An Incomplete History of Magic Basketball Online
Magic Basketball Online was once a powerful, sarcasm-tinged haven for the connoisseur of all things Orlando Magic. An entrepreneurial idea birthed in a grey-walled cubicle during the daydreamiest of daydreams. How can one do something they love, while creating an exciting new business venture? Start a free blog! The site plan itself was scribbled on a piece of notebook paper, with ambitions rousing deep.
The initial site itself, hosted on the free WordPress platform you’re reading this on, was launched on March 15, 2010. After 255 posts, a small semblance of “success”, and zero revenue produced, I decided that it was time to expand! During the previously mentioned 255 posts, sarcasm aside, MBO was recognized through the local media community as a serious place to turn for insight. I began to promote the site by writing for other team blogs and quickly became credentialed to cover the team. During the following season, I began covering the team as a fully credentialed media member. And still producing negative revenue.
In July of 2011, I began to host the site outside of the free WordPress platform and http://www.magicbasketballonline.com lived as a unique site with 100% control of content, themes and advertisements. While I’d quickly learn that the path to riches in the land of sports media was but a mere myth, I did manage to produce upwards of $10/month in ad revenue. But I enjoyed my newfound hobby, infiltrating the local scene and masquerading as a reporter. I cultivated sources, broke legitimate stories, and on occasion annoyed the then team superstar with pesky, yet pertinent, questions. The NBA credentialed the site for multiple NBA All-Star games, as well as the NBA Draft in Brooklyn. I even swung myself an Influencer deal with Crown Royal that brought along some nice perks to make up for the utter lack of revenue produced.
I owned and operated the site, along with a small team of writers, from it’s inception in March 2010 until I sold the site off (for free) prior to the 2014-2015 season to a member of the writing team that I knew had a passion for keeping the site vibrant. While I still wrote from time to time and remained on as Sr. Editor Emeritus, “life” became a bit too hectic to worry about recapping 3am West Coast road trip losses on random weeknights in the middle of January. Unfortunately for MBO the new owner was eventually struck with the same bit of “life” re-focus and the final post of the site was a dual-eulogy from the two of us, signing off for good in November 2016. The hosting itself would expire in January 2017, thus erasing thousands of posts and years of devotion and writing about the team. What began as a random creative outlet, turned me into a website developer/media member/jaded basketball fan/salary cap expert*/rumor peddler/whiskey drinker/writer. While some of those qualities are gone and some remain, the pride of knowing I created something real and meaningful will always be the most special.
As of February 2017, I have recreated and updated the original, free version of the MBO site with a fresh logo, newly created pages for “About”, “Salaries”, “Schedule”, and “Roster” which closely resemble what MBO looked like just prior to it’s death just a few months back, and updated/refreshed the sidebar widgets to help any poor soul that has stumbled across this page in a random google search and would like to get to more relevant information.
Brian Serra is the founder and killer of Magic Basketball Online, still providing plentiful hot takes on Twitter.