“This approach will maximize our reach and impact,” ESPN says in a statement
ESPN the Magazine will cease publication in September, the company told TheWrap on Tuesday. ESPN said that the decision reflects changing “consumer habits” and that the same content would continue to be available online.
“Our journalists will continue to create the same exceptional content. Consumer habits are evolving rapidly, and this requires ESPN to evolve as well,” the statement said.
“The only change here is that we are moving away from printing it on paper and sending it in the mail, following September’s release of The Body Issue,” the statement continued. “Our data shows the vast majority of readers already consume our print journalism on digital platforms, and this approach will maximize our reach and impact. In the future, we will explore releasing tentpole collections such as Body in special, differentiated print formats.”
ESPN staff learned about the decision during a meeting Tuesday morning. A person familiar with the matter additionally said that the company was looking to avoid layoffs and that none were planned in the immediate future, but “a handful” were possible among the people immediately involved in the magazine’s production.
The decision to discontinue the print edition ends a more than two decade run for ESPN the Magazine, which was first published on on March 11, 1998.
The move by ESPN reflects broad industry headwinds away from expensive print magazines and toward digital. Name brands like Glamour, Teen Vogue and Redbook have all announced or have already shut down regular print publication in favor of online only.