Sports site breaks off from Chester newspaper

gamebreak-top

RVAGameBreak launched last fall.

Linked by a love of sports, a business manager, a veteran sportswriter and a social media junkie are calling the plays at a startup news site focused on local high school athletics.

RVA GameBreak, launched last fall by Elliott Fausz and Josh Mathews of Chester’s Village News, has brought in Thomas Dozier as a third owner in the online venture.

“The three of us are completely different personalities,” said Dozier, a sportswriter of 20 years who has written for Petersburg’s The Progress-Index, the Stafford County Sun (now Inside Nova) and Ashland’s Herald-Progress. “Which is why it works,” he said.

Thomas Dozier

Thomas Dozier

Dozier joins Fausz, whose family has owned the Village News for 19 years, and Mathews, a Village News writer and editor who garnered an 11,000-user following on Twitter for his frequent high school sports updates.

It was Mathews’ activity on his Twitter page, since rebranded as “@RVAGameBreak”, which prompted the young sportswriter to explore a region-wide high school sports site. Mathews found he was getting followers and attention outside of the Village News’ four-high-school coverage zone in eastern Chesterfield County. He wanted to expand the newspaper’s sports coverage but had difficulty convincing Fausz.

“We always had a sports section and Josh came on board and boosted it even more,” Fausz said. “And then he wanted to keep it growing, but because our newspaper model is hyper-local and we only focus on four schools, we didn’t want to expand just the sports section. It just went against our business model.”

The two decided to break off Mathews’ brand, launching RVAGameBreak.com last fall to cover 20 high schools in Chesterfield County, the Tri-Cities and the city of Richmond. Fausz and Mathews ramped up coverage during basketball season and saw up to 12,000 weekly clicks to the site. Dozier, who had previously retired from sports writing, joined last month.

Elliott Fausz

Elliott Fausz

GameBreak will host scores and stories from approximately 50 high schools in the Richmond region once football season begins. To accomplish this, the ownership team plans to recruit student interns, parents and fans from each high school to serve as correspondents, with Dozier and Mathews also writing articles and columns on the site.

“With the three personalities and three levels of experience, we can take a young writer that’s motivated and get them ready for college,” Mathews said.

The three owners plan to delay finding advertisers until the site grows to at least 25,000 views per month. Fausz, who along with Mathews remains at the Village News, is funding the operating costs until that time comes. He says the site will have enough runway to operate ad-free until year’s end.

“If it doesn’t work in that time period, we did our due diligence,” Fausz said.

GameBreak’s owners plan to stick around, though, with long-term goals of launching similar regional high school sports sites in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads markets. They also plan to publish sponsored social media and story content with both national and small businesses, and see sports bars, sporting goods stores, fast-food chains and physical therapy clinics as their advertising targets.

gamebreak-top

RVAGameBreak launched last fall.

Linked by a love of sports, a business manager, a veteran sportswriter and a social media junkie are calling the plays at a startup news site focused on local high school athletics.

RVA GameBreak, launched last fall by Elliott Fausz and Josh Mathews of Chester’s Village News, has brought in Thomas Dozier as a third owner in the online venture.

“The three of us are completely different personalities,” said Dozier, a sportswriter of 20 years who has written for Petersburg’s The Progress-Index, the Stafford County Sun (now Inside Nova) and Ashland’s Herald-Progress. “Which is why it works,” he said.

Thomas Dozier

Thomas Dozier

Dozier joins Fausz, whose family has owned the Village News for 19 years, and Mathews, a Village News writer and editor who garnered an 11,000-user following on Twitter for his frequent high school sports updates.

It was Mathews’ activity on his Twitter page, since rebranded as “@RVAGameBreak”, which prompted the young sportswriter to explore a region-wide high school sports site. Mathews found he was getting followers and attention outside of the Village News’ four-high-school coverage zone in eastern Chesterfield County. He wanted to expand the newspaper’s sports coverage but had difficulty convincing Fausz.

“We always had a sports section and Josh came on board and boosted it even more,” Fausz said. “And then he wanted to keep it growing, but because our newspaper model is hyper-local and we only focus on four schools, we didn’t want to expand just the sports section. It just went against our business model.”

The two decided to break off Mathews’ brand, launching RVAGameBreak.com last fall to cover 20 high schools in Chesterfield County, the Tri-Cities and the city of Richmond. Fausz and Mathews ramped up coverage during basketball season and saw up to 12,000 weekly clicks to the site. Dozier, who had previously retired from sports writing, joined last month.

Elliott Fausz

Elliott Fausz

GameBreak will host scores and stories from approximately 50 high schools in the Richmond region once football season begins. To accomplish this, the ownership team plans to recruit student interns, parents and fans from each high school to serve as correspondents, with Dozier and Mathews also writing articles and columns on the site.

“With the three personalities and three levels of experience, we can take a young writer that’s motivated and get them ready for college,” Mathews said.

The three owners plan to delay finding advertisers until the site grows to at least 25,000 views per month. Fausz, who along with Mathews remains at the Village News, is funding the operating costs until that time comes. He says the site will have enough runway to operate ad-free until year’s end.

“If it doesn’t work in that time period, we did our due diligence,” Fausz said.

GameBreak’s owners plan to stick around, though, with long-term goals of launching similar regional high school sports sites in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads markets. They also plan to publish sponsored social media and story content with both national and small businesses, and see sports bars, sporting goods stores, fast-food chains and physical therapy clinics as their advertising targets.

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S. E. Warwick
S. E. Warwick
6 years ago

Great news. Now excellent high school athletes around the region will get the coverage they deserve by people who know what they’re doing.