“Motor Sport” circulation up 12.6%

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“Motor Sport” claims its circulation has gone up by 12.6%. At a time when print media in general is in decline, and motor sport magazines are no exception, this is impressive.

I count myself as a regular reader now, having recently swapped my “F1 Racing” subscription for a “Motor Sport” one. I liked the changes “Motor Sport” made in their most recent overhaul, but I felt “F1 Racing” dumbed things down too much with its redesign last year.

Despite having an “F1 Racing” subscription last year I kept finding myself picking up “Motor Sport”, which was also partly because I wanted to read about motor sports other than just Formula 1. The question now is, will I start picking up “F1 Racing” from time to time as I did with “Motor Sport”…

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Press release in full

For the second year in a row, ‘Motor Sport’ has recorded a double figures percentage increase in circulation. The ABC total average net circulation for 2008 has increased by 12.6% to 33,210.

‘Motor Sport’s increased circulation comes in a year when the vast majority of motoring magazines in all sectors have shown significant decreases. This makes ‘Motor Sport’s sales growth even more impressive.

Editor in Chief Nigel Roebuck commented: “We have been working hard to make ‘Motor Sport’ more relevant to a wider readership by including contemporary racing, particularly F1, in addition to the historical articles for which the magazine is famous.

“It is reassuring to find that the ABC figures reflect this renewed enthusiasm for the magazine amongst our knowledgeable readership, who are clearly rediscovering the magazine for the first time in years, or perhaps – in some numbers – discovering it for the very first time”.

‘Motor Sport’, the original motor racing magazine, published since 1924, is perhaps the best-known motor racing magazine in the world.

The magazine with the distinctive green cover has built its reputation over 85 years and more than 1,000 issues as the true voice of the sport. This continues today.

‘Motor Sport’ is ??4.95 published monthly.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on ““Motor Sport” circulation up 12.6%”

  1. I find that Motorsport magazine doesn’t tick any boxes for me and find it hard to justify forking out £5 on. Their news items are so out of date they’re barely worth reading, they focus far too much on the by-gone era, and their coverage of anything non-F1 is minimal and isn’t a patch on Autosport.

    I could also wax lyrical about how they managed to right royally fudge up a competition I won towards the end of last year, which ended up with me not receiving the prize, but that’s over and done with now.

    On an F1 Racing note: it was descending into dullsville recently but the latest issue (Vettel front-cover) is actually really very good. Probably the best for at least 18 months.

  2. I regulary read croatian edition of F1 Racing…

  3. I subbed both for a while, but dropped F1R a while back before finally dropping MSMag more recently. Although I still occasionally buy MSMag if I’m in Smiths and the article topics grab my attention.

    It’s a shame print media is perhaps slowly on its way out, but I personally love having something like a magazine to read rather than reading on the Internet. Although the convenience and relative cheapness of the ‘net will win every time.

    I wrote a while back about how these two magazines have ventured onto the internet, and I find MSMag’s approach much better. I sub their site and occasionally submit a comment to the blog.

    1. Have a ganders at F1R this month. Maybe it’s a one off, maybe not, but it’s a damn sight better than it has been. Good mixture between the contemporary and the old. They’ve trimmed down on the news stories as well having realised they can’t compete with the Internet.

      I, like you, much prefer to read something in print, in my hands. There’s something about the Internet. It just fails to hold my attention for long. Maybe it’s a sign of getting old? :-)

    2. I wrote a while back about how these two magazines have ventured onto the internet, and I find MSMag’s approach much better.

      Agree totally.

      Have a ganders at F1R this month. Maybe it’s a one off, maybe not, but it’s a damn sight better than it has been.

      That was the last issue on my subscription. Shame really I’ve hardly missed an issue since it started in… 1996? 1997?

      I’ve got an issue from ’99 buried away somewhere because I somehow managed to get two letters printed in the same edition, which I was quite proud of!

  4. Forgot to say, of course 12.6% increase does not suggest print media is losing out to the ‘net at all. That’s a healthy figure, especially as people might be thinking of reducing their luxury expenditures during the current economic climate.

    1. True, but I bet MS’s subscriptions were at a pretty low level before the new team took over. It had badly lost its way. Didn’t it have red covers for a while?

  5. I subscribe to ‘F1 Racing’ and I’m happy with it, especially when LH is on the cover or heavily featured in it.

  6. I’m part of the reason MotorSport’s circulation went up, as I began subscribing last year. Their writing quality is top-notch, they have great presentation, and they have a good mixture of different racing series from all over the world, and great interviews. It’s relatively expensive ($75 US for a year’s worth) but totally worth it. There’s so much noise on the Internet I think it’s vital that we have a “magazine of record” out there that delivers thoughtful reporting even weeks after the fact. Also, personally I feel these are frustrating times to be a race fan, and MotorSport’s historical pieces help me escape to a better era. Congratulations to MotorSport and may they continue to grow.

  7. Me too – thought I’d try Motor Sport when I heard Nigel Roebuck and Gordon Kirby were joining: great writers I remember from Autosport in the early 90s. The last couple of issues were less interesting for me – the season preview should be better – but overall I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

    The magazine has a reassuringly expensive feel. While there are some gushing articles and old farty stuff in there to be sure, there’s also plenty of top-quality writing, photography and design. I like the sense of perspective (both historical and across all motor sports) and the reflective, thoughtful approach. As everyone else has said, for the latest news, I can look at the internet.

    When it arrives I’m like a kid with a new Beano, can’t put it down. Delighted to hear it’s going well for them.

  8. This is surprising in bucking the trend as the print media in general is in decline what with the internet and people expecting instant news and updates and not wanting to pay for it etc…

  9. The Sunday Times, about 6 months ago, had an offer of 4 copies of Motor Sport for £5 and then £5 per quarter to subscribe. I took it up for the great value as I’m sure many others did. It may in part explain the increase in sales.

  10. If I saw an offer like the one Stewart did I think I would subscribe aswell.
    I currently subscribe to F1 Racing, while I think it is not as good as it used to be I am put off other magazines because I really only follow Formula 1.

    I used to subscribe to F1 Magazine before it folded, and while it went downhill towards the end (I remember articles on fashion for example), when it was first launched I thought it was really good. It had a good news section (in the days before I got my F1 news from the internet), indepth features on current issues, articles on F1 history (readers started commenting because every issue for quite a while they had article on Senna) and probably the best GP reviews I have seen, they had the main race review then a page for each team saying what had happened over the whole weekend and which driver used which chassis.

  11. I subscribe to F1 Racing but haven’t been happy with the revamp and feel it has been becoming more like a comic than a real monthly magazine with significent articles… not to mention the Lewis overkill…

    I also agree that the last edition was one of the better ones, although even then some of the comment was definitely questionable… I mean to suggest in relation to Seb vettel that “the outside world still has question marks about whether he is really future world championship material”????…. even going as far as to imply that the outside world doesn’t rank him nearly as high as Lewis…. when actually quite a lot of the outside world certainly does rank him in such terms and certainly believes he is WDC material…

    Didn’t they spot that he won a GP in a less than top notch car and that Lewis hasn’t had a chance to do such wonders yet??….

    It made me wonder if these guys don’t leave their ivory towers at all…

    I also think Motorsport has greatly improved… it used to be too historical and out time for me… whereas now it isn’t….

  12. I have to say Keith that I too have gotten more into Motorsport magazine. They did a great copy last year with Aryton Senna on the front page, very informative and extremely well written. F1 magazine is good, but in recent copies have focussed alot on Hamilton, which can become a little tedious. I love it when they focus on past seasons, especially from the old days and how F1 was say back in the 1970s, long before my time.

  13. I’m a subscriber to F1 Racing and have been since F1 Magazine was withdrawn. It was very good when I started (early 2004) – certainly better than F1 Magazine had been under Bernie, if not as good as most of the Rubthon-era issues were. Then it lost its way a bit when Lewis Hamilton arrived on the scene. In the beginning, it was understandable, but when the issue came out considering whether Lewis was already the best – after 4 races – I concluded it had taken things too far. Luckily it was cheaper to have F1 Racing than anything else, so I waited out the lull.

    Thankfully in 2008 quality has improved considerably. Since the latest redesign in July, I think it’s been worth the subscription price.

    Occasionally, I pick up Autosport and Motor Sport, but it has to be a really good issue for it to happen. Particularly in the case of Autosport, since its thin paper covers make it difficult for me to store the issue long-term. While this makes sense for people with enough shelf space to attempt to store all their Autosports in tidy magazine boxes, it’s not an option for me. The main problem for me is not so much money as space – I don’t like throwing away or otherwise removing magazines at the best of times and I have a habit of referring to anything I keep at a later date.

    (In case you’re wondering, F1 Racings and Motor Sports get stacked vertically on one end of a shelf, counterbalanced by my stock of annuals on the other end. The F1 Magazines are mostly in a pile on the floor at the side of my computer).

    Keith, F1 Racing’s first magazine was the March 1996 edition, so your guess was good.

  14. “CLAIMS its circulation has gone up by 12.6%.”

    Keith, because advertisers rely on the accuracy of circulation figures the print industry has long had it’s circulation figures audited….

    So I think you’ll find “claims” have to be backed up by an external audit …. and these are known as ABC audits as they are audited under rules produced by the Audit Bureau of Circulations….

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