A glance at a selection of current ads reveals that sport sells,
possibly even more effectively than sex in the case of Premiership
The lack of general sports magazines is, therefore, surprising. This is
about to change, however, as two upmarket sports titles prepare to enter
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
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
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
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