Greetings and gidday from Dowununder folks
Greg, speaking from a professional web site content/designer/free SEO ranking viewpoint, as Danny (Sullivan), Jim Wilson (RIP), Jill Whalen (High Rankings) and many other pioneers have oft stated "Content is King".
And without getting into a whole "what do you want to do with your life" dissection, I'm assuming you don't intend to become a professional journo/sports writer, and just want more traffic to the site to get a few more sales, then my advise is as follows:
1. Try to find out/figure out why you're in the Google "sandbox" (as opposed to the "aging delay" algo now in place to get around reciprocal/link farm page rank boosting). If it's aging delay, you'll just have to sit it out (and there are advantages to this, as you'll have time to develop you site content/profile and links strategy). If it's sand box, well, other people might be able to help you out there.
2. Get listed in Wayback/Alexa machine for regular independant/3rd party archiving of your site for plagarism/scrapping violations. (And keep regular backup and archive copies of the site yourself, if you don't already.)
3. If all you want is to get more people to buy your DVD/match downloads, products etc. off the web site, then "content is king" in getting inbound links, specialist subject and general traffic to the site.
And good web site design and "calls to action" will help with site visitor conversions, and there are heaps of resources here at WW and elsewhere that are avilable for that.
4. To protect unique content, check out Creative Commons License options, and if this idea suits you, offer some (not all) of your existing or adapted articles on the site as content, and for re/use (under your Creative Commons License terms) for other web sites and media outlets.
This will get you "natural" inbound links (the best kind) from sites without even knowing unless you study your referral statistics logs, and Creative Commons Licensed article/content links, thus increasing your "niche/expertise status" as other posts have mentioned.
This also gives you some standard measure of control, you can do (or pay for) plagiarism checks and send violators an invoice for use, or nice request for acknowlegement/link (whatever your CC terms are).
Then, as soon as you're out of the Google "sandbox" or "aging algo", you are good to go!
5. If you do the above, then you should also be prepared at some point to have requests for you to write articles, and that's already covered here about the market rates etc.
And as a niche expert, (with all other things being equal, and you've done everything even half right), don't be surprised when you get asked to do TV/radio/web interviews (dunno what the payment protocol is there. From what I've seen of Brett and other here at WW, it's part of the "PR" budget and as such you wouldn't expect any $$ for it).
But you might also get a request to coach or inspire teams, and for talks or presentations at dinners/seminars/conventions etc.. These are a different animal altogether and require serious market place research/consideration, in the event that you get these sort of requests. But some "bluesky" forethought never hurts! ;)
Just my thoughts. Hope this helps.