The Boston Globe announced today the launch of a new weekly 24-page tabloid style sports publication called the “OT” (for “Our Town/Our Teams”)
The OT will cost 50 cents at newsstands. It features content from Tony Massarotti, Charlie Pierce, Chad Finn and others. There is also an online edition of the publication. The stories are meant to be a little more substantial than what you will get in the regular sports section, with a longer shelf life as well.
In the announcement, the publishers acknowledge that newspaper revenues are sharply declining, and that this is an attempt to get some of it back:
The new publication arrives at a time when newspapers across the country are scaling back staffs and pages amid declining circulation and advertising. To counter those losses, some media outlets are searching for fresh sources of revenue by tailoring new products to niche audiences. OT is aimed at Boston’s voracious sports fans.
“The articles you are reading in this publication are timely but don’t expire after one day,” said Jay Fogarty, vice president of strategic planning for Boston Globe Media, a unit of The New York Times Co. and publisher of several other niche publications, including recent start-ups for fashion, home design, and young women. “It reads more like a Sports Illustrated than a daily newspaper.”
OT will include columns and analysis by boston.com sports bloggers Chad Finn and Eric Wilbur as well as previews of upcoming games involving the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins. The weekly will help readers predict the winners of games and report on fantasy sports. A feature called “Dirt” will chronicle the intersection of sports and gossip. The publication will also have an online component: a blog called “OT online” that will be highlighted on boston.com‘s sports section.
Color me a little skeptical about the chances of the long term success of something like this. Will readers pay 50 cents to pick this up? That’s our poll question for today. (see below) I also had a bit of a involuntary shudder at the mention of the “Dirt” feature. Who will be assigned to camp outside Tom and Gisele’s apartment in New York City? Comparing the publication to Sports Illustrated was a little ballsy as well.
I can see the content being better than you’ll get in the paper, Charlie Pierce’s presence assures that. But with so much sports information and content already out there, almost all of it available free of charge, will consumers go out of their way to purchase this? It’s an interesting experiment for the Globe, and the latest in a series of improvements and changes to their offerings.
With WEEI.com in the market, Boston.com and the Globe are locked in a battle with the new radio-backed startup for the attention of sports fans. It will be fun to see what’s next in this new rivalry.