After the 126 years, The Sporting News is printing its last magazine. One of the great traditions in sports is yet another casualty of the modern news era.
The Sporting News, though, isn’t going away. It still will exist at Sportingnews.com.
Here is the official statement from publisher Jeff Price and editor Garry Howard.
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. Based on interest expressed by a number of longtime readers, Sporting News will continue to print six highly popular, sport-specific yearbook previews in 2013—Baseball, NFL, College Football and College Basketball plus Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball—that will be available at newsstands across the country.
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 is very much alive in the digital sports world, publishing a free daily sports App that is dynamic in nature and one of the leaders in its category on the iPad, in addition to our 24/7 web site, sportingnews.com.
“Yes, it’s a new day for Sporting News, but one that is looking toward the future and one that will help our brand reach more avid readers than ever before in its storied history.”
It’s been a while since many people thought of The Sporting News as a magazine, which is why that vehicle is fading away. It follows the lead of Newsweek, which also is ceasing its print publication.
Yet news of The Sporting News’ print demise had many of us veterans feeling nostalgic today:
@TimGrierson Reading the Sporting News as a kid made me the baseball fan I am today. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who feels that way.
The Sporting News was huge when I was coming of sports age in the 70s. Unlike the glossy Sports Illustrated, with its long articles, The Sporting News felt and read like a newspaper. Back then, the magazine still had its tradition of printing the boxscore of every baseball game. I mean, every game. I’m not sure I spent much time pouring over them, but it was something to see it all there on several pages.
The Sporting News also had Jack Craig, the first sports media columnist for the Boston Globe. For many of us, it was our introduction and eventually inspiration to cover this beat.
I had one of my greatest thrills in college when The Sporting News printed my story on the Illinois basketball team in 1981. I knew I had arrived. Later when I joined the Chicago Tribune, I wrote several pieces on college football for the magazine. I always felt it was an honor to see my byline in The Sporting News.
Time marches on, and The Sporting News is making its presence felt with its web site. It makes sense to pour all of its resources into that department.
But for those of us who grew up waiting for the magazine to land in the mail box, we owe a debt of gratitude to The Sporting News. A truly great institution.