A sports daily in the UK? Not likely

EPL Talk says the time is right for a daily sports newspaper in the UK. That’s a reasonable idea.

It’ll never happen – and for a good reason, too.

Britain’s major daily newspapers (across the credibility spectrum) have covered sports for more than a century. The major newspapers in continental Europe did not, and in many still do not, cover sports in a considerable way. This is why the large sports papers in Europe like L’Equipe, Marca, Kicker, and the Gazzetta developed. In the UK (and the US for that matter) the major broadsheets (and tabloids) did cover sports and covered them quite well.

In England, even if you don’t follow a team regularly featured in the national papers there are hundreds of local papers full of sports coverage there to fill in the gap. Beyond that, you have fanzines and the entire internet’s worth of coverage both national and local, as well.

A sports paper won’t ever work in either the US or UK, not because the sports market isn’t voracious enough, but because the quality of sports journalism is already so high in the existing marketplace.

The other thing that always makes a startup sports paper difficult (and doomed The National here in the US) is the cost of setting up the national distribution network. Even in the smaller UK, it would be very difficult to setup those networks without a prohibitively massive investment. Sure, are there “barons” who could try? Yeah, but Murdoch, Branson, et al are pretty smart folks. If it’s clear to them that it would be too expensive to do it, it’s hard to see it ever happening.

Update: Remember The National? Here’s a promo.

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