Northcliffe Media is to roll out a series of sports websites in Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Lincoln.
The move will be interpreted as a further move by large media businesses to better access the increasing online advertising spend, against a background of declining newspaper sales and ad revenues. It is also a move that takes on the challenge of small, independent publishers, such as Rick Waghorn, who covers Norwich City on RickWaghorn.co.uk and recently announced plans to franchise his self-publishing model throughout the UK.
The site will focus on Hull’s four main professional clubs: Hull City, rugby league’s Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers, and ice hockey team Hull Stingrays.
John Meehan, Hull Daily Mail editor and regional editorial director, Northcliffe North East, said: “Our sports staff will be working as a fully integrated multimedia team, which reflects the approach we want to take in embracing digital publishing alongside our printed products.”
Mail sports editor Stuart Rowson believes Northcliffe’s sites covering the entire local sports spectrum mark a first for a regional newspaper.
He told Press Gazette: “Our aim is to give every sport the big-time treatment. Whether it is a local pub footie team, or Hull City, we’re bringing it all together.
“The response from sports clubs and leagues has been fantastic so far â€“ with some leagues and clubs abandoning their previous official sites in favour of using ours.
“Every day new clubs and new leagues want to come on board. It’s big already, but it’s going to be massive.”