I'm not sure how much of a shock this is, given the current landscape of sportswriting, but the Sporting News will cease printing paper issues once the calendar changes to 2013, instead going all-in with a digital copy of the magazine online and on mobile apps.
The end of the Sporting News as we know it comes after 126 years of publishing hard copies of the magazine. While admitting the decision has created a significant amount of backlash, the reasoning for the Sporting News going all-digital is very common nowadays: revenue. People just don't go out to newsstands anymore and buy magazines as frequently as they did even a couple of years ago. The margins the Sporting News was working with were probably razor thin to begin with, and the drop in sales of paper copies probably made the venture no longer profitable anymore.
This could be the first domino that falls in the sports magazine wars. Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine are still out there, but I'm wondering how much demand there really is anymore for paper copies of magazines with the prevalence of apps and digital magazines today. SI has a lot of history behind it, as well as a staff of talented writers, but I'm wondering if they'll continue to survive in their weekly format with how instantly news spreads in this current age. ESPN the Magazine on the other hand is tied very closely to ESPN Insider, with many people signing up for Insider with no desire to receive a subscription to the magzine like they're entitled to with the Insider subscription.
The Sporting News will still be producing their six yearbook previews for the 2013 season, and those are something that could still continue long-term because of their mainstream appeal and seasonal releases. But that's also a crowded market, and with so many choices, the Sporting News could get lost in the shuffle, especially with their iconic name holding much less name appeal to a younger crowd that didn't grow up reading it.
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