A regional daily has warned football fans that its revived sports edition could close again if it doesn’t attract more readers.
The News, Portsmouth, has issued an appeal for more people to pick up a copy of Sports Mail after revealing the publication is currently averaging less than 3,000 readers every week.
Sports Mail was closed down in October 2012 after 109 years, but returned nearly 10 months later after an “outpouring of emotion” from readers.
At the time of its scrapping, the paper was averaging 3,700 readers every week, almost 1,000 more than the 2,792 it currently records.
An appeal in Saturday’s edition of Sports Mail, pictured above, states the writing “appears to be on the wall” for the publication unless readers rally round again.
“Developments in technology and the ability to receive instant information, rather than wait until 5pm to painstakingly study that day’s results have transformed the landscape,” says the piece.
“Unless the Sports Mail can pull in more regular readers – the clock is ticking down on one of the remaining two Saturday sports papers in this country.
“Unless more fans can commit themselves to heading out to pick up a copy every week, then come Saturday, May 7, when Northampton visit Fratton Park, it could be the final whistle for a sports paper which first saw light in 1903. It’s not what we want. And it’s not what Pompey wants.”
Sports Mail is one of the last two surviving Saturday sports papers in the country, slongside the Southern Daily Echo’s Sports Pink.
It averaged around sales of around 5,000 in the weeks following its revival, which coincided with the start of Portsmouth FC’s 2013-14 season.
Ten pence from every copy of each week’s edition, priced at 60p, is donated to the club, which has suffered financial problems in recent years.
The appeal, published on page nine of this week’s edition, concludes: “Soon the Daily Echo’s Sports Pink will stand as the lone survivor, like the 21st century thawing of an ice-enclosed woolly mammoth….unless you the fans dictate otherwise.”