End of the Line (in Print, Anyway) for ESPN: The Magazine – ODP’s Reed Phillips Quoted

SOURCE: The New York Times

End of the Line (in Print, Anyway) for ESPN: The Magazine 

ESPN is ending the print run of its eponymous magazine, a lush, large periodical that the sports media giant started more than two decades ago and is killing now because it is losing money.

The company said “the vast majority” of the magazine’s readers now consume its journalism digitally rather than through the print version.

Eliminating the printed ESPN the Magazine, which frequently features award-winning in-depth articles, “will maximize our reach and impact,” the company said.

There are no immediate plans for layoffs, said two ESPN employees knowledgeable about the decision who were not authorized to speak publicly, and the final regular print issue will appear later this year. Its print production already had been reduced over the years, to 12 issues a year down from its original 26.

The end of the magazine’s printed version comes amid a broader reckoning with the future of print, in news media in general and in sports media in particular.

Reed Phillips, a managing partner at the investment bank Oaklins DeSilva & Phillips, said the magazine “struck the right chord at the time.” But, he added, “These many years later, it’s almost impossible to support a sports magazine in print.”

Sports Illustrated’s owner, the Meredith Corporation, has been trying to sell it for more than a year, after purchasing Time Inc. for $2.8 billion.

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