In recent years, Vox and SB Nation have been slowly but surely jettisoning some of the team, college, and league blogs that they built their content empire on. Most recently, they shuttered some of their hockey and soccer blogs, though a few of them have found new life with other networks and content partnerships, as have some of SB Nation’s cast-off podcasts.
In February, Sacramento Kings blog Sactown Royalty announced they’d learned they “would no longer be financially supported by Vox Media, SB Nation’s parent company” and that the blog would be “unaffiliated with SB Nation starting on Feb. 28, 2023.” The blog has continued posting, though the last article as of the time of this writing is from March 29.
It was a notable decision by SB Nation given that the blog dated back to 2005 when it became the second NBA site in the nascent network after Chicago Bulls’ blog Blog-A-Bull (which was also part of the same cost-cutting).
SB Nation seems to be happy to hand over the intellectual property rights for the discontinued blogs to site editors, including Blog-A-Bull, which has moved over to Substack. However, that doesn’t appear to include the site’s archives. And considering how far back sites like these go, that’s a lot of blog posts, a lot of writing, and a lot of memories.
Not wanting Sactown Royalty to be memory-holed completely, blog founder Tom Ziller, who left SB Nation in 2014, announced Monday that he was able to acquire the blog’s rights back, including everything they’ve written in the past 17 years (not counting Fan Posts and comments).
I have acquired @sactownroyalty from @SBNationNBA. In the coming months, the 17 years worth of archives will be transferred to the spiritual descendant of StR, @thekingsherald.
I'm going to occassionally blog the Kings' playoff run at TKH as well.
— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) April 3, 2023
It's pretty weird to think of @SBNationNBA without Blog-a-Bull or Sactown Royalty given that they were the first two NBA team blogs in the SB Nation network in 2005. Oh well.
— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) April 3, 2023
Ziller noted in his Twitter thread that while he won’t be taking back the editorial reigns, he’s making sure the archives are transferred to The King’s Herald, the King’s blog he started after leaving the network.
“When I saw the news about the site being shut down, I reached out to my contacts at the company and expressed interest in taking ownership,” Ziller told Awful Announcing. “For me, it was important to ensure the archives remained secure in the hands of the people who most care about them, which meant the team that helped me build Sactown Royalty from scratch in 2005, took it over when I formally left the site in 2014 and created The Kings Herald when SB Nation cut its contractors on California-based sites.”
Ziller added that there was no financial compensation as part of the deal.
The news that Ziller was able to acquire the site’s archives and bring them over to The King’s Herald was met with plenty of excitement from the Kings’ blogging and fan community.
The day Vox told us we wouldn't be able to run StR anymore was a top 5 worst day of my life. To think all that work/history could disappear was gutwrenching. I'm very thankful that we now get to preserve that content, just as we did with the spirit, over at @thekingsherald https://t.co/jOL4eM4WYU
— Very Nice Akis (@Aykis16) April 4, 2023
I am beyond happy that we’re going to be able to preserve our years of work. A lot has already been lost in terms of comments and fan posts but at least we’ll maintain a huge part of the community history. https://t.co/M37tmlqDtO
— Greg (@gwiss) April 3, 2023
The plight of blogs like Sactown Royalty and Blog-A-Bull are likely to become a lot more common in the upcoming years. All signs point to Vox and SB Nation shuttering more sites, perhaps eventually all of them. In the meantime, folks like Ziller are laying down the framework for how those writers and editors can ensure that their hard work stays alive even if the blog doesn’t.
“I’m obviously sad and wistful about the closure of a number of NBA blogs at SB Nation, including the original two (Sactown Royalty and Blog-a-Bull),” said Ziller. “I’m feeling really sad for the fans of hockey and soccer clubs that were even more battered by the news. But this happens on the internet. There’s a ton of content from the ’00s Basketball Internet that doesn’t exist anymore.
“I’m just glad this little piece of it will.”
Sactown Royalty is dead. Long live Sactown Royalty.
— Greg (@gwiss) April 4, 2023