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Sellout Crowd throws in the towel…

The game is over for

Just 10 months after its grand launch, Sellout Crowd – the new-age Oklahoma online sports media outlet that trotted onto the field with an old-school, unsustainable 2006 newspaper business model – has officially turned off the lights and sent its players home.

Naturally, I broke the news yesterday on X:

Not to give it up to myself like Regular Jim Traber – or wildly celebrate like Al Eschbach surviving a trip to a Colombian brothel – but I questioned the feasibility of this project from the very first inning.

From its hysterically unrealistic ad rates to its reliance on newspaper columnist jurassics and fledgling sports radio hosts to bring in clicks and eyeballs, nothing about the project made sense. The site’s demise was easier to see coming than a wayward Josh Giddey three-point attempt.

The only thing that shocked me was that it couldn’t last a year without going belly up. It’s like the site was the Urban Meyer coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars of the Oklahoma sports media!

Not too long after I broke the news, Berry “Boomer” Tramel reset his X password, logged in, and confirmed that he's no longer a sellout.

I’m the furthest thing from an MBA or life coach, but here’s a quick bit of career advice for all the youngsters out there – if you’re going to quit your seemingly secure, long-time job to join an ambitious online startup, make sure it doesn't have a "faulty financial structure from the start."

Shortly after Boomer’s quick tweet, Jenni Carlson shared a Facebook post about the news. The site’s demise had her so rattled that she even wrote the post in multiple-sentence paragraphs!

As opposed to Jenni, I love burying ledes. So, I guess I should get to the other big news story here:

Jenni Carlson is no longer an Oklahoma sports columnist!

Seriously, ring the bells and high-five Bobby Reid! The Mother of Children’s 25 years of unleashing flat sports takes, Captain Obvious opinions, and 1,500-word / 150 one-sentence paragraph human interest stories about “Athlete X who overcame X to accomplish X” onto the Oklahoma public are finally over! Who do we have to thank for this?!

Based on who Boomer and Jenni didn’t thank in their farewell posts, I believe that would be Sellout’s not-so-visionary founder – Mike “Mr. Monday” Koehler.

After Mike launched Sellout-Crowd, he wrote an eye-rolling soliloquy claiming he wasn’t sure if he was “tearing down the world of print journalism" or "saving it,” a statement that’s aged about as well as the Sellout Crowd-branded Embark bus that’s still cruising around town:

Just like when a sports team lays an egg, people quickly looked for someone to blame for Sellout’s demise. Mike is, deservedly, that guy. Not only was the website his bad idea, but he also did some things that some people and their lawyers may consider fraudulent.

For example, Todd “Pork” Lisenbee shared a lengthy X-post that documented the rise and fall of Sellout from his perspective as content creator.

He talked about the broken promises and moving goalposts he encountered during his short tenure with the site.

He placed most of the blame at the feet of Mike Koehler and his two accomplices – Kris Murray and Michael Carnuccio.

I don’t blame Todd for being mad about this. The former regional radio star went through a shitty deal, and was obviously seduced and deceived by a pipe dream being pushed by a false media prophet.

That being said, he has to take some responsibility for going for the pump fake. I believe it was Vince Lombardi who said – “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If Sellout’s not-so-revolutionary business plan had any feasibility, every media outlet in town – including Todd’s former employers at Tyler Media – would have already adopted it.

Todd wasn’t the only one turning the fall of Sellout into his own Festivus.

Regular Jim Traber, Al Eschbach, and Boomer Tramel were apparently taking a dump on Mike Koehler yesterday on WWLS The Sports Animal.

Well, at least that’s what an Ogle Mole told me...

I rarely listen to The Sports “Name That Tune” Animal anymore, so I didn’t hear the conversation firsthand and don't know if anything the Mole told me was true. But the tidbit about the loan does line up with what I am hearing from the Ogle Mole Network.

According to them, Mike secured a high-interest six- to seven-figure loan from a group backed by Toby Keith and Bob Stoops to fund Sellout. I’m also hearing that Boomer Tramel – as an equity holder in the site – may be on the hook for some of it.

This loan was apparently pitched as an “investment” to advertisers, vendors, and the content creators who Mike was recruiting to join the project.

For example, here’s what a well-placed OKC ad executive told me back in August:

Semantically speaking, there’s probably not a big difference between a large loan and an investment.

If some rich person gave me a $1,000,000 loan to grow TLO – serious inquiries only, please – they would definitely have some sort of ownership stake, especially if I didn’t pay them back.

Legally speaking, though, there is a difference between a loan and an investment.

When people loan you money, they generally want you to pay them back. If not, they may go to extraordinary lengths to collect. On that note, I can already imagine the visual of Berry Tramel hearing a loud knock at his door, and then peering out the curtain only to see Drake and Isaac Stoops on his front step holding a sledgehammer, blowtorch, and bottle of Rock N’ Roll tequila.

That would leave Berry more terrified than he was on his first day as an OU student!

Okay, I doubt things will get that medieval. But a million bucks is a million bucks. It will be interesting to see if Toby Keith’s estate and/or Bob Stoops go through the courts to try to recoup their loan/investment, or if anyone files a civil suit against Mike Koehler for possible fraud.

From what I’m hearing, both are possibilities, and we’ll monitor OSCN and keep you updated.

It will also be interesting to see what happens with Berry and Jenni.

The career opportunities for aging sports columnists are pretty limited, especially for the ones who helped secure a $25-million libel verdict against their employer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of them writing press releases for some public utility or state agency in the immediate future.

Anyway, our thoughts go out to anyone and everyone at Sellout Crowd who was screwed over by Mike Koehler and his apparent accomplices Kris Murray and Michael Carnuccio. We wish them the best of luck in getting their money back.

We’ll continue to follow this saga and will let you know when or if any lawsuits are filed, or if Mike Koehler ever gets around to telling the story of his business.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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