jumps to 14 schools, with newcomers Brigham Young, Central Florida, Houston and Cincinnati.
And soon enough, OU and Texas bolt for the Southeastern Conference, which will shine a spotlight on the Sooners unlike they’ve ever experienced.
Meanwhile, Utah, Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona will jump aboard the Big 12, a league that rebounded from potential diminished status to sure footing in the conference realignment game.
And don’t forget the Thunder. After about two seasons of tanking, the Thunder returned to the business of winning in 2022-23, and its future appears bright with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Company ready to bring back must-see basketball to Paycom Center.
A superior blend of optimism and intrigue.
Perfect timing for Sellout Crowd.
Perfect timing for me.
I’ve been covering the Oklahoma athletic scene for 45 years. The first Sooner football game I staffed was OU-Iowa 1979, when Bob Stoops made his playing debut. My first OSU wrestling match was in old Gallagher Hall, which has been gone for 36 years. From the Big Eight to Big Country, from the wishbone to the Air Raid, from basketball’s Four Corners stall to the Pac-12’s Four Corners schools, I’ve been on the case.
At age 62, if I was going to do something different, the time had come. And the time was right.
I didn’t want to leave Oklahoma, the only home I’ve ever known.
I didn’t want to leave the cachet I’ve built. I guess this is where Koehler and his marketers want me to blow my own bugle. You can find reporters who know more about this OU football team, and this OSU football team, and this upcoming Thunder team. But you can’t find anyone who knows more about them all collectively, and when you add in the histories of each, well, I’m your man and selloutcrowd.com is your ticket.
And Carlson is your gal. She got a later start than me in keeping up with all things Oklahoma sports but is catching up fast, plus she brings supreme storytelling that is the envy of most of the nation.
Add in the rest of the lineup Koehler recruited — Guerin Emig, Brett Dawson, Eli Lederman, Ben Hutchens, Sam Hutchens, Jon Hamm, Ed Murray, Todd Lisenbee, Sam Mayes and Sherman — and Sellout Crowd is a can’t-miss crowd.
The format is right; selloutcrowd.com is a free site, in this day of oversaturated subscriptions. The lineup is right, with a good blend of experience and energy, talent and technology.
And the timing is right. Right for me, right for you, as this new era dawns not just in Oklahoma sports, but Oklahoma sports media.