Sports Force Interactive - Featured Forum [Big Board]

The Sandman

Jan 1, 2004
What is the name of your website and a brief description of the theme/topic of the forums. What is the url?

The website is called Sports Force Interactive, not suprisingly by the name of it the website is about sport. We provide everything from Sport News to Views (blogs) and discussion area's (forum).

List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions.
Rugby League is probably our most popular, however being a sport website it depends on what season is currently happening.

My personal favourite is our flaming area where we can ridicule team selections, team's players or things like that - mainly just vent like sore losers when our team loses :)

What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date?
I started the website as the fireworks began to blast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to welcome in the new year in 2009 (meaning our official opening time/date was 01/01/2009 at 00:01).

I started the website because I realized how many different websites I went to just to get news, I would go to one for news, another for people's views, and a third to play all different types of games or fantasy competitions.

I thought there was an easier way to do it, and as it turns out there was - Start my own one with everything on there.

Do you have any special forum features or activities?
RLSIM was a highly popular game for a website called the International Interactive Rugby League during the late 90's and early 00's, at one point having 14 affiliated competitions.

When I started my site I came in and put them more or less out of business by acquiring the services of the guy who created their rugby league simulator and he now creates purely for us, we are the only officially licensed competition that uses his software and he has also created us cricket, rugby union and tennis versions of the simulator as well.

All of our competitions come with prizes that are donated to our site, however are currently in a hiatus as we go through some upgrades to our site.

Which software do you use for your forums?
For our entire network we currently use vBulletin Publishing Suite 4.1.x and we are very happy with the job it does, the ease of running our news articles on our CMS, the forums and our blogs through the same system saved us a lot of time in updating scripts.

Do you use any add-ons scripts to enhance your site? Which ones?
We try everything once, if we or our members don't like it we remove it. Our two main add-on scripts are used on almost every other sport site I come across and these are vBCredits (Or DBT Credits Deluxe) and vBookie.

However in saying that I have just forked out what could be thought of as a hell of a lot of money in order to have a custom script made for us that I may come back and talk about once it is implimented, but trust me it is a feature that will really attract people to our board.

What is your current server set-up? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers?
We used to manage our own servers, however with the amount of news, posts and members coming each day we had to move hosting companies and get them to handle them for us.

While at times I feel lonely not sitting there with our servers or being able to do everything at the same time it has taken some stress off of me, and the good thing is if something happens I have someone to blame. lol.

Membership stats? How many members?
Okay so recently we suffered a major hacking and only just put our site back to where it was - we currently have 2 565 members who rushed back to sign up when we came back online.

What are the demographics of your site? (Percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related)
We have a 70% Male populated forum, however that means 30% are female which isn't bad going and surprised me as a sport site.

Our members range in age from 13 to 72 and most are located in Australia, New Zealand, England and the United States.

Tell us a about your staff including how many admins (and their functions), moderators, mentors, web-developers, etc. Explain how your staff is organized.

Well despite our site continuing to grow we have three staff members. Me (Head Admin) whose job is to more or less do everything, I do the coding, mostly the design, I fix the issues, and at the same time am the lead journalist with our news reporting and blog posting.

We then have one super moderator - who was only put into that role over the weekend, her role is to oversee everything, report to me any major issues, otherwise take care of it herself including bannings, warnings, infractions, avatar issues, signature issues, etc.

And then finally we have one moderator, who has his little section that he mainly stickies/unstickies posts :)

How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses? (Ecommerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc)
After two and a half years we have only recently decided to try and get a revenue from the board, before now we have been paying for it out of our own pocket but now we sell our own advertising and have paid subscriptions.

Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading?

Yes, we have only introduced this with great success, we opted for the cheap/affordable layout such as $5 a month, $20 per 6 months, $35 for a year.

They receive extra PM space, more benefits throughout the community, ability to customize their own blogs, more credits earned, costs less to buy things in our store, special rank and rank image, relaxed avatar/signature limitations, and everyones' favorite unlimited game play in our arcade.

What is your name?
My name is Brendon Meynell.

Please share a few things about yourself. (Bio, family, education, background, hobbies, your favorite pizza topping, your favorite vacation spot, your choice of transportation, etc)
I was born in New Zealand in 1985 and moved to Australia in 1997, my parents are seperated, I have one son (and another one on the way) my first sons' mother and I are separated however we both love our son very much.

I have a diploma in journalism, and am qualified as a Certified Internet Webmaster (some stupid qualification thing they make you go through here in AUSTRALIA).

How do you spend a typical day as admin on your site? What do you enjoy about your job as admin of your site/forums? Do you office in your home or in a separate office space away from your house?

My first role is to write all of our news reports, I do have some help but most of the sports come down to me.

I enjoy my job as Admin as it is not a me vs them type of situations, I am friends with most the people on our board and I enjoy making them happy and giving them a safe, reliable environment to talk about everything to do with sport - no matter what part of the globe they are from.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it?

We were hacked, majorly, by someone I thought I could trust. I brought him on he was helping with coding, graphics (my only true weakness) and just general populating the boards.

We quickly reached big numbers in regards to members and communities then he tried to extort money, I said no, he then started to blackmail me and when I refused to pay he hacked my entire site and it was three weeks before I could get back online.

All the time he was saying I could have the site back if I paid X amount. Instead I opted to start fresh and thats where we stand today.

What 3 things have helped your forums to be a success?
Persistency, outside sponsorship, and passion for sport.