The Daily Sport and Sunday Sport are set to relaunch next week in a move which will see the papers position themselves away from a traditional sex-led approach to a more mainstream ‘newszine’format.
In March all adult advertising will be placed in its own supplement towards the back of the paper in a bid to attract more mainstream advertisers.
Barry McIlheney, the former Zoo editor who became editor-in-chief of the titles in January, said: ‘The Sport is the best kept secret in daily publishing – it is completely unique. It fulfils a very clear consumer need, not currently being met elsewhere. It is unashamedly for ‘the boys.”
He accused other tabloids of ‘giving up’on men with a more female-led approach.
James Brown, who joined last year as creative consultant, said: ‘The success of both The Daily and Sunday Sport will lie in providing an edgy but humorous tone and original content, which reflects the interests and aspirations of a wide section of the male population.
‘Barry and I have spent many years taking readers away from newspapers, but our challenge now is to reverse that trend – a case of poacher turned gamekeeper – and The Sport offers an opportunity to do just that.’
McIlheney’s is promising more sport coverage and will have celebrity columnists including former Manchester City manager Peter Reid, Hull City footballer Dean Windass, Leicester City manager Ian Holloway, and champion boxer Ricky Hatton.
Sport Media Group chief executive Andrew Fickling said his aim was to continue to cater for its core 18-45 readership who often are, he said, ‘doing jobs where they are constantly on the move – builders to tradesmen; drivers to firemen”.
He said: ‘One of our greatest strengths is in the traditional nature of our medium and the fact that it is consumed in a sociable fashion among all sorts of groups of men – it acts as light-hearted entertainment in cafes, bars or during lunch breaks, with each copy being read by a number of people.”
The Daily and Sunday Sports have been losing sales at a rapid rate in recent years. In January, the Daily Sport sold 101,653 and the Sunday Sport sold 87,307.