One of the most useful "presents" my fiance ever got me was NOT CLOTHES, it was an ongoing subscription to the weekly sports magazine Sporting News. Football, both college and NFL, baseball, basketball and hockey are given the majority of the depth articles. I like the weekly game analysis of NFL football, with ratings of offense, defense and coaching. No punches are pulled and there is a fair replay of best and worst moments, injury reports, draft issues, etc.
Scouting reports from training camps make you feel like you have a friend "in the know." I play a lot of fantasy football, baseball, etc and find this to be a great resource. Since it is published weekly, the articles are definitely topical. There is alot more comment than pictures or ads, something not every sports magazine can boast.
The Sporting News is the magazine for those of you who love statistics. I have never seen a magazine that is so in depth in their reporting of various statistics for all of the sports.
The articles in The Sporting News are mediocre, at best. Basically what you will find is a lot of short paragraphs and notes from team reports, beat reporters, and various other sources. Not bad if you are looking for some interesting short takes. However, the longer the article, the worse the writing. Sporting News is not exactly great at the in depth article, but all is forgiven because they are great where they strive to be great.
Once again we are at the statistics part of the magazine. Baseball stats are much more in depth than anything you will find in USA Today when they do their midweek baseball stats. Same goes with football and basketball. Sometimes the magazine almost provides an overload of information. For instance, in an effort to be as thorough as possible, Sporting News provides box scores for each and every baseball game from the previous week. WOW. Overload for me, but surely useful for some people.
Essentially, The Sporting News is for the sports fanatic. They strive to win the sporting magazine war with statistics as their ammunition and do a very good job. However, if you are looking for the human interest type article you will be better served by going with Sports Illustrated.
Sporting News in my opinion is one of the best sports magazines available, I have been a subscriber to other sports magazines and have checked out their content. Unlike other sports magazines Sporting News gives all the coverage you want one any team that you want. Other high profile sports magazines only give you things on the teams that are popular now. The Sporting News gives a brief paragraph about all the teams that you like in football, baseball, and basketball. Also when the appropriate season comes along they give you statistics on those teams. Another thing that is great is that it comes out every week so the statistics are fairly updated, it also has articles in it, but the magazine is more dedicated to every sport and every team. Where else can I get weekly news about my home team the Chicago Bulls when they are losing like they are now. Sporting offers that coverage, when other magazines shy away from them because they are no longer the powerhouse that they once were. I reconmend The Sporting News for any die hard sports fan like myself, and if you love to check stats this is the perfect magazine for you. I have been a subscriber to 5 different sports news publications and Sporting News is by far the best for true die hard fans.
If you're looking for the perfect sports magazine, something for everyone, then look no further. The Sporting News, or TSN, features the top six sports in our country today, including the Olympics. Though it has yet to claim the fame of its biggest rival, Sports Illustrated, TSN is by far the superior magazine. The Fly has the best editorial section I've seen in any magazine, and you don't have to worry about foul-mouthed writers either, as each and every article is excellently written. I trust the Top 25's written by TSN more than I trust the AP, or even the BCS Formula. They never show favoritism, and I really like how they show a team-by-team analysis, no matter what sport, by a local columnist. Like I said, this magazine has it all.
The Sporting News has become students' favorite magazine. I teach high school age students and subscribe to several magazines to keep in our classroom for reading purposes. The students simply flock to The Sporting News. The format and articles are user friendly. The students I have enjoy reading this magazine, not just picture surfing! The articles are interesting and most importantly easy to read and written to peak the reader's interest. The only problem we have in class now is getting students to read their required material instead of The Sporting News! Great informative and entertaining magazine.
TSN covers more sports than SI and is more informative than ESPN the Mag. ( ESPN is too interested in trying to be hip and sarcastic, catering to the younger crowd). I only wish TSN was a weekly instead of twice a month.
TSN is an excellent example of how NOT to cover sports. Imagine if PBS or BBC covered American sports and then imagine it without the entertainment. Yes, TSN is just that bland. I have no idea who their target audience is. Maybe it's sportswriters who just need the stats without the flash. Well I don't know about you but I like just a LITTLE bit of flash when it comes to sports. If I wanted dull, cut-and-dry news I'd turn to the stock page.
This magazine typically runs about 70 - 80 pages which is a good size for a weekly mag. But that's one of the few compliments I will give it. One of the biggest problems I have with TSN is that it's printed on an oversize sheet that makes it bigger than your generic magazine but smaller than a tabloid newspaper. The paper it's printed on is somewhere between high-quality glossy paper and cheap newsprint. This gives the mag a very matte, dull look so even the most well-photographed pictures and graphics still look chalky, diluted and just plain boring.
So just from its basic format, TSN already has a few things going against it. It creases and crinkles easily and is so unusually-shaped, it's awkward just holding it.
But what makes a magazine is the articles, columns, photos, and overall design and TSN's use of these attributes is amateurish, dreary and any other adjective you want to use as a substitute for dull.
THE SPORTING NEWS A BREAK-DOWN
Compared to many other magazines of the genre, TSN doesn't have 10 pages of ads before it gets to the table of contents, the editor's column, the colophon and the ridiculously lame "Heard On the Fly" page.
The table of contents is pretty much the best thing going for the mag at this point as it contains a lot of color and photos but is always laid out in the same way every issue. Then there's the editor's small rant which is always boring and non-controversial. You'd think the editor of a major sporting news publication would have an opinion on SOMETHING, instead he tells you about personnel changes and new features to the mag.
One of TSN's trademarks seems to be it's "Fly" page - a page strictly made up of RUMORS and OPINIONS without any real validity to them at all. Okay, everyone loves good gossip but how they manage to make gossip boring is hard to figure. The column is written like a police report - lacking proper use of vowels and pronouns. They actually want us to believe the fly is some sort of magical character. For example: "Fly hears NHL giggles at the Rangers thinking (dreaming?) they're in the playoff hunt. They're too lazy to play D, too soft to make a run and too shallow to make a meaningful deal...." (sic) - WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?! That's CLEARLY an opinion, not news or even rumors - it belongs in an editorial!!!! The "Fly" column seems to be a place for TSN's writers to anonymously complain about something or tell you stuff they WISH was true. How sad.
Anyway, as we continue through the opening section of TSN there's more of these "Sports Illustrated"-style quirky columns such as Fritz Quindt's "Remote Control" - a somewhat humorous piece zinging TV broadcasts of sporting events, TV sports personalities and other such fluff topics. It's a shame this column is only a half page in length because it's pretty much the only creative and interesting aspect to all of TSN.
THE FEATURE STORIES
Say what? TSN has virtually NO feature stories. Whatever's on the cover is pretty much just one of the sections highlighted. Since it's early in the year NASCAR, college basketball and major league baseball have been on the cover the most. So whatever sport is featured on the cover - that sport's section is moved closer to the front of the magazine for that week's issue.
The sporting world is just as broad and newsworthy as "real" news from around the globe. What is TSN telling you by doing virtually no feature writing and instead just killing most of its space with almost all columns and sections? I'd say they're short staffed and have a tight budget and can't afford to send reporters out into the field to get some interesting character stories or ANY kind of stories with color.
Your local daily newspaper has more feature-style sporting news than a month's worth of TSN issues.
MAJOR LEAGUE SPORTS SECTION
These sections are what make TSN the dull, trite, almost anal-retentive magazine it is. The editors must be die-hard conservatives who fear change and who are pretty clueless to modern design technology and trends. Everything is laid out in such a rigid block-and-cube pattern it's actually painful on the eyes. This is why I compared TSN to PBS or something - the most unoriginal way you could cover sports is what they're all about.
I suppose their logic is that the readers want their sports broken up and divided into these conformist sections. The readers apparently want news, ANY news of the four major sporting leagues (and now NASCAR) ALL FREAKING YEAR 'ROUND whether there's anything really newsworthy to report or not.
During football season I'd be reading all the news about the NFL I can get, but in March? Who cares? Same goes for baseball in the winter time. Does ANYONE really care about trade talks and rumors in the off-season? Sports are great but one particular sport would probably make you sick of it if you had to read about it the entire year round. That's why just like nature, sports come in seasons, and to use an analogy here I love snow in JANUARY, not July!
TEAM NEWS AND ROUNDUP
As if the constrictive format of TSN's news and features wasn't enough they take it one step further and have short team-by-team news capsules complete with all the teams' official logos to add a splash of color. You'd think those logos would be eye-appealing but when you look at a two-page spread of logos in any given issue it's almost kind of revolting at how such a cool thing as a cartoon mascot can look so ugly when you've got 20 of them staring back at you. It's like a swatch of wallpaper - looks good in the store, but then you cover an entire room with the design and it doesn't look so cool anymore does it?
And as I was saying before the "news" in these little columns is usually nothing more than trade talks, transactions and other little minor details no one really cares about. I'm not a big basketball fan but I'll usually read at least the feature stories about the NBA, but I WON'T read 20 or 30 mini-columns on teams I don't care about. I ESPECIALLY don't want to read about some team I don't care about when it's no where near that sport's season! Really, do you want to know who the frickin' Cleveland Browns and L.A. Clippers are considering for new assistant coaches in July? Neither do I! Couldn't that space be better used for feature stories or SOMETHING of interest? Oh wait, I forgot - TSN doesn't consider sports interesting.
There's also "The Inside Dish" - a column of blotter material and even briefer news briefs (read: rumors) about that particular sport. But these columns are written so poorly it's like trying to translate a foreign language sometimes. EXAMPLE: "GMs owe Red Wings RW Darren McCarty an apology for not even taking a second look at instituting an automatic icing call when the puck crosses the goal line. The footraces and potential collisions caused by attempts to get an icing call waved off already have cost D Mark Tinordi his career. Tinordi recently sprained his ankle in that type of situation"
Oooooooohkay. Does that make sense to anyone? What the hell are they talking about? That's not really news, that's more of an opinion and the actual facts they mention don't have any detail to them. How about giving us something to work with here?
Guys (and gal) who write for "The Sporting News" are probably the luckiest humans on the planet. They get to rant and rave about ANYTHING because they know so few people are reading it and no one takes their opinions seriously. Which is probably why all of TSN's columns are sleep-inducing analysis of some aspect of a particular sport you don't care about. Instead of taking a stand on controversial sports issues and other social/politic issues they stick to something mundane and safe. Sure, why not? This magazine is the Switzerland of sporting news - stirring things up is apparently the last thing on their mind.
The only interesting columnist is Jay Mariotti, whose goal is to shock you and take somewhat radical stances on issues. He has the best writing ability of any of the magazine's columnists but he still has a long way to go to earn respect from me (recent topics: Bob Knight sucks! Michael Jordan is not coming out of retirement - uh huh, tell me something I don't know, Jay).
I should also mention Dave Kindred, TSN's version of Rick Reilly ("Sports Illustrated") - the generic aw-shucks kinda guy who writes happy feel-good topics of the sporting world you don't usually hear about ("The Little Dance" about the NCAA Division III basketball playoffs). Reading his column is like reading the transcript of a minister or a priest's sermon - it just doesn't do much for you no matter how you feel about the material. And dammit - what's with that picture?!? GET A REAL HAIRCUT!!!! Actually forget it, Kindred is just too ugly to have his mug shown to potentially hundreds of thousands of readers. In fact, the same goes for ALL of TSN's writers and columnists. Just hire a cartoonist to draw some funny caricatures, these people are really unappealing to me.
PHOTOS & GRAPHIC DESIGN
Ugh, this may be the magazine's weakest asset. The editors at TSN think eye-grabbing means using one color on one page and whenever you have a graphic it has to have a lot of corners and straight lines - no curves allowed! It's funny how something as minute as corners can really bug you and that's just symbolic of TSN's overall poor quality. They approach to design isn't at all "hip" or "trendy" and it's not retro, I don't know what it is. Maybe their L&D guys are Asian or European, actually I think they're children experimenting with the computer software.
As for photography, well, just like their news coverage somehow TSN manages to make action look dull. A lot of this can be blamed on the cheap paper it's printed on which doesn't allow for a wide range of colors and detail. Photographs in this magazine, unless they are full-page pictures, don't grab you. In fact photos in TSN aren't an integral function. You don't see funny pictures or amazing in-action pictures that were snapped in a split-second (like you do in the first few pages of SI), instead it's just single shots of players and sometimes doubles. No shocking pictures of brawls or other feats. No pictures of fans.
I do have to give them props for the full-page mug shots of athletes that often adorn the individual sections. They're not extremely interesting or original but they're a lot better than the bland pics found elsewhere (sometimes I think they just take baseball cards and paste them to their spreads instead of using original photographers' pix).
OTHER REASONS TO AVOID "THE SPORTING NEWS"
THEY GIVE FOOTBALL, BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL THEIR OWN TEAM-BY-TEAM BRIEFS, BUT NOT HOCKEY!!! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT!?!?
NO golf coverage (Tiger who?) BUT THEY COVER NASCAR AND INDY CAR CIRCUITS!!?!? (well, at least they don't cover horse racing)
NO boxing coverage
NO coverage or even MENTION of any minor leagues or alternative sports (Arena football/National Lacrosse League/American Hockey League/Major League Soccer/ "X" games like skateboarding, etc.)
NO Olympic sports coverage aside from when the Olympics are happening.
DUDES ONLY! NO women's sports covered.
Way too much college basketball, NBA and college football coverage the space of which could be better devoted to the above-mentioned ignored topics.
Way too much rumor and gossip covered as it they were breaking news. Stick to the facts and make them INTERESTING!!!!
The ADS are often more interesting than the copy!
I can't recommend "The Sporting News" even to the most die-hard sporting fan out there. I'm a former sports writer myself and even I can't always make sense of their coverage. TSN is like a magazine of box scores - you get the information but without the entertainment value.
Nice magazine as a web companion. It no longer includes stats and boxscores as in years past. Which makes it a real pain for readers in rural areas with dialup.