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Would Toronto Support An All Sports Daily Newspaper?

May 28th, 2011 | by torontosportsmedia

Back in the day in the good old USA there was a daily sports newspaper called The National. Using the Wall Street Journal as a print and distribution partner and Frank Deford serving as editor in chief it ran in the early 1990’s for only a couple of years. Personally, I loved it. This was before every paper was on Al Gore’s internet and when I was in the USA it was a great way to get a national perspective on sports other than the McPaper- USA TODAY. Maybe that’s why they called it the National.

Several sources have told me this week that a couple of individuals have done more than kick the tires at a local Starbucks to discuss the notion of publishing an all sports daily newspaper here in Toronto. While this is far from being a done deal, I am told that the possibility is legit. The idea I am told is to publish at legit. The plan would be to publish at least 5 days a week and also have an extensive web offering. The pitch to me was to create the pre-eminent sports portal in Toronto from both an online and offline perspective.

I am told that no writers have been approached, but the belief is that there are sufficient deep pockets involved that drawing top level quality won’t be a problem. I repeat again that this isn’t a done deal, but only in advanced discussion stages.

What do you think, would Toronto support an All Sports Daily Newspaper?

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19 Comments

  1. lt67 says:

    If the paper version is free and distributed like Metro and others for mass transit riders (and if there is money in that) than they have a chance….they may need a bikini of the day to help :) Otherwise, not sure how they will compete with other online properties that are supported by radio and TV (TSN, Sportsnet etc…).

  2. Raptors Devotee says:

    I remember and loved The National back then, mainly for their extensive baseball coverage, which was exceptionally well done.

    I would not be interested as much in a hard copy version, but an online version would have more appeal.

  3. Craig says:

    One question here (and I’m not trying to be funny but) – WHY? The newspaper business has been bleeding a slow death since Al Gore’s internet established it’s foot hold. With the wealth of information and perspective available online I don’t see how anyone can even contemplate starting a newspaper (of any sort) as a potential business model. Unless every major sporting website available suddenly decides to create a closed garden structure (a pay per view basis), newspaper start-ups are dead on arrival.

    Does anyone know of any upstart newspaper operation having made a go of it in the last five years?

  4. Plebian Slob says:

    The Toronto Sun has enough Sports pages to pretty much corner this market in the GTA, I say this idea is DOA.

  5. Sean Boulton says:

    Loved, loved, LOVED The National – Dave Kindred, Charles Pierce, Mike Lupica, edited by Frank Deford. What a ridiculous lineup of writers.

    Agree with the commenters above – I can see a big readership if it’s free and backed up with a strong online presence, but the universe of people locally who’d pay for this daily is small.

  6. @MMMMBLT says:

    I have fond memories of the National (still have clippings of some of the great photos), but an all printed sports daily dedicated to Toronto doesn’t intrigue me. I would visit the on-line version for sure. There is lots to write about in Toronto sports but there could be some lean issues in July…
    BLT

  7. Daniel says:

    Yeah – hard to imagine a new daily print newspaper making a go of it.

    As RD said, online would be smarter.

    I think it would be a tough go even online though. TSN and Sportsnet have invested a lot in spreading their content to TV, Radio and Web. Plus the four dailies have a strong online presence.

  8. Daniel says:

    All that said – I think it would be cool. The more coverage the better. It’s just hard to imagine how it would be successful. But hey, it’s not our money.

  9. robinaurora says:

    A Print edition would be to get interest in their web offering. But I don’t see anyone running to buy it though -Personally, I don’t read Sportsnet or TSN’s on-line columns (most Op-Ed pieces don’t interest me at all) – But if there was some real talent on an all sports paper, I could be lured there I guess.

    I don’t really like any Canadian writers enough to say I read them regularly. I find they are either too negative, or they practically cheer for the teams they write about. No one is very entertaining or engaging. I like infromation, not op-ed. Cox’s piece on Wilson not extending his contract was a good piece. When his opinions creep in to his work, I usually disagree with him. Same with Simmons. Both those guys can write, both are pretty goood reporters, but I swear they take hallucinogens sometimes. Brunt is they best IMO, but I am not compelled to read his columns on topics that don’t interest me. So other than results and reporting facts, do I need newspaper articles & columnists? Not really.

  10. Stephen from Waterloo says:

    Hey, I am all for more content.

    I agree with Plebian that the TO Sun almost covers that niche, but hey, why not?

    When you think of the ethnic make up of Toronto, you could pretty much fill a lot of content with NA sports, but also soccer, cricket, hell even professional badminton (just read today that the girl badminton players now have a dress code dictating skimpy dresses!)

  11. Mike S says:

    Kypreos is doing a pretty good job of making this website more well known……………he mentioned it on the air again today, this time on television (on the 6:00 PM hockey show on Sportsnet)

  12. RJT55 says:

    If the daily has a website as detailed as the newspaper then success is possible. If the paper catches on, the publishers could rely on paid website subscriptions.

  13. mike (in boston) says:

    you really just have to shake your head at Rogers/FAN590.

    The Rogers owned Jays win big on a weekend where not much else is going on with the NBA/NHL/NFL, and the Rogers owned official radio station of the Rogers owned team cuts off the post game show to play a re-run of a soccer show, where one of the main topics is a preview of a match that has, by this time, already been played.

    i’m not sure if this is a “fuck you” to Wilner, or to Jays fans, or to TSN, or to all of the above. in what universe is this a smart decision? how much money can they possibly be saving?

  14. Cam says:

    Not sure why anyone would get into print these days … but on an unrelated note saw this in John Lott’s NP Blog

    “After Bautista singled home a run in the first inning, veteran White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson suggested on-air that the home-run leader might be corking his bat.

    In a seemingly unrelated incident, Harrelson made a special trip to the Toronto clubhouse after the game and fawningly introduced himself to Bautista. The two chatted for a few minutes. Apparently, the content of Bautista‚Äôs bat did not come up.”

  15. Bob says:

    Mike (in Boston) you are dead on, Rogers has no idea when it comes to their ball club. Then again pre-empting Wilner with Darts actually may make sense!
    Secondly, as to a Toronto Sports Newspaper , my first thought was no way! Then after reflecting, I thought maybe it might work, because 98% would be about the Leafs, and idiot Leaf Fans will buy anything.

  16. James says:

    I agree with the majority here – I think it’s unbelievable someone would consider starting a print newspaper. While having a print version lends more credibility and I assume is part of of a plan to generate publicity (in the sense of being ‘visible’ and reaching more people initially), there are other ways to do so and it would essentially be an expense.

    However, an actually well-thought out online source of sports news would be pretty great. The keys are of course securing talent, content, a first rate layout, comprehensive coverage of all sports and teams, etc.

    The main problem without print is becoming “known” and established as legitimate news source. It might sound bad, but basically they need to be associated with the other sports networks and papers in common perception. Seperated from those bathrobed bloggers in essence.

    One thing though that seems odd to me is those saying tsn/sportsnet have substantial online presence. Personally I consider pretty much every Canadian sports network ( and most papers) to have substandard websites. I definitely see room for a smart, sexy, simple, and professional site, and feel if it could generate enough intial momentum it would stand to at least challenge the others – and hopefully make them improve.

    Don’t even get me started on the Fans site. It’s an abomination. Rogers owned media seems to fail hard at anything to do with new tech like websites and especially mobile devices. For example the radio app is among the worst I’ve ever seen. And sportsnet as well as tsn have terrible apps. Just awful and actually the score is good here..

    P.s. I have noticed that the vast majority of those in my demographic (I am 21) use TSN for checking things online. However this is due to one reason and it’s nothing to do with quality. It’s the fact they end up watching TSN all the time
    due to hockey, and it’s ingrained in their minds as the source for sports. Also note that most this age don’t do much reading of sports news at all anyways..

  17. JasonTO says:

    I walked by my radio while the Memorial Cup game was in intermission and heard Lajoie interviewing Jimmy D. Is there no on-air opportunity Lajoie won’t take to fawn over that man? Why have him on at all in that situation?

  18. Martin says:

    Tried watching the Memorial Cup Final tonight (29) but unfortuately due to weather ? Part of the second intermission was missed & part of the third period but noticed D. Cox had a poppy on his jacket during the pregame/first intermission but his panel members did not until the second intermission – There is definite tension when ever Cox joins the three amigos IMO…….

  19. Gerry (Burlington) says:

    I would be all for a new all sports paper and website. Reason being, right now I start my sports perusing with ESPN, CNNSI, USATodaysports, BleacherReport and then start perusing the Cdn. webpages.

    I find that the TSN / Sportsnet webpages have no commentaries that i look forward to reading. Espn has Bill Simmons, Peter Gammons and others who I really look forward to reading. CNNSI had Joe Posnaski and Peter King and others.

    I get none of this from TSN and especially Sportsnet.

    The Papers currently IMO have better columns to read than any cdn sports webpage. The fan’s is just useless.

    I just really wonder where this new paper is going to find accomplished writers. Unless they have a deal to tap into alot of the US writers to tap into for NFL/NBA/MLB etc…

    Would be very curious who is backing up this idea, and if there is some tie in to one of the current Sports TV stations and are looking for another angle to attract another market segment.

    My fear is we just end up with a different version of the The Hockey News and all this paper provides is hockey, which I love, but we have lots of coverage. What is lacking in our current papers is a more indepth coverage of other teams in the league throughout the year until the night they are here in TO playing the leafs.

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