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As of January 2013, the 126-year-old Sporting News will go digital-only, the magazine announced yesterday. The decision comes after a series of frequency reductions that brought it from weekly to bi-weekly to monthly, as well as declines in advertising and subscription revenues.
The move to eliminate print had been presaged by those reductions, as digital was gradually becoming the preferred platform. "Having spoken with many of our long-time subscribers, we recognize this is not a popular decision among our most loyal fans," wrote publisher Jeff Price and editor Garry Howard in a post announcing the change. "Unfortunately, neither our subscriber base nor the current advertising market for print would allow us to operate a profitable print business going forward."
In October 2011 Sporting News transitioned from bi-weekly to monthly—a recognition that digital was already encroaching on the brand's print business. "After thoughtful analysis of current marketplace conditions for print magazines and taking into consideration the way sports fans consume sports content in a digital age, we've decided to merge our two print businesses," said Price at the time.
In their post, Price and Howard offer current subscribers the option of getting a refund for the balance of their print subscription or continuing on and receiving a deduction each time one of the six yearbook previews, which will continue to be available on newsstands, is published in 2013.
The yearbooks, however, may not last that long in print either. Howard and Price leave the door open for cutting those as well. "In the event we cease publications of the yearbook previews, any balance left on your account will be refunded," they write.
In the meantime, readers are encouraged to visit the Sporting News website or download its free iOS or Android tablet apps.
Matt Hayes, a senior writer at Sporting News, tweeted the last cover of the magazine, pictured here, which promotes the issue's college football focus.
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