Several regional newspapers are hoping for major sales and online traffic boosts thanks to their local football teams’ promotions to the Premier League.
Northcliffe Media titles Hull Daily Mail and Stoke’s The Sentinel are still celebrating Hull City and Stoke City’s elevation to the top flight of English football and have already seen increases in print sales and online readership.
Neither side has played in the Premier League since its formation in 1992. Though Stoke did play in the old First Divison, Hull has never played in football’s highest, and now richest, league.
Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan said: ‘It’s hugely exciting and enormously significant. I wrote in the paper the other day that it’s the single most positive event in Hull history that anyone can remember.
‘We’ve got a tremendously positive story to tell now about a club that has had three promotions in five years and has come back from the brink of extinction.
‘We face a major challenge to fully capitalise on it next year. We know we’re favourites to go down next year, but we quite like being the underdogs and we’re not going to go down without a fight.”
Meehan said there was a ‘direct relationship’to City’s success on the field, and also the city’s two rugby league sides, and his paper’s sales. Last Monday’s edition, which had 42 pages of coverage of Hull City’s 1-0 play-off win, sold an extra 10,000 compared to the previous two bank holiday Mondays. Tuesday’s paper, which continued the coverage, sold 4,000 more than normal.
Double the hits
The paper’s website had 413,000 page views over the weekend of the final – more than double its normal amount – and video reports from Hull and Wembley have been watched 11,500 times so far.
The Sentinel’s specialist Stoke City site whydelilah.co.uk saw a 225 per cent increase on its normal web traffic over the 4 May bank holiday weekend, thanks to regular updates and video footage during Stoke’s last game against Leicester City, when fans spontaneously invaded the Britannia
The Sentinel’s deputy sports editor James Richardson said: ‘We had a huge response on the internet and paper sales were up year-on-year as well. Regional newspapers are all losing sales and this has slowed down the figures on our papers. The teams’ performance has a massive effect [on sales].
‘We will be putting more resources into our already substantial coverage. We will be looking at things like staffing at matches.”
The Wolverhampton Express & Star, which covers West Bromwich Albion – the other promoted team – declined to comment.