Zoo founder Barry McIlheney exits Sport Media Group

Sport Media editorial director Barry McIlheney has not had his contract renewed a year after he joined the company to relaunch the Sport titles as “newszines”.

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

He headed up the launch of lads’ weekly Zoo and is also a former editor of Smash Hits and Empire.

The relaunch of the Sport as a “daily lads’ mag” was followed by a rapid slump in sales.

In July, former Cambridge Evening News editor Murray Morse was brought in as editor-in-chief – marking a U-turn in policy and a return to a more traditional tabloid newspaper approach.

Since then, McIlheney is understood to have been concentrating on magazine projects at Sport Media Group.

Earlier this week, Sport Media Group revealed that it was up for sale.

On 7 January, the company revealed that it had been given two months by its bank to reorganise its finances after it breached one of its lending agreements.

The Sunday Sport sold 70,796 copies a week in January – down 18.91 per cent year on year.

The Daily Sport sold 72,592 – down 28.59 per cent.

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