Sports Guide RIP?

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Got the news this afternoon. No more Sports Guide. At least not this year. The publisher said something about a wait and see position “Due to the down turn in the economy that has severely affected advertising sales…We are in the process of evaluating our options for 2009 and will announce our plans as soon as possible.” We’ve tabled the first issue of the winter! šŸ™ They say maybe next year…. we could go exclusively online, come back monthly, bi monthly, bi annually. We don’t know and I don’t want to really say much about this as, well, you never know.
Unfortunately, the writing has been on the wall for some time and Dan (owner of Mills Publishing) wants to stop the bleeding. Despite having a worthy publication that met the needs of a sporty community like Utah, there was no love coming from the advertising department or advertisers and so it stopped making financial sense for now.
I wondered out loud if they would put the mag up for sale (so that maybe someone could turn it around and rescue a state treasure; this pub has been around for 25 years!) and was told no. They “wanted the option of reviving it themselves.” Hmmm. It won’t do them any good though. I once asked a NY magazine consultant to look at some issues and provide feedback and constructive criticism. He said the content was spot-on for our audience but it was obvious the designer(s) had no idea what they were doing and should be fired. Of course, I couldn’t repeat this! šŸ˜‰
Unless someone there spends some serious cash for a consultant, a new designer with magazine experience and without a chip on their shoulder, a website guru and a dedicated sales rep, simply a new editor won’t save them. There will ultimately be no difference and, hence, no moneymaker.
Maybe there’s someone out there with foresight, disposable income and a brilliant business plan that could make Dan Miller an offer he couldn’t refuse?? Ben Warner? John Bresee? Where are you guys?! A Utah pub dedicated to year-round adventure sports, that highlights how-tos, gear, health and community recreation news is definitely marketable. It could easily expand to include the intermountain west and not just Utah. It could thrive like gangbusters on the web and with the right tweaking become instantly viral- expecially if you add video blogs and such. Uh Oh, looks like someone saw the promise. I hear Outdoor Utah Recreation Guide is set to launch their own outdoor rec magazine. A quarterly magazine that’s everything Sports Guide was (and probably more)! http://www.outdoorutah.com/index.php?/Newsflash/New-Outdoor-Magazine-to-be-Launched-in-Utah.html
Sports Guide will continue to have a web presence but we’ll see how far that goes. I wish I knew more about marketing on the web or I’d find the solutions myself. Unfortunately, I have ideas and great editorial skills – if I do say so myself šŸ˜‰ – but need someone else to figure out the sales end. And now I’m without a title. Jill Adler, Sports Guide Editor, no more.
It wasn’t that much work (40 hrs/mo) or that much $$ so I can’t say that I’m going to feel the loss financially. But I’ve been writing for SG for 10 years and editing for nearly five. I’ll miss it. I loved the audience, the work and what it stood for. It displayed a way of life; my way of life and those of my friends and fellow skiers, climbers, hikers, bikers and plain voyeurs. Not enough people turned its pages in enough time to keep it alive. What am I going to do now? Same old. I’m an Associate Editor for OnTheSnow.com and still the freelance writer I’ve always been- Salt Lake Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Flipside Newspaper, Utah Health, etc. On the bright side, I’m back at work on my Utah Dog Hikes book due out by Outdoor Retailer 2009; just had an audition for an IHC commercial with my current commercial running on air as we speak. I’ve got a piece due tomorrow for MSN.com (not nearly as controversial as the Wife’s Bill of Rights piece though!) and six ski states still to cover for Mountain News; many more restaurant reviews and updates for Gayot.com. When ski season starts, I’ll do more ski modeling and broadcasting. Always keeping busy. However, ideally, I’d like to add a regular proofreading gig to the pot to replace those 40 hours each month and keep me garage saling next summer. If anyone knows of a newspaper, magazine, website or manufacturer that could use me to massage their copy, PLEASE, send them to my website. In the meantime, I’m going to take a hot bath in my brand new jetted tub, make a cup o’ hot cocoa and watch today’s recording of “As The World Turns.”

Sports Guide Magazine, Rest In Peace, 10/08/2008.

P.S. This would have been the cover of our next issue. šŸ™ Sorry, Ritchie (Cheski Photography). We tried!

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