Magazine article Marketing

Pitch Battle Looming in the Sports Sector

Magazine article Marketing

Pitch Battle Looming in the Sports Sector

Article excerpt

Last weekend the Sunday Express introduced a separate broadsheet sports section, while its daily sister title introduced a sports supplement on Monday.

At the same time a daily sports newspaper, Sport First, is planning to launch with an advertising budget of [pounds]1m.

There has also been an explosion of sports-dedicated glossy magazines, with the likes of FourFourTwo and Total Sport filling newsagents' racks. Advertisers backing the new magazines include motor, drink, tobacco and, of course, sports brands.

So what is fuelling such growth in the sports media market, and can it support a daily newspaper?

Publishers and advertisers point to the fact that sport has discovered how to market itself; from the aggressive Sky campaign for the Premier League to the Nike campaigns with Eric Cantona, sport is sexy again. The boom is also being encouraged by the Euro 96 soccer tournament, which England hosts in June.

With its improved profile, sport is pulling in the kind of young male audiences (ABC1, 25 to 44) that advertisers want to reach. And the figures show advertisers are biting. Sports magazines accounted for 4% of all magazine revenue in the year up to March 1995, netting a total of [pounds]48.7m.

Mike Harrington, sales director of Sport First, set to launch in June, says there is no reason it should not follow the success of the glossy sports magazines, both with readers and advertisers.

He points to statistics from the Department of Trade and Industry to highlight the newspaper's market potential. Just under 9.5 million adults like to read about soccer in the newspapers, and 1.5 million of these adults are women.

In 1995, football grounds clocked up a combined attendance of six million. So, he argues, achieving daily sales of 100,000 should be effortless.

However, Emap, which launched the first general sports magazine, Total Sport, last year disagrees. …

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