Canadian Magazine Industry News
19 November 2013,     STRAFFORDVILLE, ON
The Canadian Sportsman runs its final lap
The last issue of The Canadian Sportsman will be its December 2013 edition, bringing an end to an uninterrupted 143-year run as "the voice of harness racing."

President Gary Foerster says several factors led to the monthly trade publication's demise. "Print magazines face unprecedented challenges in the digital age and the demographics served by the magazine pose their own unique challenges," he said in a release.

The Canadian Sportsman will not publish in 2014. The magazine has been around since 1870
The Canadian Sportsman launched in 1870 and is Canada's oldest magazine

Dave Briggs, publisher and editor, expanded on those "unique challenges" in a conversation with Masthead, explaining that a 2012 decision by the Ontario government to scrap the Slots at Racetrack Program (SARP) financially devastated the province's horse breeders and racing industry. The $345-million-a-year SARP helped support the racing industry and generated over $1 billion for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. annually according to The Toronto Star.

Briggs pegs resulting job losses at upwards of 10,000. "The way they ended it was so abrupt it didn't allow people to transition out of the industry," he said. As breeders lost money and some fell by the wayside, Canadian Sportsman lost a significant number of advertising clients and subscribers, its main revenue streams.

The Canadian Sportsman staff includes 27 full-time, contract and freelance workers, counting assistant editor Lauren Lee, and Briggs, who has been with the mag for 18 years.

"Dave and Lauren have done a tremendous job at the Sportsman," said Foerster in the company release. "Both have a real passion for the racing industry and I cannot thank them, and all our writers, enough for their dedication to this publication and for the exceptional body of work they have produced."

The final issue will be oversized at 9.5 x 13", returning to its old dimensions after a cost-cutting switch to 8.5 x 11" in recent years. It will include a number of tributes and contributor memories, plus information on subscriber refunds.  "We'd like people to get a sense of who we were for 143 years," said Briggs.
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