Sporting News Rolls Out Digital Sports Daily

Sporting News will launch on July 23 Sporting News Today, a daily editorial product styled after a traditional newspaper but which will be e-mailed each morning to a list of subscribers–a hybrid format that the company is calling a “daily digital sports newspaper.”

The new digital newspaper’s content will be heavily news driven, aimed at what Sporting News executives see as a growing universe of die-hard sports fans on the Internet. The product, which utilizes technology licensed from the digital magazine firm Texterity, has been designed to reproduce the visual packaging of a newspaper while blending the navigation of the Web, according to publisher Ed Baker. “Physically, it looks like a newspaper, it reads like a newspaper, and feels like a newspaper,” he said.

Readers can jump to whichever sections interest them (each issue will have at least 24 pages), but Baker said the digital newspaper’s layout should make it easier for them to find what they want to read. “The content is built into pages, which is way different than having to go here to here to there to read what you want,” he said.

At launch, Sporting News Today will not carry any advertising until the company builds up a significant subscriber base, said Baker (it launches with roughly 30,000 subscribers). But eventually, the product will feature video ads, standard IAB units, and even “half page” newspaper type ads.

To promote the launch, Baker said the company has enlisted its magazine, Web site, and Sporting News Radio, which is delivered on both XM and Sirius Satellite radio. A portion of that radio show will be rebranded as Sporting News Today in conjunction with the digital newspaper’s launch.

According to Baker, Sporting News Today is part of a larger effort being enacted by parent company American City Business Journals as it attempts to revitalize the 120-year-old Sporting News. The company has beefed up its reporting staff, said Baker, while adding several dozen former athletes and coaches as contributors.

In describing the new venture, Baker likened Sporting News Today to the short-lived early 1990s daily sports newspaper The National. The goal of this new, modern-day version of The National is to raise Sporting News overall news-breaking cache in the digital media world. “We bought an antiquated product,” he said of the company’s 2006 purchase.”This is the new Sporting News. No one is going to have more comprehensive information anywhere.”