Prep site shuts down due to financial reasons |

Prep site shuts down due to financial reasons

Jeremy Evans

South Tahoe High volleyball coach Gary Hankoff usually checks for his prep sports needs. But since the Web site suspended operations last week, he was forced to buy Sunday’s edition of the Reno-Gazette Journal – solely for the sports section.

Hankoff was hoping to find results from Saturday’s High Sierra Invitational, one of Northern Nevada’s largest volleyball tournaments. The paper, though, didn’t have any results. It also didn’t have any results in Saturday’s edition from Friday’s games.

“It’s too bad because there was nowhere else to get the results,” Hankoff said. “ really is a great site. Nobody else covers all the sports. (Chuck Hildebrand) is someone everyone respects and calls in their results to. I hope he gets it going again.”

In the past eight years, (formerly has emerged as Northern Nevada’s most comprehensive outlet for high school sports. But citing financial constraints, such as lack of advertising and rising gas prices, Hildebrand was forced to temporarily shut down his site.

Hildebrand, though, said Northern Nevada high school sports enthusiasts won’t have to wait long to get their fix. He could have his site up and running later this week, although the long-term prospects for the website still look grim.

“The main problems I’m up against are the fact I’m probably going to lose one of our major sponsors and the gas-price issue,” said Hildebrand, whose one-man operation has been successful in breaking some of the region’s top stories. “I put 544 miles on the car the weekend before last. And paying $3 or more a gallon, that’s going to add up a lot faster than I had anticipated when I put together my budget for this school year.”

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Hildebrand said that although his Web site averaged 23,000 hits per day last season, his vision for hasn’t materialized. He planned for a growing advertising base, one that would create a profit margin that would enable him to hire another staff member.

Despite routinely beating the Reno Gazette-Journal, Northern Nevada’s largest newspaper, on major stories, Hildebrand wanted a second staff member to focus on covering the Reno-Sparks area, increasing the site’s profile in the state’s second most populous region.

“That hasn’t happened, and the problem is that for whatever reason, starting, probably, with the fact that I’m a lousy salesperson I haven’t been able to sell enough advertising,” said Hildebrand, whose business is based in Winnemucca. “I figured by now the site would be at least self-sufficient. You know how this business is … if you’re just treading water, you’re drowning. And to avoid that you have to keep upgrading and adding features and coverage, something I’m not in a position to do right now.”