The Arkansas Business Publishing Group shut down its Arkansas Sports 360 effort recently, leaving a significant on-line audience with withdrawal symptoms for the loss of timely sports reporting and commentary.
Take heart, sports fans. A new free Arkansas sports website will debut Friday, with Jim Harris, our friend and former Arkansas Sports 360 contributor, leading the contributors' list.
It's called Sporting Life Arkansas. It goes "live" Friday morning, just in time for live blogging of the final Hog game against LSU. They'll be Facebooking, Twittering and all the rest. Here's the website link.
It's a collaboration between Jim and Simon Lee, a former writer at Arkansas Business who'll be the publisher with Jon Davis, Lee's long-time partner in a healthcare-related publishing business. They love sports, publishing and the deadline-a-second thrill of web journalism. Arkansas Sports 360 had tens of thousands of web readers and this should provide an easy transition for them.
Simon sent me a summary of what they have in store:
The site will feature Jim Harris and a cast of other sports journalists from around the state who will cover and write about all levels of Arkansas sports, from the Razorbacks and Red Wolves, to the Bears and Reddies and Scots, to the Bobcats and Dragons. We want to be an outlet for sportswriters and aspiring sportswriters from high school through college. Part of the excitement of this for us is building a platform and outlet for the next generation of journalists and writers in our state.
Additionally there will be regular pieces from enthusiasts on running, scuba, hunting, fishing, and being a "sports mom" in Arkansas, including a weekly column from Kyran Pittman.
Our readers will also be encouraged to share their stories and photos of their sporting life with others. This week expect to see lots of deer hunting and duck hunting, for example. Oh,and tailgating pictures. That's part of the sporting life we want to share, too. Food. Fun. Food.
Our About description on FacebookSportingLifeArkansas.com is a statewide, all-media destination developed for folks whose lifestyles include sports fun, recreational pursuits, and sporting the best. If you're sporting it, we want to know about it. What are you sporting?
Please note, despite the pictures as they rotated up in development for this screen grab [at the top of this item], the site is not 100% Hogs. Our attempt is to cover and provide news and information on all aspects of sport and the sporting lifestyle of Arkansans. Oh, and no pay wall.
Most importantly, we are proud to work with Jim to ensure he has a place to share his stories and unique perspective on Arkansas sports with his long list of fans that he's delivered for throughout the years and the new readers we expect to drive to him. Oh, yes, Jim will be live blogging from the Razorback game Friday, too.