Ex-Post staffers launch Bristol Sunday sports paper

A group of ex-Bristol Evening Post staff have bucked the national trend of closing regional standalone sports papers with the six-figure launch of Your Sport in the city.

The six major shareholders are planning to spread the weekly sports paper business model into cities across the country over the next six to nine months, depending on the success in Bristol.

With the strapline "Our Passion, Their Passion" the 48-page full-colour Sunday tabloid focuses on grassroots sport, including junior football, basketball and local rugby, as well as the bigger non-league matches, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Premiership results from PA.

The paper has signed ex-England rugby player Gareth Chilcott and ex- Bristol Rovers star and BBC Radio Bristol sports editor Geoff Twentyman.

Former Evening Post sports editor of 14 years, Chris Bartlett, now editor of Your Sport, said that involving readers in the content of the paper is one of his main priorities.

He said: "The overall aim is to turn Your Sport into a Bristol community sports paper which everyone contributes to. We are majoring on the local sports and offering more in detail on a Sunday morning.

"It's a huge mass participation event. Names and faces sell newspapers."

In December, the Evening Post closed its standalone sports paper the Green Un and incorporated it into Monday's paper, as sales slipped from 15,000 a week six years ago to around 7,000 before closure. Your Sport will have a varying print run of around 10,000 and cost 80p.

In the past year, sports papers have closed in Newcastle, Coventry, and most recently the Sports Argus in Birmingham. One of the reasons is believed to be because sales of standalone sports titles can no longer be included in ABC results.

Many publishers have blamed the internet and its ability to break sporting news online. Keith Cottrell, managing director of Bristol communications marketing company Proteus, who is joint managing director of Your Sport, sharing the role with Richard Smith, believes this is less of a problem for the paper, which will not break news online until the following week.

He said due to the variety of local sports, it is easier for readers to find all their information in one publication, rather than searching through a host of websites.

Cottrell said: "Because we cover so many different local sports you wouldn't be able to access them all in one place. This is about convenience."

Cottrell also believes there is plenty of room in the market for Your Sport. "On Sunday morning there's the Sunday Independent for Cornwall and Devon, which covers some of the local sport that take place on the Saturday, but it is very much just an add-on to their core paper.

"With the Green Un now a supplement in Monday's Evening Post, a lot of the news is old news. Most people will have seen the News of the World and the TV, and by Monday it's old. Ours is literally hot off the press. We recognise there needs to be a sporting publication in Bristol and the region that covers all competitive sports.

"By talking to the advertisers and many sporting bodies, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to bring out this publication.

"On the back of success, the plan is to move into other regions and franchise the company. This is just the forerunner."

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