Sporting News is an American sports website and former print magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball—so much so that it acquired the nickname “The Bible of Baseball.” It is currently owned by Sporting News Media.
After 122 years as a weekly publication, the magazine switched to a biweekly publishing schedule in 2008, and to a monthly schedule in 2011. In December 2012, the magazine announced it would go digital-only starting in 2013.
TSN was founded in 1886 by Alfred H. Spink, a director of the St. Louis Browns and former writer for the Missouri Republican daily newspaper. Each number was 17 by 22 inches, eight pages, price five cents (Cooper 1996). The Browns were champions of the American Association, one of two major leagues in baseball, with a claim to the championship of the United States or the world based on the disputed 1885 World Series contest with regional rival Chicago, and the undisputed 1886 winner. Meanwhile the sporting weeklies Clipper and Sporting Life were based in New York and Philadelphia. By World War I, TSN would be the only national baseball newspaper. Al Spink had long turned it over to his brother, first hiring Charles as business manager, then selling his stock, and finally departing from writing and editorial work in 1899 (Cooper 1996). His son, J.G. Taylor Spink, took over in 1914 and gradually added coverage of other sports as well.
Throughout much of the 20th century TSN was decidedly non-glamorous, consisting of black-and-white newsprint with staid graphics. However, for most of its first century it was the only vehicle for serious sports fans to follow teams from around the nation. For example, each week it printed a box score and blurb for every baseball game played in the major leagues and numerous minor leagues. Similarly, every issue had a report on each MLB team, usually written by a local newspaper’s beat writer for that team. Franklin Gritts, the Cherokee artist, served as TSN’s art director from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s.
Other publications of the Sporting News included the annual Baseball Register, a compilation of lifetime statistics of active major league players. Its subtitle from the 40s through the mid 60s was The Game’s Four Hundred.
- G. Taylor Spink died in 1962. The Spink family continued to own TSN until selling it to Times Mirror in the mid-1980s. Also around this time the company began publishing annual previews for professional and college football, professional and college basketball, baseball, and hockey.
With the advent of national sports media in the 1980s such as USA Today and ESPN, and of comprehensive web sites run by the major sports leagues in the 1990s, TSN lost its unique role. Consequently, it evolved into more of a conventional, glossy sports magazine similar to Sports Illustrated in both appearance and contents. Box scores disappeared from its pages in the late 1980s, but were still made available to subscribers in a separate publication for an undetermined period of time afterwards. The online SN Today revived the tradition of publishing boxscores in its virtual pages.
In 2000, TSN was purchased by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. The following year, the company acquired the One on One Sports radio network, renaming it Sporting News Radio.
In September 2006, Advance Publications bought TSN and its online division and folded it into American City Business Journals. With the change in ownership, the company ceased most of its book publishing efforts. The Baseball Guide, a TSN annual in one form or another since the 1920s, was last published in 2006. The Baseball Register, an annual since the early 1940s, published its last edition in 2007. The Baseball Record Book was last published in 2007, and then only as a download. None of these guides were published in 2008. After 122 years as a weekly publication, it became a bi-weekly in 2008.
In 2011, Sporting News appointed Garry D. Howard as editor-in-chief of Sporting News magazine, Sporting News Today and its website, Sporting News Feed. Howard came to Sporting News from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he was sports editor. Howard also was president of the Associated Press Sports Editors. Also as part of its reorganization in 2011, Benson Taylor was named managing editor of SN magazine and Paul Kasko was named managing editor of SN Today and SN Feed. It also switched to weekly publication.
In late 2012, Sporting News ceased its print edition after 126 years. However, its Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball yearbooks remained in publication.
In 2013, Perform Group combined its US businesses with Sporting News to form Sporting News Media, in which it took a 65% stake. ACBJ retained 35%.
Athlete of the Year/Sportsman of the Year
A different Sportsman of the Year award is presented by Sports Illustrated magazine.
From 1968 to 2008, the magazine selected one or more individuals as Sportsman of the Year. On four occasions, the award was shared by two recipients. Twice, in 1993 and 2000, the award went to a pair of sportsmen within the same organization. In 1999, the honor was given to a whole team. No winner was chosen in 1987.
On December 18, 2007, the magazine announced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as 2007 Sportsman of the Year, making Brady the first to repeat as a recipient of individual honors. Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals was also honored twice, but shared his second award with Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs.
In 2009, the award was replaced by two awards: Pro Athlete of the Year and College Athlete of the Year.