The venerable sports magazine Sporting News will become online-only on Jan. 1, Editor-in-Chief Garry Howard tells Poynter in an email. Its December issue was its last print edition. In a letter to readers, Howard and publisher Jeff Price write, “After 126 years of printing ink on paper with weekly, biweekly or monthly frequency, Sporting News will officially become a digital brand as of January 1, 2013. … Having spoken with many of our longtime subscribers, we recognize this is not a popular decision among our most loyal fans.”
Unfortunately, neither our subscriber base nor the current advertising market for print would allow us to operate a profitable print business going forward.
Sporting News won’t vanish from newsstands completely, Howard says in his email: Its yearbooks for baseball, NFL football, college football and basketball and fantasy football and baseball will still require the services of dead trees.
The publication announced last October it was ending biweekly print publication and would publish Sporting News Magazine monthly, but would not accept any new subscribers. A phone call to the customer service line listed on that announcement confirmed that this condition is still in force. Sporting News’ website is run in partnership with AOL, and the organization also offers its reporting via iPad and Android apps.
In a phone call, Price says more people have downloaded Sporting News’ apps than were subscribers to the last biweekly print edition. “The things that worked for us in print were those yearbooks and previews,” he says. “We’re letting print play the role we think it should play.”