Posts Tagged ‘washington post’

Tough to Believe in ‘Thriving’ Magazine Market

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

A recent headline from the Washington Post website seems a bit misleading: “Despite magazine industry downturn, NFL, college football and fantasy football previews are thriving.”

The article opens by seeming to offer the proliferation in number of fantasy (and non-fantasy) football preview magazines as evidence of that thriving market. That, though, was followed by the truly good news: that second quarter 2010 presented the first time in nine quarters that the magazine industry saw gains in total pages and advertising revenue.

That, of course, followed big losses the previous two years — including the folding of more than 36 publications.

Specific to the football arena, Fantasy Football Index reportedly saw circulation drop 9 percent from 2008 to 2009 (24 percent from 2007 to 2009).

On the other hand, Lindy’s reportedly has seen gains in sales of its NFL preview magazine, and the article passes along word from Sporting News that its annuals still turn a profit.

So which is it? Are things bleak for magazine producers or is this a solid market segment whose target audience is so devoted to the games — or too lazy to compile its own draft lists — that the support will continue on? At best, the truth sure seems to lie somewhere between “thriving” and dying.

Last summer, Nando Di Fino wrote up this report in The Wall Street Journal in which RotoWire’s Chris Liss concedes that his company’s fantasy football preview magazine probably would not turn a profit and that it wasn’t really expected to. More than a moneymaker, the magazine serves as a big shiny ad — positioning the RotoWire name in front of potential customers and providing a strong business front for potential partners.

That report relayed the anecdote of CBS Sports doing away with its print preview mag in favor of an electronic version — not something you do with a profitable product — and Sporting News reporting a 19 percent dip in fantasy football yearbook sales from 2007 to 2008.

We’re sure there are some print publications that continue to make money, and as Lindy Davis pointed out in the Washington Post story, there are factors that make it easier for sports annuals to survive.

“A lot of magazines have been giving their product away for years to get the ad dollars,” the Lindy’s publisher told the Post. “Twelve issues for 12 bucks, and we’re charging eight bucks for one. So we’re charging top dollar, that’s one thing. And there’s just an incredible passion for sports in America. Good economy, bad economy, it doesn’t affect it. And sports can sometimes be a refuge in bad times.”

The slashes in print ad spending and saturation of the market makes it a tough time to make your money with a magazine, though, even one that caters to the devoted fantasy audience. would love to hear some facts from any of our readers who are still plugging away on the print side, so contact us at [email protected] to share.


What Would Fantasy Be Without Baugh?

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Professional football wasn’t always an exciting, high-scoring, unpredictable game. (Somewhere, a Lions fan asks, “It is now?”)

Back in 1937, they didn’t even have quarterbacks. There were wings and backs and a bunch of guys who played on both sides of the ball, and a game that wouldn’t have been a whole lot of fun for statheads. Then there was Sammy Baugh.

Baugh — who died Wednesday at 94 — was the NFL’s first star passer. As a rookie “tailback” in 1937, he led the league in completions (81), attempts (171), completion percentage (47.4), passing yards (1,127) and interceptions (14).

He led the league in passing yards four times, was chosen a first-team All-Pro on four occasions and three times threw at least 22 touchdown passes. That would have ranked him among the top 13 as recently as last season.

Baugh ushered the league from a molasses-paced era of running and more running to a style that has brought about today’s pass-first game. Though none of us has probably ever taken the time to really think about it, that introduction to the effectiveness of passing probably allowed for our prosperous game of fantasy football.

In 1936, the year before Baugh entered the league, the NFL leader in touchdowns was Green Bay’s Don Hutson with nine. Over the course of the 12-game season, exactly 11 guys scored more than three touchdowns. How much fun would it have been to gather with your buddies in August and battle for one of the few offensive studs who would find the end zone once a month?

Now, if there had been no “Slingin’” Sammy Baugh, would someone else have come along and put the ball in the air? Of course. But they didn’t attach “Slingin’” to the beginning of his name because he liked to toilet paper houses.

Thanks, Sammy, for helping to turn pro football into a game we love to follow.

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