BOULDER – A team from Boulder-based brand strategy firm Greenhouse Partners has launched a new soccer website, The18.com, in an attempt to create “a hub for soccer life that provides diverse experiences.”
The18.com, officially The18 LLC, will operate as its own company, though it will be run out of Greenhouse Partners’ 1881 9th St. headquarters that also house nonprofit Greenhouse Scholars, which helps “high-performing, under-resourced kids” go to college.
The18.com – the name pays homage to the 18-yard box on a soccer pitch – is focused on all things soccer in the United States, not just locally. It will include a mix of news, instructional videos for coaches and players, soccer apparel and gear sales, and a community section bringing together user-generated photos and videos from social media.
Pete Burridge, chief executive and president of Greenhouse Partners, is leading The18.com charge along with Greenhouse senior strategy associate Matt Jenkins. Burridge said he didn’t grow up around soccer but has become immersed as a fan and a parent over the past 18 years as his four high school and college-aged daughters have played competitively. Burridge said he believes much of the soccer content available online for fans, coaches and players is fragmented, and that The18.com helps fill a void by bringing multiple aspects together.
“I think we’re at this tipping point in the U.S. with regard to soccer,” Burridge said. “The United States has officially adopted soccer.”
After a two-week soft launch in May, The18.com has been live in earnest for about four weeks. The crew will hold an official launch party at the Blake Street Tavern in Denver on Monday afternoon for the United States’ World Cup game against Ghana.
The site has six part-time writers at this point who are located in Boulder, Washington D.C. and Switzerland, with a plan of ramping that up over time to where the site is producing 15 to 30 new stories per day. The content will range from youth soccer to college to pros to World Cup to international leagues, with a hybrid of blog and beat-style coverage.
Burridge said only about $75,000 has been spent out of pocket to launch the site so far, but said that total would be closer to $1 million if all resources were tallied. He said the site has been able to leverage the expertise of several people at Greenhouse Partners, as well as other business partners in town, to get things up and running.
Burridge expects news to be the biggest draw to the site eventually, but said it will likely be 18 to 20 months before significant ad revenue starts kicking in. In the meantime, the site will generate revenue from subscriptions for its videos and gear sales. However, Burridge and Jenkins will also soon set out to raise $1 million in angel investment to help boost the site’s early operations.
Burridge said The18.com, which also has multiple interns on staff, will post job listings for its first couple of permanent positions in July.