Footy paper adds to launch fever

Exclusive by Dominic Ponsford

A new national sport weekly hits newsstands next month amid an apparent boom in launches across the newspaper industry.

The title will arrive just weeks after the expected launch of a new daily free sheet aimed at London’s financial community.

And it comes ahead of national sport and gambling daily The Sportsman which is expected to start publishing early next year.

Further
evidence of launch fever came as the Newspaper Society revealed a 48.5
per cent increase in regional newspaper spin-off publications and a
10.3 per cent rise in the number of local paper journalists to 13,267.

Non-League
Paper publishers Greenways Media are behind The League Paper, which is
due to come out on Sunday, 23 October. It will be a 64-page tabloid
concentrating on coverage of the 72 clubs in the Coca-Cola Championship
and Leagues One and Two – with a double-page spread providing a
Premiership round-up.

According to Greenways, a £250,000
advertising budget has been set aside for the launch and five full-time
editorial staff are to be recruited including a news editor, a reporter
and a picture editor. In addition, editor David Emery (pictured), who
also edits The Non-League Paper, is planning to recruit a network of
stringers from across the country to provide match reports for every
League club.

Emery, who is also managing director of Greenways
Media and a former head of sport at Express Newspapers, said: “We are
determined to bring to the Football League the kind of high calibre
journalism its status deserves.

“Ours will be a bespoke service,
offering fans across the country exclusive news and features plus all
the gossip fit to print, backed, of course, by an unrivalled picture
service.”

He added: “Although the national press on Sundays has
stepped up its coverage of these divisions, particularly the News of
the World, I still think there’s a very vibrant market to give it the
saturation coverage the Premiership has enjoyed.

“Although I think PA does a good job of covering the League, PA’s material is read widely in the local press and other media.

This paper will offer fresh and exclusive coverage.”

Greenway
Media commercial director Rich Coles said: “The Football League isnow
the fourth most supported league in Europe – watched by 16.4m fans last
season, more than Serie A in Italy – while the Championship play-off
game is now the richest club game in world football, worth £35m to the
winner.

“With those kinds of stats it’s clear the 72 Football
League clubs and their millions of fans deserve the kind of lavish
coverage only provided for the Premiership currently.”

The Non-League Paper was launched five years ago and is published on Fridays and Sundays with a circulation of 35,000.

Emery was launch editor of existing football weekly Sport First in January 2000 when it had a circulation of more than 80,000.

In
February 2004, it changed its name to Football First in order to
concentrate on football and then in April this year changed its name
again back to Sport First. The publication date was also changed, from
Sunday to Friday, and the editorial emphasis switched to sport gambling.

Its current ABC is 14,601 and it is unclear whether or not Football First will re-emerge now the football season is underway.

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