Five years ago today, Deadspin launched.
In my opinion, Deadspin has had such an impact on the sports-media landscape -- pound-for-pound, as much as anything in sports media in the 15 years of the "internet era" -- that it is even possible to splice sports' internet era into "pre-Deadspin" and "post-Deadspin."
Of course, that could also be shorthand for "pre-blogosphere" and "post-blog" (and you could make the same argument about Gawker, beginning in 2003).
Deadspin was and is important for its individual contributions to the landscape -- the stories broken, the talent incubated, the epic posts -- but probably just as important (if not more) for its symbolism:
Not simply "fan perspective" in sports media (which had been around arguably since 1995 or even earlier and was shifting inevitably) but the tip of the effort when it came to changing -- upending -- the relationship that existed between sports, its mediators and fans.
"Fan perspective" media was largely dominated by "me" (with exponentially more of that now); Deadspin was (and remains) far more concerned with "we" -- down to the literal "royal 'we'" deployed by founding editor Will Leitch. "We" are fans; "they" are, by implication, everyone else.
It was this combination -- of actually being a linchpin when it came to consuming sports in a new and different way and of symbolically representing the shifting balance of power between sports-media producer and consumer -- that is Deadspin's legacy and that has held up over the last half-decade.
The landscape has shifted seismically since September 8, 2005 -- and will continue to shift. More choice is one factor; seemingly everyone claiming to represent "we" is even more interesting.
Deadspin, like every other sports media company (or media company period), will have to iterate and evolve and test and risk; as much as anything, these first five years give Deadspin the foundation and the permission to stake out a powerful place over the next five years.
Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to its success -- editors, commentors, tipsters, linkers, lurkers, contributors, subjects, supporters -- and here's to more anniversaries to celebrate.
(Wow, just went back and found this: My promotion of Deadspin's launch in the Daily Quickie on September 9, 2005. Very small item along the right side. Innocent times!)