Emap Active has pulled the plug on Total Sport, little more than a
year after it inherited the struggling title from Emap Metro.
The December issue, on sale now, will be the last. The ad sales staff,
who sold across the Emap Active sports portfolio, are unaffected by the
closure and will be re-directed into ’developing something new in a
Total Sport’s January-June 1999 ABC slumped to 43,720, a year-on-year
fall of 18 per cent, despite Active relaunching the magazine with a
re-design by a new editorial team and a sizeable investment in
Recent sports spectacles such as the cricket world cup, world athletics
championships and rugby world cup couldn’t save the title although
publishing director Rob MacDonald claimed that the next ABC would have
shown a slight improvement.
’Total Sport is very expensive to produce and you need to sell a lot
more copies and a lot more advertising to make it pay,’ said MacDonald.
’It’s a superb editorial product but there just isn’t a sustainable
market for a general sports glossy.’
Active had tried to position Total Sport to advertisers as a lifestyle
magazine building on its ’boys to men’ portfolio which includes games,
sports, cars, bikes and hobbies.
Although it doesn’t have a direct competitor, Total Sport has had to
compete with the expanding sports sections of national newspapers and an
array of specialist sport titles. Another general sport magazine, Inside
Sport, closed last year and the football sector has seen a number of
closures in recent times including 90 Minutes and Football Monthly.
Total Sport has also had to contend with the launch of the Sunday
newspaper, Sport First, which recorded an ABC for September of 91,678
and expects to see an increase in October to 98,000. The newspaper has
also added a Saturday edition in the South-east which is selling around
Explaining his title’s success and Total Sport’s demise, Sport First
editor Chris Mann said: ’What we can offer is immediacy with reports
immediately after the events. Also, our content is heavily skewed
towards football because we only cover something if it is newsworthy
rather than try and do justice to all sports.’