In direct contrast to the figures registered in the ABC report 12
months ago, club-specific football titles are showing large declines in
sales, contributing to an overall drop of more than 25 per cent for the
sector, both year on year and period on period.
Haymarket’s FourFour-Two was one of only two titles not to register a
percentage decline year on year. The only other title not to register a
decline was IPC’s World Soccer, which continued its steady growth
pattern with a 10.4 per cent year on year increase.
The BBC title, Match of the Day, which converted to a monthly in March
1997, managed a 12 per cent increase on its sales for the second half of
last year, driven by a cover price cut from pounds 2.50 to pounds 1.
The leading generalist title, Emap Pursuit’s Match, fell nearly 20 per
cent period on period and 15 per cent year on year, ceding the overall
market lead that it regained only six months ago to Manchester United
Magazine - despite the latter’s 26 per cent year on year sales drop.
Other club specific titles also took big hits: The Official Liverpool FC
lost 25.4 per cent and Glory Glory Man United showed the biggest decline
of the three, down 30.4 per cent for the year.
Steve Keeney, publishing director at Zone, which publishes Manchester
United Magazine, said he was happy with the figures. ’There’s been a lot
more competition in the run-up to the World Cup but, at the end of the
day, we are still the market leader.’
But Gary Martin, associate publisher of Match of the Day, said the
decline may be more fundamental: ’The typical fan profile tends to show
they are young and quite fickle and don’t follow hard and fast rules
when making a purchase.’
Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on
period % year %
Man Utd Magazine Zone 117,858 -14.6 -25.9
Match Emap Pursuit 117,542 -19.4 -14.9
FourFourTwo Haymarket 85,389 -3.0 21.2
Shoot IPC 80,727 -14.8 -18.7
Match of the Day BBC 73,244 12.0 -
World Soccer IPC 62,908 15.3 10.4
Glory Glory Man
Utd Zone 52,757 -16.3 -30.4
FC N&S 44,022 -21.9 -25.4
Soccer Stars IPC 40,208 -12.6 -30.7
Total Football Future 32,741 -5.9 -3.7
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations.