MEDIA: Friday kick off for Sport First

Sport First, the football-focused Sunday newspaper, is to publish a national Friday edition for the first time today.

Sport First, the football-focused Sunday newspaper, is to publish a

national Friday edition for the first time today.



It will concentrate on previews of Saturday’s matches, aiming to provide

in-depth analysis.



’It is a natural progression,’ said editor Chris Mann. ’If there was

that much appetite for results, there will be for previews.’ He

confirmed that the possibility of publishing on other days was also

being investigated but that this would only be done gradually.



Independent publisher Sport First Publishing hopes to sell 50-60,000

copies of the Friday edition at the 70p cover price. The Sunday version

has sold as many as 100,000, though Mann concedes that seasonality is an

important factor for the publication.



Mann said circulation doubled in early trials of the new edition in

London and the South-East when it was moved from Saturday to Friday. ’It

is a different animal,’ he said. ’For example, there are people

travelling to work on a Friday and we have a lot of tips and stats.’



The paper has a distribution deal with the Daily Mail but still suffers

from a lack of recognition. ’We have very low awareness,’ Mann said. ’We

are aware that it is a problem but it is still a new business.’



Sport First was set up by chairman Keith Young three years ago. Although

the paper has also covered golf, tennis, motor racing and cricket, it

has had a deliberate bias towards football for the last year, when Mann

and managing director Neil Webster were asked by Young to take over.

’The paper wasn’t in a good state,’ Mann said.



Although something of an unknown quantity in the UK, football-dominated

publications are a staple of print media in Portugal and Italy. Mann

said Sport First’s readership is ’98 per cent’ male, aged between 20 and

50.



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