The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

What happens when a group of Ivy League, chess-playing sports junkies starts a blog?

Ask Zachary Weiner and the staff of The Sports Quotient.

On Sept. 5, Weiner and his colleagues launched The Sports Quotient, a blog dedicated to covering and debating all things sports. In the first two weeks of its existence, the blog generated about 7,000 hits.

Additionally, the site’s posts on Twitter have been retweeted by Wharton lecturer and ESPN business analyst Andrew Brandt and video game manufacturer EA Sports.

“The coolest thing is we’re just at our inception, but it’s not just friends and family that are viewing us,” Weiner said. “The word is getting around pretty quickly.”

While it remains to be seen whether Weiner is the next Zuckerberg, the excitement — and ambition — of the project is palpable. When the blog launched, every writer was producing at least one post per day. Though that figure has dropped to four posts per week, The Sports Quotient is still generating about six articles per day, which is part of a strategic decision on Weiner’s part.

“What I kind of recognized early on is that you need a lot of content. I think that nowadays people go to websites just to see something new,” Weiner said. “We want to make sure that every time somebody goes there, even if they’re checking multiple times a day … there’s something new.”

The blog attempts to raise its readers’ “sports quotient” or “SQ,” by producing articles that bring an atypically analytical approach to sports. For instance, they have debated whether chess is a sport, attempted to define skill through statistical analysis and discussed the existence of an NBA championship formula.

The name of the site also alludes to the academic excellence of its staff of 14 students, which includes eight Penn undergraduates in addition to students from Yale, Johns Hopkins and Duke universities.

Moreover, nine of the group’s members play chess competitively, including brothers Peter and Robert Hess, who attend Penn and Yale, respectively. In fact, Robert is a chess Grandmaster who is currently ranked 11th in the nation by the World Chess Federation.

These intellectually informed sports minds were the foundation of Weiner’s network for the blog.

“I was just kind of trying to rack my brain for who are really smart people that also know about sports, and I’ve been kind of fortunate to be surrounded by those types of people,” Weiner said.

While The Sports Quotient is the most recent development for Weiner in sports media, he has also hosted a sports talk show called “The Zone” on WQHS for three years running, and this fall, Sports Quotient writer and editor Peter Hess joined Weiner as his co-host.

For both Weiner and Hess, the blog and radio show represent opportunities to exercise their passions and test the waters of careers in sports journalism.

“These are all really smart kids, and they have a world of opportunities,” Weiner said. “Investment banking or all of those things, those are strong pulls, but what we really love is sports. But do we like sports when it becomes a job? That’s kind of what I want to find out.”

Certainly, other sports blogs exist that compete with The Sports Quotient. However, Weiner believes the edge for his site is that its writers bring new perspectives — and when they don’t, editors veto the post.

Thus, defying the perception of a blog as a casual medium, Weiner and his fellow editors are all business when it comes to the quality of the site’s posts.

“The difference is that Bleacher Report has become so big at this point … that they can’t make sure that all of their content is really good,” Weiner said.

In terms of the workload for staff, Weiner and Hess equated writing for the blog with taking an extra class. Based on posting four times a week, that seems to be a conservative estimate.

In fact, the workload has surpassed expectations of the project’s difficulty and has been “more difficult than anyone ever thought,” according to Weiner. That said, it has been more than worth the effort for the staff.

“The fact is that at the end of the day that I’ve … helped establish a website that people can look at and enjoy and talk about,” Hess said. “That’s what drives me.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.