The end of the Most Valuable Network, MVN.com

Background: On December 31, 2003, Evan Brunell founded a Boston Red Sox blog titled Fire Brand of the American League. The same day, a friend of his founded a Pittsburgh Pirates blog. Between the two of them, it was decided to try and create a baseball blog network of all 30 teams. Titled the Most Valuable Network, it grew into the first online sports blog network, dominating the landscape for years. Evan served as co-founder and president, wearing many hats over the years and receiving ample experience in all facets of business — executive, managerial, marketing, coding, human resources, accounting, editing — anything a business does, Evan had a hand in. Unfortunately, the economy declined sharply right as a major investment was placed into MVN. The business model became unsustainable, and MVN closed its doors. Below is the open letter I penned about closing MVN.


It is with regret that I’m writing to announce that I have made the decision to close down MVN.

There are many factors that led to this decision, and thusly I will not attempt to work through all the factors and the various happenings that led to this decision. I will, instead, simply cite that the biggest motivating factor was (what else?) finances.

MVN is backed by family money. In better economic times, our investment on this end was not significant. However, the downturn of the economy has hurt us. Online ad revenue dropped at a time we were pushing to make MVN a bigger and better destination. While we were fortunate to have the resources to exist to date, we’ve arrived at the situation where further investment can no longer be justified.

From a personal standpoint, I have worked full-time pro bono for MVN for the six years of existence. Given my current position in life, this was an arrangement that could not last. I did not see potential for future earning at MVN in a time frame that would have been acceptable — or even doable — to my personal welfare.

For the past three weeks, I have been working on getting all MVN blogs a future home. I am pleased to announce that many of the blogs were found homes, either at Bloguin or Real Clear Sports. Several blogs have made the decision to either shut down themselves or go independent. In the coming days, we will be providing you a full list of where the new homes of the blogs will be.

Over the next few weeks, the writing platform at MVN will be dismantled entirely. This means that any mvn.com inbound links to archives will not work. We will provide full archives to the blogs in question for them to import to their new homes. Before January is out, the only MVN page that will exist is the front page at MVN.com, which will continue to look as it does today.

Eventually, we plan on selling the domain. At that point, unfortunately, all traces of what MVN once was will have vanished.

What will survive are the blogs, and I hope that you will continue reading them. We are immensely proud of the blogs and writers that came through MVN. A lot of influential writers got their start or their big jump on these pages. We’re honored that we could provide that opportunity for them and hope that they look back on their tenure at MVN with fondness.

I know that I can say with utter certainty that I poured my heart and soul into MVN, at the expense of personal advancement. My life for six years was building up MVN and the blogs to the point where everyone could succeed. My goal this entire time has not been about personal success. It’s been about making everyone around me successful. I have found that if you do that, you will become successful yourself — and in better ways than if you had focused on yourself from the start.

While I would love to give thanks to many people in this space, I’m afraid this note would reach Moby Dick-ian levels in an attempt not to leave anyone out, so I will simply say: You know who you are, and I hope you know the amount of gratitude I feel for you.

On December 31, 2003, I was in my senior year of high school. I was still reeling from the Red Sox losing to the Aaron Boone-led Yankees two short months earlier… and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to make my voice known. I started a Red Sox blog, Fire Brand of the American League. A friend joined me, starting a Pirates blog. A light bulb went off over our heads, and here we are six years later.

If I had to choose a lasting legacy for MVN, it would be as early adopter of new media, to the point where MVN was a great influence in bringing sports blogs to the national mainstream of consciousness. When it got started, blogs weren’t even at the stage where it could be looked on with scorn by mainstream media. Heck, most of our early recruiting efforts came from message boards, because there weren’t enough blogs to find. (To be clear, I’m not citing MVN as the reason why sports blogs are popular — that would have happened regardless.) MVN was able to recognize early on the power of blogs, and what a network of blogs could do. Of course, to this day there are numerous sports blog networks. I remember when there was just one.

I’ll let our history and influence — whatever you think it is — speak for itself.

I’m just proud I got the opportunity to lead MVN and work with many wonderful people.

Sincerely,


Evan Brunell
Co-founder, Owner, President of Most Valuable Network, LLC

60 thoughts on “The end of the Most Valuable Network, MVN.com

  1. Evan, I just want to thank you for all the work you put into MVN. I got my start blogging at The Bronx Block, and I really cherish my time there. Good luck with whatever you do next.

  2. Thank you for everything provided by MVN. This website was one of the best sites I have ever worked with. This really felt like family to me. I am sad that it is being shut down, but it was a please working alongside ya’ll.

  3. Evan –

    Thank you for the opportunity to work at MVN – I’m proud to distinguish myself as an MVN alumni, and I will always be grateful for the chance to write for you.

    Good luck with your future endeavors –

    Ryan Brown

  4. Evan, thank you for giving me a chance to write at MVN a couple of years ago. I will never forget my time on Pending Pinstripes. You’ll be back better than ever in no time! Best of luck!

  5. It’s a shame to see MVN go. I enjoyed my years with Caffeinated Confines. Many years ago, I had wanted to start a blog site for the M’s (back before there were blogs), but had no idea how to go about it. You had the same idea and ran with it, and look what it became! Best of luck!

  6. Evan — sorry to hear the news, but glad to hear that you’ve worked to help those blogs find new homes. Plenty of other blog networks have come and gone and not had the decency to make that effort. Definitely commendable.

    Best of luck in whatever comes next. Whatever happens, don’t let this challenge stop you from doing other big things in the future.

  7. Great job on running MVN and sorry to hear you guys are closing. Feel free to have anyone contact us if they would like to keep blogging. Thanks

    Zach
    fansided.com

  8. Thanks for all you did, Evan, it was a great opportunity and an honor to represent the Philadelphia Eagles on your platform. MVN will be a highlight on my journalistic resume thanks to your vision and hard work and the dedication of those closest to you. I will miss the interplay with all our fellow MVN writers across the nation, it’s been a great ride…

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  11. Evan,

    Good luck to you, and thank you for giving me the opportunity write/ramble on the Pirates blog and Transaction Guy section of the site.

  12. Evan,

    Just wanted to commend you on the work you did at MVN. Starting a blog network from scratch and turning it into what you had here at MVN is no cakewalk. Let us know if there is anything we can do for you, including helping you bloggers find new homes.

    – Adam

  13. Evan,

    I was just informed that MVN has closed it’s doors and it was sad news. Like it was yesterday, I can recall an August day in 2005 when Mike Whooley and I decided to start up Bruno Boys Fantasy Football on the MVN Network. MVN is where Bruno Boys got it’s start and it wasn’t for you and I meeting in a OOTP Baseball Simulation league it might have never happened.

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to showcase our fantasy football content talents on the MVN and being a starting points that has helped make Bruno Boys what it is today.

    Though this is an end of the journey for MVN and all the blood, sweat and tears that you, your father, Brandon and all of the writers put into it I am sure it’s a step in the right direction for whatever your next career path might be.

    Keep your head up because you did great work while running MVN lasted and best of luck moving forward.

    All the Best,

    Marc Caviglia
    Bruno Boys Fantasy Football

  14. Evan,

    I just wanted to echo Marc’s sentiments above. In reading this, I could not help but be saddened. The experience Marc and I had while with MVN was truly an enjoyable one. And, Marc is correct, if not for the chance you gave us, Bruno Boys Fantasy Football would never be what it is today.

    Know that work has indeed aided many people in their dreams and for that you should be proud.

    All the best,

    Michael Whooley
    Bruno Boys Fantasy Football

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  16. Evan,

    Thanks for your many years of hard work. I had the chance to write for MVN on several occasions and greatly appreciated the opportunity. You and everyone who worked or wrote for MVN did a great job, and I’m sorry to see the site go.

  17. Hey Evan,

    Sorry to see the site go. You guys truly had a huge impact on the sports blogging industry. Feel free to get in touch if a few of your writers need a new home.

    Brad Stewart
    Fan Huddle

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  19. Evan,

    Sorry to hear about MVN, but I can certainly understand your position.. Good luck with whatever the future may hold!

    If any of your writers are looking for a new home, we’re always looking for talented writers for the Sports Gab Network.

    -Sujeet

  20. I can’t even count all of the different blogs I used to read at MVN. It was a fantastic site that not only provided good content, it helped lead me to other great writing on the web. It will be missed. Best of luck to all the writers moving forward.

  21. Your site was my go to site on everything baseball and I will miss you guys. Best of luck to all the writers! YOu all did a kick ass job here.

  22. Evan,
    Like so many others here, I just wanted to say thank you for the extended hand you had given me when I worked for you on Take the 7 Train. It was more than a pleasure. You had given me a way to express the undying passion of an optomistic Mets fan (Yes…an optomistic one…very rare), and for over three years, I was able to work with some great writers. The time here eventually led to some of my published work with Greg Spria on a Mets Annual. It’s something that will stay with me and I have MVN to thank for that chance.

    I wish you well Evan.

  23. Evan, thanks so much for the opportunity to write for Hog Heaven on MVN. It was through MVN that I was able to get the credentials to sit in on NFL conference calls and I even got to talk with Steve Young. Kudos for all your hard work and be confident that this is only the beginning. Keep in touch!

    Jeff Jones
    The Redskins Review

  24. Evan, Dave and the whole MVN crew,

    Thanks for the opportunity to write for you at the several blogs I was happy to be a part of. It was fun working for a team, and I’ve met a whole network of friends because of it.

    As I continue blogging, I can tell you that MVN will be missed. Even after Tribe Report and Sons of Geronimo saw their last days, I returned daily to check out the happenings, and read all the blogs that had become my main source of news.

    Good luck with your future endeavors, and if any sparks of any new ideas crack the psyche, throw me a line…

    be glad to help in any way….

  25. Wow, Evan, that is too bad to hear. As I had read Marc and Mike’s statement earlier, thanks for everything. I was able to blog for the Detroit Tigers, Lions and Pistons on your site and then eventually ran into the Bruno Boys. None of that would had happened without MVN.

    Best of luck in all of your endeavors.

    Chris Ziza

  26. MVN is my go-to destination for any and all things sports related. Thank you for creating such a wonderful site.

  27. A sad day, Evan. But just reading all these tributes to you and MVN, describing the impact MVN has had in this new medium, you can stand very, very proud. About a decade from now, as some of these young writers replace some of us old print media guys, you can all sit around over a cool one, and say “remember the good old days when we wrote for that pioneer sports site, MVN?” Though the site will be sorely missed, and your emotions must be intense right now, I can’t help but congratulate you on all you have accomplished as a young entrepreneur. You may have set the bar. Sincere thanks for your successful efforts.
    Gerry

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  29. Evan, Your MVN was a great place for me to read up on the Tigers. If Take75North is going to continue elsewhere please let me know.

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  31. Evan,

    I had the chance to be a part of MVN for a couple of years and honestly, it kick-started my work in sports…thanks again for all of your hard work!

  32. I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to blog on MVN years ago. It coincided with my first year of college and I had very little blogging experience, but I had a lot of fun interacting with the readers through comments and I’ve been touched by the relationships that I continue to have with readers who used to read my articles on your site. I had a great time writing for your site and I sincerely hope that you have the best of luck in whatever you pursue now.

    Go Sox!

  33. I really enjoyed ‘Cavalier Attitude’ and the MVN network. Great job Evan. Sorry to see you labor of love ending.

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  35. So sad to see MVN go, your blogs were over the top, without doubt. However, I sure do hope you’ll be able to open up your very own blogging site just like MVN one day when you have your own company or such. It’s too early to see something as fulfilled as this was, to go already…so am wishing you nothing but the very best of luck and happiness in finding a better way to continue those amazing writing skills you were blessed with.

    You were and always will be one of my closest friends so I shall see you around sometime soon! <3
    HUGS

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  37. So sad to see it go, Evan. I didn’t even know until today, but it still kinda stings. I had a lot of fun writing on End of the Bench for two solid years. Thanks for the experience, and good luck in the future. I’m sure you’ve moved onto big things already.

  38. sooo… why didn’t you just sell the site? it would have had more value as a working blog network than as just a three letter domain name…

  39. If any of the baseball bloggers are looking for a new home, check out my new website at http://www.dailyboxscores.com

    I am starting up a new baseball website and looking for a few bloggers. Take a look and contact me if interested in writing for us! You can contact me using the link towards the bottom of the main page of the site.

    Kevin

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