This week we unveil our fall class rankings, listing the top pound for pound wrestlers in each grade (Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen) in the state of Michigan.
Our readers may notice something different about these recruiting rankings, they are restricted to only Grappler Gold members.
I anticipate that this new feature will receive mixed reviews as like anything in life, we all love getting great stuff for free. I would like to take a moment to explain why we are moving in this direction.
Since I founded Michigan Grappler 11 years ago we have poured everything into giving wrestling in our state amazing coverage and it has been entirely free. The idea of having premium or subscription based content has always been on the forefront, as many other top national and state level wrestling news sites across the country have gone this direction over the last decade.
I, however, have resisted this for many years because I would hate for anyone to not be able to access our articles.
The reason for Grappler Gold is really 2 fold:
1) The financials of running this business demand it. For MI Grappler to remain sustainable requires additional revenue. Anyone experienced in the business world should be able to understand this concept - MI Grappler like any business has expenses & revenues and the goal is to balance them out, or in a perfect world turn a profit of some sort in exchange for our time and energy.
We have significant costs of doing business - paying writers for the endless hours of time they put into the content, web hosting, web design, graphic design, travel expenses, etc.
Our revenue streams for the last ten years are not so lucrative. We have generated some revenue through advertising, but since the first year to date, MI Grappler has never come close to breaking even. Myself and other partners have had to reach into our pockets to keep the site a float financially.
At some point, as a business we have to find a way to generate additional revenue to a) not lose money as an organization and b) to be able to pay our writers a better wage for a TON of work that is put in.
2) The DEMAND/EXPECTATION of the MI Wrestling community. Our fan base and the Michigan wrestling community as a whole has grown accustomed to having weekly rankings, previews, recaps, etc. While I believe we have kept a high standard of coverage over the years, at times we have fell short of what the fans want/expect/demand. This is because our budget only allows us to pay our writers a minimal amount for their work, so at times our coverage levels and consistency is hinged on the free time our writers have to create content.
The Michigan wrestling fans want our content, and they want it consistently, which is why generating revenue from the amazing content is rational and appropriate. It is worth paying for and paying for it will make it better and will allow us to be completely thorough and consistent.
Many are probably asking - will I get the same thing, just now I have to pay for it?
Yes and no. Grappler Gold content will be similar to what we have done in the past, however, it will be better and more importantly it will be consistent.
We will never miss a week of rankings.
We will be as accurate and perfect as possible (we are still human).
We will have MORE - more rankings, tournament previews, recaps, results, video coverages, podcasts, event calendars, Youth Fab 50 rankings, wrestler profiles, etc.
We will add to already great things - HS rankings will be more in depth, including individual wrestlers key wins/losses, class ranking wrestler profiles and more.
We will still have FREE content - there will still be daily free content, not everything will be premium. The content that is really worth paying for and takes a lot of time and resources will be premium.
The biggest thing that Grappler Gold will do is allow not only to survive, which is what we have done the last few years, but to THRIVE. To grow, to create more coverages, to do more for our wrestlers, programs, and our sport. Our goal is still the same - to cover all things wrestling in Michigan and to grow wrestling in Michigan. This is just the logical next step to do that.
I truly hope that our readers will embrace this, the cost is really minimal if you think about it. If you pay $74.99 per year for an annual subscription and break that down, you are paying just over $6 per month! That is equal to about 20 cents per day for absolutely amazing coverage. I think that is fair for the thousands of hours a year that our staff puts into this site and the daily coverage and service you will receive.
If anyone has questions about Grappler Gold, feel free to contact me directly anytime, thank you for loving wrestling and for your continued support of Michigan Grappler.
Michigan Grappler Founder