ANALYSIS: MEDIA TRACK - Line and ESQ are hoping to buck the trend of failed general sports magazines

A glance at a selection of current ads reveals that sport sells, possibly even more effectively than sex in the case of Premiership football.

A glance at a selection of current ads reveals that sport sells,

possibly even more effectively than sex in the case of Premiership

football.



The lack of general sports magazines is, therefore, surprising. This is

about to change, however, as two upmarket sports titles prepare to enter

the market.



Line, from the Wallpaper stable, launched last Thursday and plans to go

quarterly after its second edition is published in October. The National

Magazine Company’s Esquire spin-off ESQ will hit the newsstands in June

and, like its rival, hopes to bridge the gap between sport-specific

titles and general lifestyle magazines.



Both publishers have spotted that no magazines cater for the general

sports fan in a glossy, lifestyle format. ’All the (more general) sports

titles concentrate on the practicalities of health and fitness,’ says

Esquire editor Peter Howarth. Those with a sporting, as opposed to a

health, bias concentrate on one specific sport.



All past attempts to cover a range of sports in a glossy format have

failed. Conde Nast’s GQ Active was folded into its parent title in

1998.



Emap’s Total Sport closed at the end of last year when editor Paul

Hamblin said there was no market in the UK for a general monthly sports

title.



XL, also from Emap, folded less than two years after the company

acquired it from Affinity Publishing. Haymarket’s Sky Sports, which was

aimed at all sports enthusiasts, called it a day just two months after

its launch in December 1996.



Line and ESQ claim to be different because they look at sport from a

punter’s perspective. Howarth says: ’We want ESQ to appeal broadly to

people who like watching sport and who perhaps play a game now and then.

However, it will have the sophistication of the Esquire brand.’



This approach has been successfully adopted in the US with titles such

as Sports Illustrated, but it remains to be seen whether it will work

over here.





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