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'S.A. Express-News' Teams With 'Cancha'

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DALLAS The San Antonio Express-News today introduced its first edition of Cancha, a sports and entertainment semi-weekly produced by Mexican publisher Grupo Reforma.

With a free circulation of 25,000, the new publication is Grupo Reforma's first joint venture with an American publisher, said Jorge Alberto Melendez, vice president of new media at Grupo Reforma.

"It's the first one, and I believe it's not going to be the last one," Melendez said.

While Grupo Reforma will write, edit and design Cancha, the Express-News will sell advertising, print and distribute.

"This is our premiere issue and it's already profitable," said Sergio Salinas, executive vice president and general manager at the Express-News. The aggressive marketing campaign for the launch of Cancha includes radio, print, transit buses and outdoor advertising.

Salinas said Cancha would extend the Express-News' reach into the Hispanic community in tandem with its bilingual supplement Conexion.

"Advertisers who want to target second-, third- and fourth-generation immigrants might choose Conexion," Salinas said. "Those who want to reach the first generation will choose Cancha."

Although national advertisers are included in the mix, most of the ads will be sold to local "mom-and-pop" businesses, Salinas said. The inaugural edition carried 24 pages of advertising, he said.

Cancha, which means "court" or "field" in Spanish, is already a well known publication in Mexico, where Grupo Reforma publishes nine newspapers with more than 1 million circulation. The introduction in San Antonio today was timed to coincide with the beginning of World Cup soccer competition, a sport that is closely followed by Mexican immigrants, Salinas said.

The Express-News, San Antonio's dominant daily, reports average circulation of 250,000 daily and 350,000 on Sunday.