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MediaTel Staff 

Football Magazines And The Opposition

Euro'96 not only produced large viewing figures but also revitalised football in the UK. The release of Football Mania (The Daily Mirror) was supposed to be a closely guarded secret but somehow The Sun found out and released Football Football on the same day. The Times also published a supplement this week on Monday entitled Football 96/97.

The magazines featured in this review are:

Title Publisher Price
90 Minutes IPC Magazines 80p
Football Monthly ProSport Media Ltd £1.95
Match Emap 80p
WSC When Saturday Comes Ltd £1.50
Total Football Future Publishing £2.25
Goal IPC Magazines £2.40
Shoot IPC Magazines 80p
Football Europe Poundbury Publishing Ltd £2.00
Football Italia Future Publishing £2.75
Four Four Two Haymarket £2.40
Match of the Day BBC Magazines £1.00

Out of the ten magazines WSC, Shoot, Match and 90 Minutes are pre Sky/Premiership magazines. 90 Minutes was launched in 1990, WSC in 1986, Match in 1979 and Shoot 1969. Shoot and Match are aimed at a younger audience (11-15 year olds) while 90 Minutes aims towards 15-25 year olds and WSC looks for a more mature audience. The following graph shows the circulation trends from June 92.

From the graph it can be seen that Shoot and Match were vying for the top circulation figures. Match figures started to drop when the Premiership started and Shoot began to dominate until Match started to pick-up again during 1993. Chris Hunt, who took over as editor of Match in 1993 told Newsline: "When I took over in 1993 I wanted a new look for the magazine. The title was relaunched in 1994 and more experienced teenagers were brought in. We wanted to turn footballers into celebrities and provide a magazine for boys equivalent to Smash Hits for girls."

In 1992 the Football League was restrucured, Division One became the Premier League and Sky Sports won the rights to show live matches in the Premiership. Since then a boom in football magazines has happened. Magazines became more glossy, more trendy and more upmarket. Between August 1994 and 1996 over five more football magazines were launched:

The following graph shows the effect of new magazines compared to the pre-Premiership titles:

Blue (June 1995) and Yellow (June 1996) indicate pre-Premiership titles. Bright Green (June 1995) and Dark Green (June 1996) indicate titles launched during the Premiership.

*January To June ABCs - Football Sector for a full 1996 ABC round-up. *New Football Magazine - Details for a 1994 round-up.

From the table there seems to be a decrease in readership for all titles apart from Match, which has remained the same. It would be interesting to see how new titles such as Goal and Total Football would fare with July-December 1996 figures.

C4's coverage of Italy's Serie A, World Cup '94 and Euro '96 made people more aware of European football which resulted in the launches of Football Italia and Football Europe. These magazines have yet to make a major impact on the market.

In terms of content, those who know where the Northbank or Stretford End is or are familiar with the words libero and or Eusebio , would read WSC or Four Four Two *(Four Four Two - First ABC). These two titles are second only to Match of the Day which was launched yesterday *(Reviews: Match Of The Day, Sported!) is certainly the best out of the chosen selection. Match of the Day is available every week and is therefore up-to-date. It looks at football from all angles and includes humour, serious articles and match round-ups. WSC edges Four Four Two because it is presented for the pure football fans on the terraces. It looks like a well presented fanzine and speaks from a footballers perspective rather than an armchair or "new lad" fan. Match must also be mentioned as one of the elite as it produces the correct substance for its target audience (11-15 year olds). 90 Minutes also comes close to Match of the Day as it is updated weekly. Total Football *(Total Football First Issue Review), Goal *(Goal First Issue Report & Football Mags Round Up) and Football Italia are more focused on lifestyle and glamour and would appeal less to football fans. These magazines tend to be in the league of men's magazines such as FHM and Maxim and would appeal to a more wider audience. Football Monthly was relaunched in March '96 by Prosport Media Ltd but was actually launched in 1851.

BSkyB has secured the rights for the Football League *(BSkyB Secures Football Rights) and there are rumours of pay-per-view matches. This means football magazines have to compete with television in order to gain more readers, especially as football programmes contain various elements featured in magazines such as nostalgia and humour. With the release of Match of the Day, there may be an increase of titles based on TV programmes.

*MediaTel subscribers only

MediaTel subscribers can click here to access all the latest ABC figures.

Subscribers can also access the top forthcoming football fixtures in Sports Diary.

Please note: WSC's 1996 circulation figure is the publishers estimate

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