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Sports History Magazine: A New Publication That Revisits Some Of The Best & Most Provocative Moments In The World Of Sports – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Gill Schor, Founder & Editor In Chief…

May 7, 2019

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“The digital platform is basically to collect all of the articles that I’ve been writing myself and other authors and journalists, and put them in a digital archive that’s available to a readership. And along with that goes out a weekly newsletter to interested parties. Now, I wanted to do a print version of that because it’s very hard for me to make money on the digital end, so I figured if I do the print I could try and explore ways through subscriptions, advertising and newsstand sales to see if I could monetize the idea of Sports History Magazine.” Gill Schor…

Sports History Magazine is a new publication that focuses on the history of sports, not today’s live streaming or the graphic replays of gridiron heroes in real time, but an actual ink on paper magazine that captures the essence of some of the best (and worst) times in the history of sports. From the black and white photographs that take us all back to those times, to the engaging stories that pull back the edges of the eras to allow us to once again revel in those great sports moments.

Gill Schor is the entrepreneur whose own passion for sports history motivated him to fill a void in this very niche market. From banker to transportation guru, Gill has expertise in a wide field of businesses, but publishing is something that he is tackling as he goes forward. But his passion is serving him well as the magazine’s content is both engaging and spot on for the topic.

I spoke with Gill recently and we talked about his hopes for this new magazine and what he believes his target audience to be; sports history buffs, of course, but curious millennials as well. The future for this magazine seems bright.

So, I hope that you enjoy this very interesting conversation with a man who is both an entrepreneur and a passionate dreamer who has brought his chimera to life, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Gill Schor, founder and editor in chief, Sports History Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On the idea behind the print magazine and the digital website: The digital platform is basically to collect all of the articles that I’ve been writing myself and other authors and journalists, and put them in a digital archive that’s available to a readership. And along with that goes out a weekly newsletter to interested parties. Now, I wanted to do a print version of that because it’s very hard for me to make money on the digital end, so I figured if I do the print I could try and explore ways through subscriptions, advertising and newsstand sales to see if I could monetize the idea of Sports History Magazine.

On his decision to do a sports history title: I was a banker by profession and I was laid off during the Great Recession in 2008, and then I started my own business but sold it, and then I wanted to venture into publishing. I’ve always enjoyed sports history in particular, reading stories about athletes, games and events from the past. Everything today is all streamed, or live, and graphic, but I wanted to stick to some traditional media form, the written word. And I was also a history major in college, so that was also the knowledge behind my mind.

On having no background in publishing and launching a magazine anyway: With no background in publishing, that’s correct, but some background in writing. It was a lot of trial and error and I see myself as an entrepreneur more than anything else, because before this I ran a transportation company, which I sold and before that I was in finance. I would say that my expertise is my knowledge of a little bit of everything, not a lot of one thing. I did a lot of reading and I spoke to people in the industry, I have some contacts in the industry, and very slowly I’m making my way into the business. Every day you learn something new. And it’s picking up some traction. So the challenge right now is to find the sweet spots to the business model.

On what he thinks the “sweet spots” to the business model are: I think it’s a combination of advertising, newsstand sales, and subscriptions. Combine that with a well-written and well-presented sports history magazine and I think that can work.

On why he thinks there’s a necessity for a print publication about sports history: I think there’s definitely an opportunity out there. If you go to Barnes & Noble’s newsstands, you’ll see dozens and dozens of publications out there that are broken up into every single niche you can imagine. So, maybe not all of them make money, but some of them make money. And there’s a reason why they’re there, why they haven’t disappeared.

On how he felt when he saw that first printed issue: It was a wonderful feeling to get the first issue, but it needed revisions because what you do on the screen and how you lay it out, you really need to see it in your hands and on paper. The first copy that came out, I wasn’t too satisfied with it. I loved the concept and I saw the potential, but the actual copy that I got, I wasn’t too happy with it. So, I went back to the designer and worked with her a little bit more, and we did a second revision and then the second copy that came out, I was happy.

On the biggest challenge that he faces: I think the biggest challenge that I’m facing right now is finding the money to support the venture. Right now, I have all of the content that I need; I’ve accumulated enough articles and photographs for probably two years’ worth of issues. But what I need is the money to launch and to do the primary investment and go forward. So, I can do limited editions, limited prints, but if I want to do 15, 000 or 20,000 copies and spread it to the world, right now I can’t afford that.

On whether the magazine is more of a love affair or a business: The part that I love about publishing now is, again, the novelty side of it and the topics. I love sports history. I’ve gotten a lot of kudos for the idea and people read through them and they like them. I think it can be a good business.

On who his target audience is: The audience is people of all ages, but they have to have a specific interest in the history of sports. In other words, with some of the baby Boomers, it may bring some nostalgia on their end if they start reading stories about their sports heroes when they grew up. They’ll see photographs of these people, black and white photographs, and it might ring some bells in their heads. That’s one segment of the population. The other one is young folks who are curious, curious about sports history, or the ones who have kind of had enough of their fill of the latest scores or what’s going on now. These graphic streams that go into their handheld devices, maybe they want some substance and some real history. There are people like that out there as well.

On the one thing he would have done different with the launch if he could do it over today: I think I could have controlled my costs better, because at the outset I really didn’t know much about the business, so it was basically learn as you go. I spent some money in areas which I think I shouldn’t have, it just didn’t work out and it was a waste. So, it was a learning experience. Some digital marketing ventures and some other places where I put money in. I learned those lessons.

On what he would like to do or tell someone he had accomplished with the magazine a year from now: A year from now what I would like to do is have a partner in the launch. Somebody who is either in the business as a media company or somebody who has financial resources, such as an investment group who wants to get into the business. So, a year from now I’d like to say that I had partnered with some people and we have a circulation of at least 5,000 or 10,000 out there with subscriptions and good acceptance in the market.

On anything he’d like to add: Sports History is a very interesting topic. Most people enjoy sports, maybe they haven’t been presented with sports history, but it’s something that people would enjoy reading and going through photographs and learning about sports history stories. They might have a lot of these a-ha moments, wow I didn’t know that, type of thing from some of these articles.

On the biggest misconception he thinks people might have about him: I know I have admirers and sometimes they might think more of me than what I am, because they see me remotely. They might think that I’ve achieved more than I have, but I try to keep myself very basic, very grounded. I don’t talk big or way over my head. But they know when I grab something, when I’m serious about something, I take it all the way.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: Driven with ideas, good business sense, good vision, good planning, good coordination, good organization, just a good head on his shoulders.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: You could find me reading a book or having dinner with my family, maybe watching a movie on TV, or going to the gym.

On what keeps him up at night: Fear of failure. That’s always kept me up; I don’t like to fail. I’ve failed in the past, yes, you can’t make it without failing once or twice, you can’t, because otherwise you’re not taking the risks. Fear of failure is what keeps me up. I’m healthy and my family is healthy, so thankfully those kind of worries aren’t there.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Gil Schor, founder and editor in chief, Sports History Magazine.

Samir Husni: You’ve just launched a new magazine, Sports History, and you’ve launched a weekly digital entity, Sports History Weekly, what’s the idea behind doing the print edition and also doing the website?

Gill Schor: The digital platform is basically to collect all of the articles that I’ve been writing myself and other authors and journalists, and put them in a digital archive that’s available to a readership. And along with that goes out a weekly newsletter to interested parties. Now, I wanted to do a print version of that because it’s very hard for me to make money on the digital end, so I figured if I do the print I could try and explore ways through subscriptions, advertising and newsstand sales to see if I could monetize the idea of Sports History Magazine.

Samir Husni: Are you a historian? Are you a magazine fanatic? Why did you decide to start this whole venture?

Gill Schor: I was a banker by profession and I was laid off during the Great Recession in 2008, and then I started my own business but sold it, and then I wanted to venture into publishing. I’ve always enjoyed sports history in particular, reading stories about athletes, games and events from the past. Everything today is all streamed, or live, and graphic, but I wanted to stick to some traditional media form, the written word. And I was also a history major in college, so that was also the knowledge behind my mind.

So, slowly I got the idea. I looked around and saw that there were no publications out there that focused exclusively on sports history. You’ve certainly got tons of magazines on sports, Sports Illustrated being one of the most famous ones. And occasionally they might have an article or two on some figure or events from the past, but there’s nobody out there that just focuses on sports history as a magazine in itself. So, I decided to take advantage of this vacuum and launch something on my own.

Samir Husni: With no background in publishing whatsoever, how did you do it?

Gill Schor: With no background in publishing, that’s correct, but some background in writing. It was a lot of trial and error and I see myself as an entrepreneur more than anything else, because before this I ran a transportation company, which I sold and before that I was in finance. I would say that my expertise is my knowledge of a little bit of everything, not a lot of one thing. I did a lot of reading and I spoke to people in the industry, I have some contacts in the industry, and very slowly I’m making my way into the business. Every day you learn something new. And it’s picking up some traction. So the challenge right now is to find the sweet spots to the business model.

Samir Husni: What do you think that sweet spot is?

Gill Schor: I think it’s a combination of advertising, newsstand sales, and subscriptions. Combine that with a well-written and well-presented sports history magazine and I think that can work.

Samir Husni: Do people think you’re out of your mind by doing a print magazine in this digital age? At least, you acknowledge that you can’t make money from the digital side, but why do you think there’s a necessity for a print publication about sports history?

Gill Schor: I think there’s definitely an opportunity out there. If you go to Barnes & Noble’s newsstands, you’ll see dozens and dozens of publications out there that are broken up into every single niche you can imagine. So, maybe not all of them make money, but some of them make money. And there’s a reason why they’re there, why they haven’t disappeared.

And there is still something to be said about leafing through a magazine or a book. They haven’t totally disappeared, they’re still there. I enjoy it. And there is certainly a segment in the population that enjoys it, maybe it’s the older folks, the Baby Boomers, I don’t know. But I also think that if you make interesting and engaging content with rich photographs in the magazine, I think you can get some interest and turn that into a money venture.

Samir Husni: When that first issue came off the press, can you recall that moment and how you were feeling? Did it feel like you were on top of the mountain then and ready to see what was next?

Gill Schor: It was a wonderful feeling to get the first issue, but it needed revisions because what you do on the screen and how you lay it out, you really need to see it in your hands and on paper. The first copy that came out, I wasn’t too satisfied with it. I loved the concept and I saw the potential, but the actual copy that I got, I wasn’t too happy with it. So, I went back to the designer and worked with her a little bit more, and we did a second revision and then the second copy that came out, I was happy.

And going forward for the next seasonal issue and with two choices, I have an idea that with each issue there are ways to tweak and revise to find the spot that pleases you most, in terms of how it looks and how it reads.

Samir Husni: What is the biggest challenge that is facing you?

Gill Schor: I think the biggest challenge that I’m facing right now is finding the money to support the venture. Right now, I have all of the content that I need; I’ve accumulated enough articles and photographs for probably two years’ worth of issues. But what I need is the money to launch and to do the primary investment and go forward. So, I can do limited editions, limited prints, but if I want to do 15, 000 or 20,000 copies and spread it to the world, right now I can’t afford that.

Samir Husni: Is the magazine more of a love affair than a business? For example, when you created your transportation company, you were not in love with cars and transportation, correct?

Gill Schor: No, but I had an idea in mind. I always look for little uncharted areas, so when I started my transportation company I launched it with all Hybrid vehicles, all electric cars. And that didn’t exist back then, that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Today, yes, it’s no longer a novelty, but back then it was an environmental side to the business which actually drew a lot of attention from customers. They jumped on it because it’s a very competitive field. If somebody wants to go out to the airport, they have at least 10 or 15 options that they can choose from. But the fact that I marketed it as the only environmentally friendly service, that caught people’s attention. And that’s the part that I was in love with back then.

And the part that I love about publishing now is, again, the novelty side of it and the topics. I love sports history. I’ve gotten a lot of kudos for the idea and people read through them and they like them. I think it can be a good business.

Samir Husni: Who is your audience? Who are you targeting the magazine for?

Gill Schor: The audience is people of all ages, but they have to have a specific interest in the history of sports. In other words, with some of the baby Boomers, it may bring some nostalgia on their end if they start reading stories about their sports heroes when they grew up. They’ll see photographs of these people, black and white photographs, and it might ring some bells in their heads. That’s one segment of the population. The other one is young folks who are curious, curious about sports history, or the ones who have kind of had enough of their fill of the latest scores or what’s going on now. These graphic streams that go into their handheld devices, maybe they want some substance and some real history. There are people like that out there as well.

It’s an educated population; it’s a middle-ground read. I think it would go well in libraries, actually, and I’m working with some distributors or agencies that supply magazines to libraries, to try and put this in their stacks.

Samir Husni: If you could do one thing different from what you’ve done so far, what would it be?

Gill Schor: I think I could have controlled my costs better, because at the outset I really didn’t know much about the business, so it was basically learn as you go. I spent some money in areas which I think I shouldn’t have, it just didn’t work out and it was a waste. So, it was a learning experience. Some digital marketing ventures and some other places where I put money in. I learned those lessons.

Samir Husni: As you move forward, if you and I are having this conversation one year from now, what would you hope to tell me you had accomplished with the magazine?

Gill Schor: A year from now what I would like to do is have a partner in the launch. Somebody who is either in the business as a media company or somebody who has financial resources, such as an investment group who wants to get into the business. So, a year from now I’d like to say that I had partnered with some people and we have a circulation of at least 5,000 or 10,000 out there with subscriptions and good acceptance in the market.

Samir Husni: Is there anything that you’d like to add?

Gill Schor: Sports History is a very interesting topic. Most people enjoy sports, maybe they haven’t been presented with sports history, but it’s something that people would enjoy reading and going through photographs and learning about sports history stories. They might have a lot of these a-ha moments, wow I didn’t know that, type of thing from some of these articles.

From my end, I’m an entrepreneur, I make sure that things get done. And once they get launched there’s a plan behind it, a vision behind it. We don’t aim for the moon; we’re realistic with what’s possible and what’s not. And it’s all about calculated risks. Nobody says that this venture is going to succeed 100 percent, but it’s a calculated risk. It’s not a reckless risk.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception you think people have about you?

Gill Schor: I know I have admirers and sometimes they might think more of me than what I am, because they see me remotely. They might think that I’ve achieved more than I have, but I try to keep myself very basic, very grounded. I don’t talk big or way over my head. But they know when I grab something, when I’m serious about something, I take it all the way.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Gill Schor: Driven with ideas, good business sense, good vision, good planning, good coordination, good organization, just a good head on his shoulders.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Gill Schor: You could find me reading a book or having dinner with my family, maybe watching a movie on TV, or going to the gym.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Gill Schor: Fear of failure. That’s always kept me up; I don’t like to fail. I’ve failed in the past, yes, you can’t make it without failing once or twice, you can’t, because otherwise you’re not taking the risks. Fear of failure is what keeps me up. I’m healthy and my family is healthy, so thankfully those kind of worries aren’t there.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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One comment

  1. […] A niche magazine delivering articles and photographs related to sports history, this new title, Sports History Magazine, focuses on the history of sports, not today’s live streaming or the graphic replays of gridiron heroes in real time, but an actual ink on paper magazine that captures the essence of some of the best (and worst) times in the history of sports. Founder and Editor in Chief, Gill Schor, is the entrepreneur whose own passion for sports history motivated him to fill a void in this very niche market. In fact, Mr. Magazine™ interviewed Gill in early May and we talked about this great new magazine. Check out the conversation here. […]



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