Sunday 21 October 2018

Porn baron closes Irish 'Sunday Sport' as sales here fail to stiffen

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

NAKED English stunnas, celebrity bottoms and stories about Elvis working in Tesco have vanished from the top shelf, as the Irish version of the Sunday Sport has been axed by its backer Birmingham City FC chairman David Sullivan.

"We ceased publishing the Irish Weekly Sport on May 21 as a result of its continued loss-making," Andrew Fickling, chief executive of the Sport's parent group Sports Media Group told the Sunday Independent.

"Sales had been declining for some months and it was felt that publishing should be ceased until we feel there is an upturn in the market in Ireland. It also allows us to concentrate more energy on the challenges being presented to our core business in the UK."

Circulation of the Irish newspaper hit about 20,000 at its peak, although figures from Sports Media Group indicate that sales had fallen to around 3,000 per week.

David Sullivan, who made his fortune setting up the Private sex shop chain in the UK, sold the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport to AIM-listed Sports Media Group in 2007.

However the group hit financial difficulties in the economic meltdown with banking covenants beginning to burst at the seams. The share price plummeted and things started to look extremely ropey for the publisher.

Last month, Sullivan returned to rescue the company with an emergency €2m bridging loan. He took an option on 9.9 per cent of the company and became "honourary publisher".

His return has been accompanies by "an encouraging uplift in newspaper sales" in the UK last month, according to Sport Media Group. Sullivan has pledged that the Sport will return to "basic, wholesome, page three content".

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