Q&A with Urinating Tree


Steve Linkowski’s odd-yet-entertaining videos reeled in millions of viewers since 2010 (UrinatingTree)

Cristian Martinez, Sports Editor

UrinatingTree is a sports-based Youtube channel founded by Steve Linkowski in 2010. Even though he started as an unknown video game reviewer, his historical videos on sports franchises and weekly uploads that cover the NFL season jolted him to over 500K subscribers. During the summer, I had the chance to interview Linkowski on his early years on YouTube and what drives his creativity. 

How did your career as a sports content creator start? 

Well, the first sports video I remember doing, I expected it to be a one off. I mainly was looking at the Cleveland Browns at the time. But I remember trying to find a video that I had watched a while ago and it was a re-upload. I believe it was called Only in Cleveland. It covered the history of the Browns after, you know the move and it goes through pretty much everything with a ton of B-roll excellent well-made video about it only goes up to the beginning of the Haslam era. So there was so much more that happened after the Haslam era that wasn’t really talked about until that point. So I’m just thinking it’s like I kind of got in the video making fix at the time. I just started doing a few random bits here and there, and I’m just in there like, you know what? Why don’t I just do a video on it? 

If that video was supposed to be a one-off, what pulled you back into sports? 

So what ended up happening was I waited a couple of weeks, still doing some random stuff, and then Jacksonville completely bottoms out. They fired the head coach, Gus Bradley. They just gone to complete s***. Their defense was solid. But I mean, I think they were in a four and 12 stretch. If I remember correctly, this was the year before “SACKSONVILLE”, so I’m thinking like, Man, this team is terrible and now I’m just in there, like, why do I do a video on it? It aged poorly in a year. I remember people saying that and then at age really well after that. So it’s like one of those weird phenomenons I get with this sort of thing. 

Which video was your huge break-out? 

It was The Haters Guide to the 2017 NFL playoffs. At the time I thought, “Okay, you know what, I’m doing a few sports videos and I will do it as an experiment.” I was expecting maybe a couple hundred views, get a couple comments telling me how much I suck and you know, that sort of stuff. 

The video ends up getting like a couple thousand to 10,000 views. The moment I remember though was that I had 550 subs. Which was like hey it’s slowly growing, like 10 or 20 subs [a day]. The next morning, I wake up and fand 650. I was like, “wait, what?” When you gain 100 subs in a day, it feels surreal. Like, did that just happen? 

Something I’ve noticed in all of those videos are your usage of sound effects, clips, and statistics. What inspired you to make those a staple of your channel?

I feel like it was something to add emphasis to what I did. I feel like it was just stuff to build off of. The sound effects were like old video game sound effects that I had done in the past. I felt like it added emphasis to certain things, same as the overlays and the text. Sometimes it does get a little bit redundant, but at the same time I feel like, Okay, I’m not talking out of my ass. Here’s evidence that this was either a thing or maybe it was like an article headline or part of an article. I feel like it’s better than just having a wall of text on there, at least to me. So I would say relatively that, but it’s also like trying to like a not really an art of persuasion, but an art of like trying to inform/entertain the viewer. 

With all that attention to detail in your videos, what was the transition like from going from casual uploader to a once-every-week type deal? 

It was a little difficult to kind of get used to it because, you know, when you start making it on a casual level, you don’t really think about the production quality. You don’t think about a lot of what goes into a video. But then when you are doing it for a weekly basis and you know you have such a large audience, you start to think about, Okay, maybe I need to do this professionally, maybe I should do this or that or X or Y.