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  TSLMail Special - February 20, 2007    
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Special Message for the Community
by Will Stewart,

Dear TSL Community Members:

We're getting ready to enter an exciting time here at, and I wanted to let you know about it and ask for your help in accomplishing an important goal here at TSL. We're about to change the way we do business, and how successful we are with this change is dependent upon you. In the past, you have helped us get and retain new sponsors and advertisers, and that's where we're asking for your help once more.

In order to continue to grow and improve the site, we need to bring in more sponsors, and how we're going about this is changing. In addition to the great sponsors with a local/VT feel that we've always had, we're working on adding national-level sponsors, big-time names that you see around you every day. To do this, we have formed a network with other web sites similar to TSL, sites that don't want to join a network like or, but which would like to have the power of a network behind them to attract big, national advertisers.

This network is called the Sportswar network, and it currently consists of about 25 college sites that attract about 2 million visitors a month. Like TSL, all the sites in our network don't have to fit themselves into a standard format like Rivals or Scout. We all keep our individual look, features, feel, and communities. (TSL as you know it won't change, so breathe easy.) But together, we can offer national advertisers the opportunity to reach large numbers of people.

The formation of this network, and selling its sponsorship opportunities to national advertisers, has been going on behind the scenes for a while, and this effort is about to bear fruit. We have a handful of potential sponsors who are very close to signing on for long-term sponsorships, but to push them over the edge, we need your help.

What can you do? In the coming weeks, you're going to see some short-term "pilot" sponsorship programs for some of these potential sponsors, and if the pilot programs go well, they'll sign on as long-term sponsors. Whether the pilot programs "go well" is determined solely by how you respond to these sponsors. For example, you might see a TSL-specific money-saving coupon for a new, potential sponsor. If you print the coupon out and use it, they'll know that their sponsorship of TSL is working, and they'll be inclined to transition from their pilot sponsorship to a longer-term sponsorship that will truly help us grow and improve the site.

We'll announce these pilot sponsorship programs one by one, and when we do, we'll give clear instructions on what we need you to do, thus unleashing the TSL army on sponsors one at a time. We know you'll respond and won't let us down.

What's in it for you? A better web site. The business we're in changes rapidly, with great new features being added all the time, and of course, these new features are expensive to add and maintain. A new recruiting database, a new message board system, blogging, RSS feeds ... these are all things that are costly to add to the site or upgrade to new versions. We know that in order to be able to add them, and thereby increase your enjoyment of the site, we need to attract national-level sponsorships for long-term partnerships.

In the past, you've been very responsive in your support of the web site, through the purchase of subscriptions, supporting our sponsors, and shopping at (back when we had our own store). We have done our best to grow the site by adding new features and coverage, by hiring Chris Coleman full-time and bringing new and better writers aboard, and by making our site faster and reliable (remember when Signing Day or a big event used to bring the site to its knees? Those days are over.) This latest initiative is the next step in our ongoing efforts to improve the site and make sure it's the best Tech sports community on the Internet.

Here's all we're asking you to do:

  • Keep your eyes and ears peeled, and look for news releases and new sponsorship programs here on TSL.
  • Please pitch in and support these efforts.

We have put a ton of time and effort into getting this network up and running, and convincing advertisers that sponsorship of our sites is the way to go. They're about to give us a test drive, and now it's in your hands to blow them away. In this day of DVRs, multimedia, and information overload, it's hard for advertisers to figure out how to spend their ad dollars effectively, so let them know that TSL is a great place to be, and they'll respond. Help us out, and we'll help you out by making TSL a better site.

Two last comments: (1) we still love our Virginia Tech-specific sponsors and local/regional sponsors, too. Those sponsors will not be pushed aside or overshadowed by any new sponsors that we bring aboard. If you're running a business that could benefit from advertising directly to Tech fans, TSL is still the best sponsorship venue for you. Just contact me at [email protected]; and (2) if you are a decision maker at a national-level company that might benefit from getting the word out to our network of 2 million visitors per month, let us know. Email me at [email protected], and I'll put you in touch with the right people. is almost 11 years old, and we have a long history of working together with our readers, visitors, and subscribers to make things succeed and grow. Please help us in this latest endeavor by looking for announcements and following through. Our future depends on this succeeding. Thank you!

Will Stewart
General Manager and Managing Editor

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