SBJ/April 29 - May 5, 2002/Opinion

SBJ on our 4th birthday: now online, still on target

Dear Reader: On the occasion of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal's fourth birthday, we're pleased to announce the launch of our redesigned Web site — www.sportsbusinessjournal.com. For our paid subscribers, you'll have full text of all of the current week's stories online and available first thing Monday morning. All back issues of SBJ are now archived for your research purposes. We trust that our new Web site will make it easier for you to stay abreast of sports business news.

As we venture into our fifth year of publishing, I want to reflect on the past 12 months. Our editorial team has done a terrific job breaking news and providing analysis of the sports industry over the past year. And there was no shortage of news to cover. In league business, we witnessed the debuts of the NBDL and the WUSA. During the same period, the IHL shut its doors after having been in business for more than 50 years, and the XFL came and went.

In team business, we reported the Grizzlies' move from Vancouver to Memphis and the Red Sox's sale for $700 million. We awaited MJ's comeback announcement, watched his season and saw the positive impact he had across the NBA in overall attendance numbers.

In sports media, there were writedowns, bigger and better deals and whole new networks announced.

We watched new stadiums and arenas open their doors — PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Miller Park in Milwaukee, Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver and American Airlines Center in Dallas. At the same time, bankruptcy proceedings spoiled a number of naming deals that were already in place — the Baltimore Ravens' PSINet Stadium deal and the Houston Astros' Enron Field deal.No one can look back on 2001 without acknowledging the impact of 9/11 — both the short-term effect as MLB, the NFL and other leagues canceled games out of grief and to show respect for the victims and their families, and the longer-term negative impact the terrorist attack has had overall on the sports industry.

This terrific reporting has drawn many new readers to the magazine. Our circulation revenue was up 17 percent last year. And even though advertising revenue was down markedly in 2001, not unlike most other publishing firms, advertising sales activity over the past quarter has been the strongest since we launched the magazine four years ago.

Over the past year, we held our second annual Forty Under 40 event. We further consolidated our position in the marketplace by holding numerous sports business conferences, the most prestigious of which was our recent World Congress of Sports, which I think everyone would agree has set a new standard for sports business conferences.

In the months ahead, I can promise you more of all of the above — more great breaking news, better delivery of that news and more timely and provocative industry events and sports business conferences and seminars. In closing, I'd like to thank all of our readers and advertisers for your support over the past year. We very much appreciate your business and your support. If you have anything on your mind, please let me hear from you.

Richard Weiss is publisher of SportsBusiness Journal.

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