The nation's first weekly sports magazine -- sold to American City Business Journals in 2006 -- said today it intends to cut its publishing schedule from weekly to every other week, beginning Sept. 1.
In July, it will begin publishing a free daily online version, which will be staffed with a roster of bold-faced bylines, including former athletes such as John Elway and Rick Barry, New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, and sports blogger Will Leitch, among others.
"We didn't buy it 18 months ago to keep it the same," said Ed Baker, the magazine's publisher.
Those changes will extend to the print magazine's rate base, which is being cut to 600,000 from 700,000. Mr. Baker said the shift would eliminate "questionable" agent-driven subscription copies.
The new print magazine will come in a larger, glossier format. And it will focus more on features than breaking news -- a mission the weekly version was struggling to fulfill in a world where most sports fanatics find content updated constantly online. "The newsweekly category is an oxymoron today," Mr. Baker said.
Similar play by U.S. News
The No. 3 player in the newsweekly space, U.S. News & World Report, recently made a similar shift to bi-weekly publishing.
Mr. Baker also said he expected the online product to have 200,000 daily readers. The weekly print edition has struggled to gain readers and advertisers in a market dominated by two larger rivals, Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine.