After we broke the news that The New York Times was shuttering Play, we called Times Magazine editor Gerry Marzorati to ask him about the reasoning behind the closing and whether any other T spinoffs were in danger.
“After the financial crisis became so evident early in the fall, it was clear cuts would have to be made to protect the core products [of The New York Times Co.],” he told us. “While Play was an admired and respected editorial product by many people in the building starting with Arthur Salzberger Jr., it had never made money… [and] looking ahead two three years, it was clear to me and others that it wasn’t going to make money.” According to Marzorati, sports magazines rely heavily on auto advertising, especially from American car manufacturers, and the prospects for revenue from these sources look dim, which didn’t bode well for Play.
The staff of Play was primarily freelancers and all of them will be let go.
As for the other magazines, including T and T Style, Marzorati says “at the moment, there are certain tiny adjustments for the main magazine” but there “won’t be any major, major cuts for the other magazines.” Every publication — except Play — is making money, although “they aren’t making as much” as before, the editor said.