In an endorsement of the would-be flailing industry, one of the most powerful and wealthy brands in media is entering the print game. Even with billions of dollars in TV contracts, its own network and a well-trafficked Web site, the NFL will debut a monthly magazine next month.
There continue to be print launches from scratch, but the industry may get to the point where new ventures without an established brand and strong promotional platform become increasingly difficult.
The coming NFL Magazine has the NFL network, NFL.com and other popular league-facilitated opportunities for marketing and content sharing.
The first issue will offer an up-close look at the NFL Network’s Sunday morning “GameDay” show. Journalists from NFL properties will serve as contributors.
NFL Magazine will also have regular columns from Boomer Esiason, a commentator on the “NFL Today,” and veteran TV reporter Andrea Kremer. Jim Buckley, who helped launch NFL.com and has written multiple books about the league, will serve as editor.
Billed as “the official magazine of the NFL,” the publication is a co-venture between the NFL and Dauphin Media Group, which has had success taking a TV-fueled brand onto the printed page. Last year, the company launched a U.S. version of its magazine focusing on Mike Holmes, the home improvement star with multiple HGTV shows.
Dauphin will handle ad sales and circulation of NFL Magazine with former “Sporting News” executive Paul Severini serving as associate publisher. Jack Huber, a former executive at Rodale and National Geographic, is Dauphin’s business development chief, who inked the deal with the NFL.
Over the years, Hearst has set the TV-to-print standard with “The Oprah Magazine” and more recently the thriving Food Network Magazine. A sister publication affiliated with HGTV is rolling out from Hearst and Scripps Networks. Besides the NFL, other leagues have formed publishing ventures.
In 2009, Dauphin launched a “consumer shelter” magazine with HGTV personality Mike Holmes in Canada, where he is a major multi-media personality. Last fall, it launched a U.S. edition with Time Warner Retail handling distribution. The relationship with Holmes’ company is ending next month.
NFL Magazine will be distributed by Kable Media Services.