Ballhype, the user-driven Digg-like sports site which publicly debuted at the beginning of April, recently completed a study of 135 sports bloggers from around the United States, from a variety of sports focuses, to learn if this unique breed of uber-fans was best characterized by the unwashed basement dweller, or instead, a well to do self-made individual. The answer? Some of both. But by and large, the sports bloggers community is led by job-holding, house-owning (or renting), 20 or 30-something folks who don't get paid much, who could sink anywhere from 1-5 hours a day into their work.
According to Ballhype's survey, more than 80% of sports bloggers hold a college degree, while another 18% are full-time students, assumed to be working on getting one. Additionally, a strong 26% have a post-graduate degree as well. Most of these bloggers see their work as a hobby, rather than a career. And it's a good thing, because most aren't paid much, if anything. The results show 58% see their blog as a hobby that's just for fun, while 26% see it as a hobby that just so happens to make some revenue. Another 17% see it as a part-time or full-time job. But that can't be all that rewarding for the non-basement dwellers, as fully half report making less than $20 a month from the blog. Only one of every six bloggers (16%) claims revenue exceeding $500 a month - which just might keep you in stock of Top Ramen and Cheetos.
Almost 60% of sports bloggers see more than 1,000 visits to their sites per month, with just under 20% of all sports bloggers seeing an incredible 100,000 visits or more per month. As expected, this level varies wildly, from the one-off just for fun hobby blogs, to the very serious, frequently updated sites like DeadSpin, TrueHoop, and SportsBlogs Nation network, where you can find me at Athletics Nation and Sactown Royalty.
Most promising, 70% of sports bloggers who responded to the survey found the experience more rewarding than expected, and a full 90% would love to blog full-time if paid to do so.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey skewed to privileged white males, with 95% of respondents being men, and 87% being Caucasian. This could be due to early adopters of Ballhype slanting this way, or simply evidence of a good old boys network reaching new networks as well. My expectation is that in further editions of the survey, you will see these demographics return to the mean a bit, as there are some fantastic sports blogs authored by women and others of all backgrounds.
Be sure to check out the survey, the first of its kind that I'm aware of which focuses on the fast-growing sports blog community. Great work, Ballhype!