Daily Sport heads towards men's mags with Emap MD

Sunday and Daily Sport publisher, Sport Media Group, has appointed a former Emap lads’ mag publisher as editor-in-chief in a bid to make the titles’ more like general interest men’s magazines.

Barry McIlheney joins Sport Newspapers after 21 years at Emap, five of those as managing editor of Emap Metro, which publishes music monthlies Q and Mojo and men’s lifestyle monthly, FHM.

In November last year Sport Media Group appointed Loaded founder James Brown as the papers’ consultant editor-in-chief with the aim of giving the papers a lads’ mag appeal.

McIlheney, who headed up the launch of lads’ weekly Zoo, said: ‘With the success of men’s monthly and weekly magazines, it is only a matter of time before we have the first men’s daily, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this with The Sport. As the rest of the newspaper market increasingly target women and older readers, this is real chance to produce a modern British tabloid for modern British blokes. Any man interested in sport, women, and having a laugh – and in my experience there are quite a few of them – now at last has a national daily newspaper he can be proud of.”

McIlheney joined Emap in 1986 from IPC’s Melody Maker, taking on the role of editor of Emap’s now defunct pop weekly Smash Hits. In 1989 he launched film monthly Empire, where he was editor for three years and was awarded the PPA editor of the year prize. In 1994 McIlheney became managing director of Emap Metro, and after the launch of lads’ weekly Zoo in 2004 and the subsequent launch of the title in Australia and South Africa, in 2007 he became a part-time consultant with Emap, chairing the judging of their annual editorial awards.

Brown said: ‘Attracting someone of the calibre of Barry to The Sport is a great coup and will allow us to continue to the build the paper as a vehicle to reach young men on a daily basis. He has almost unparalleled success in magazine editing and launches, combined with a career which started in newspapers and music papers. His titles have been highly successful and we are confident that Barry can replicate this success at The Sport.

“His publications have been built around harnessing the disciplines of great tabloids into a glossy format and he will be bringing the devices, attitude and confidence of these successes into The Sport titles. With the rest of the tabloid sector increasingly feminised by focusing on reality TV there’s a genuine opportunity to provide an array of humour, sport, glamour, motors and larger than life stories that will define The Sport as a unique publication.”

Andrew Fickling, executive director of Sport Media Group, said: ‘Barry has a proven track record of creating significant circulation uplift, particularly in the men’s publishing arena. As just a small increase in the circulation of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport can deliver a significant increase in Group profits, this appointment is critical to the continued success of the business.”

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