Following a rushed statement on Friday morning, proclaiming the publisher of both titles Sport Media Group (SMG), had removed itself from AIM (Alternative Investment Market) "pending clarification of its financial position", shares in the group were suspended due to a lack of assurance from the Royal Bank of Scotland that it was to offer future financial support to the titles.
In what many must have observed as a bizarre twist Sport Media blamed the weather for its financial position.
The group, in a statement, said: "The company has experienced an insufficient recovery in trading since the adverse weather in December 2010, with consequential pressure on the company's working capital position."
Ironically, in 2010, SMG had reported a pre-tax profit of £330,000 – its first pre-tax profit in two years, but this still did not stop both titles going to the wall, with administrators BDO force to axe the entire 80 staff at the Manchester-based titles as it looks for a buyer.
The Sunday Sport, which was founded in 1986, and the Daily Sport, founded in 1991 have not been published since Friday.
Amy King, head of press at MPG Media Contacts is not shocked by the closure of the titles, she said: "I'm surprised it didn’t happen earlier. Having worked in press for a number of years, I have only ever had one meeting with the title.
"In the past five years or so, they simply didn't have much of a rapport with agencies or clients, and no one knew what was really going on.
"They did well during the era of the lads mags, because people who were reading Loaded and FHM were picking up the Sport as a kind of intermittent fix until the next magazine issue came out and they just don't need it anymore."
A quick straw poll of media agencies will unveil that King’s experience is far from unusual – it was the norm for two titles that had all but given up on attracting big name display advertisers. Murmurs of a breakfast meeting from the Sport Media Group team a "couple of years ago", with "no follow up" are rife across the industry.
Vanessa Clifford, head of press at Mindshare said the reaction she would expect from her team if asked a question about the titles is "do they still publish those?"
She said: "I think the biggest shock was that they were still doing something with [the titles]. They would veer between the ridiculous and the pornographic. They did have a low-rent satirical take on things, but it was always utterly bonkers. Sometimes they were amusing, but outside of that it was always about girls and gambling."
SMG had been struggling to manage its debt since its stock market listing in 2007, following a £50m reverse takeover by Interactive World.
The founder of the Daily Sport, David Sullivan had performed a comeback of sorts to help the group in 2009, lending it £1.68m, just two years after he had offloaded the tabloid papers. During this period, he also took an honorary role at the company and a 10% stake.
Known for their ridiculous headlines such as "World War II bomber found on moon" and "My breasts weigh more than Cheryl Cole" , and supporting the careers of several glamour models, including Jo Guest and Lynsey Dawn McKenzie, the paper has encountered a decline in circulation over the years.
Dominic Williams, press director at Carat thinks the title has been gradually dropping off the radar. He said: "It wasn't ever a crucial part of a client’s schedule and I think we could all see the closure of the titles coming. In all the time I've been in press, I can honestly say I haven't had one meeting with them."
The publisher even brought in infamous Loaded editor James Brown as consultant editor-in-chief at the end of 2007 to steer the editorial content, a redesign followed in April 2008. This included moving some of the racier content to the back of the paper, and trying to attract advertisers with more celebrity-focused content at the front of the paper.
The last ABC certificate for the Daily Sport was registered in January 2009 and showed the paper had a circulation of 72,592 copies. The company pulled its titles from ABC in March 2009.
Although both national newspapers, the titles were most associated with low-grade chat line advertising or ads for lurid DVD titles, rarely bothering agencies with a blue chip client roster.
The real reason behind the closures is that both titles have been in decline for some time, with the echoing calls of "they've had their day", echoing round the media arena.
Just like the decline in lads magazines, readers are migrating online to get their fix of the latest glamour models, and many agencies found the title to be too much of a risk to attach their premium brands to.
The Daily and Sunday Sport may have been vaguely amusing in their day, but their day has most definitely passed.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk