It’s college football season.
Which means it is college football media season and this year that means the launch of the Banner Society, a new site from Vox Media and SBNation aiming to build a home and community for college football everywhere on the internet.
The Banner Society is the new home for writers like Spencer Hall of Everyday Should Be Saturday and for the Shutdown Fullcast, a college football podcast that’s about much more than college football.
On this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview, we chat with Ryan Nanni, the site’s Editor-in-Chief about why the internet needed another college football site, his journey from commenter to writer to editor, and how college football rivalries spilled over into his past life as an attorney.
Here are a couple excerpts from the episode to get you started.
Ryan Nanni on the launch of the Banner Society
I think it was an opportunity for us to sort of do a reset and build something that is…sort of a spiritual successor of Everyday Should be Saturday in some ways, and the [Shutdown] Fullcast and what we’ve done as SBNation’s college football section. But in a lot of it was sort of an opportunity for us to build something that goes beyond a website. I think we’re trying to think of it as a multi-platform thing, or at least a more platform-agile kind of thing. So that people can find us on Reddit and people can attend a live show and people can go find Spencer [Hall] or Bud [Elliott] talking on Twitch or something like that, in ways that hopefully make sense for our audience and what we’re trying to do connecting with them. But don’t always necessarily line up with the overall corporate initiative of a big giant company like Vox Media. It gives us a little more of a laboratory, I guess, is the way to think of it where we can sort of experiment and tweak and try new things. And if they work great, and if they fail, we try something else.
We did our first live show, September 2018, I believe. It was in Atlanta, and we had a basically the rest of the SBNation college football crew there. So Bud Elliott was there. And Steven Godfrey, Richard Johnson, Alex Kirschner, Bill Connelly was there. And what was really cool was that at that people were people were excited to come to the show. And they had a good time, it seemed like that was great. But they were also super excited to meet Richard and talk to Godfrey and get a picture of Bud. And that was I think, the first inkling I had of the sense that we had a little bit of a broader community that we could potentially say, okay, that’s who we’re going to talk to. And that’s who we’re going to try to grow. And if that means we are not the biggest, broadest, most Google-victorious college football brand on the block, I think that’s probably okay. And long term is probably better for us if we can say, yeah, we are the thing that… like we’re not ESPN, big, but we have a level of loyalty and affinity and community that they probably don’t.
Ryan Nanni on college rivalries spilling over into legal work
In my previous life as an attorney, one of the things that I did – definitely not my full time job, thankfully, because I wasn’t good enough at it for it to be that – was I represented one person on death row who was appealing his conviction. And I went to meet with him one day, and you know, you go to the prison, they put you in a room, they ask you if you want the cuffs off, you say yes, because that builds trust, and that’s healthy and whatever. And this was, I want to say this was two days after a Florida-Alabama game – I don’t remember exactly which one it was I’m confident it was in the Will Muschamp era – that Alabama had won easily.
And here I am strolling in, a free person and a person who’s going to leave this prison when I want to on my own terms, and then go pretty much wherever I want, sitting across from somebody who’s, you know, been convicted and sentenced to execution… and he makes fun of me. He makes fun of me because my team lost the college football game.
That was just such a stark moment of like, wow, this thing is very powerful. And even in this scenario, I’m still frustrated that I have to be here and he’s right. Alabama whooped Florida that day, and that’s frustrating to me, even understanding the power and the relative imbalance between us right now.
I think I just sort of tried to take a deep breath. Remember that we’re working together in this circumstance and remind myself that Florida doesn’t have to play Alabama every year like my wife’s team does. So I have that going for me at least.
For more about Ryan Nanni, and his predictions for this season listen to the full episode here.