When Jonathan Eig and Sol Lieberman handed off ownership of ChicagoSideSports.com last March, they had high hopes the website they founded in 2012 would thrive under new management.
But things haven’t worked out as planned.
Since ChicagoSide was acquired by Nick Tranfaglia, director of business development at TiqIQ, a New York-based ticket broker, new content ceased being added to the site. Now it’s been shut down completely, with readers no longer able to access hundreds of essays, commentaries and other posts from the past two years.
ChicagoSide’s Facebook page continues to be used to promote TiqIQ’s ticket sales, but that appears to be the only sign of life. Tranfaglia did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
If this is the end, it’s an unfortunate coda to an ambitious venture that once touted it would become “the best Chicago sports website the city’s ever seen.”
Eig, a bestselling author and former Wall Street Journal reporter, and Lieberman, a digital developer and creative designer, launched ChicagoSide as a showcase for smart, provocative sports journalism by a cadre of established names along with a roster of “young writers with great, original voices.” Along the way, they forged editorial partnerships with the Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business and Time Out Chicago. But a business plan that relied on exclusive advertising partnerships and revenue from special events and promotions proved unsustainable.
The best they can hope for now is to secure online access for the archive.
“I’m sorry to see that the ChicagoSide site is down,” Eig told me Sunday. “Our writers produced hundreds of wonderful stories and I’d like to see them made available to readers. I know that it’s helpful to writers who are looking for jobs and future assignments to have their online work easily found.
“I haven’t heard from Nick [Tranfaglia] recently. I’d be happy to pay the annual fees necessary to keep the archive of stories alive if he doesn’t have any plans. I’ll check into it and see if something can be arranged,” he said.