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DURHAM, N.C. – After 18 years of covering Duke Athletics in newspaper format, Blue Devil Weekly will undergo a major transition this summer. The publication will evolve into a monthly magazine with a new name, a new look and a new focus.
Precipitating the move is a change in ownership of the publication. BDW has been published throughout its history by Moore Productions of Durham, N.C. Beginning July 1, Moore Productions will merge with ISP Sports, a national firm that owns multimedia rights to properties at more than 60 major college conferences and schools, including eight of the 12 ACC institutions.
In acquiring Moore Productions — and in negotiating a long-term marketing and media rights deal with Duke Athletics — ISP Sports will assume responsibility for much of Duke’s media interface with Blue Devil fans and the general public. Along with publishing the new monthly magazine, ISP will operate the school’s radio network, produce the weekly football and basketball coaches’ TV shows and factor into the game-day experience for fans by producing event programs, scoreboard advertising content and arena signage.
ISP’s new publication will be called “GoDuke The Magazine” and will be published monthly, August through June. The first edition (September 2009) is scheduled to ship on or around August 21.
Many of the staff members who have produced BDW, including publisher Johnny Moore, editor John Roth and several columnists, will be involved with the new publication under ISP. It will continue to be published from 719 Broad Street in Durham, which will serve as the hub of the new Duke ISP Sports Network operation for print, radio, television and advertising sales.
“We’re really looking forward to what lies ahead,” said Moore, the founder and president of Moore Productions. “When you combine our love for Duke and our history at the school with ISP’s considerable expertise in this business, that’s the basis for a great relationship. It’s a strong partnership that should elevate all of our projects — radio, TV, the new magazine and beyond — to a whole new level.”
“Johnny Moore and I have a professional and personal relationship that dates back almost 30 years,” said Ben Sutton, chairman and CEO of ISP. “He and his staff have done a tremendous job representing Blue Devil Athletics in the past. ISP is delighted to now be part of the great athletic tradition at Duke University and to have the opportunity to take the corporate marketing of Blue Devil sports to an even higher level.”
Iron Dukes members will receive the new GoDuke magazine as part of their benefits package. Individual subscribers who are not Iron Dukes members will have their BDW subscriptions converted over to a comparable number of issues of the new magazine. The single-issue cover price and yearly subscription price for GoDuke The Magazine have not yet been announced.
Readers may note a shift in editorial focus from BDW to GoDuke. “There will be more emphasis on features and the future,” said Roth. “With so much daily digital and online content available, a monthly publication is not the place for game stories, box scores and weekly recaps. GoDuke The Magazine instead will attempt to bring more depth to the reader’s understanding of Duke Athletics by going into greater detail on topics and by looking ahead. We should be presenting stories and information not typically covered elsewhere.”
Created in the wake of Duke’s first NCAA men’s basketball championship, BDW debuted Nov. 23, 1991. This final newspaper dated June 20, 2009 was the 436th edition. The publication was produced primarily on a weekly basis during basketball season for 16 years, then shifted to twice-per-month frequency two years ago.
ISP has been around almost as long as BDW. The company was founded in 1992 and partnered with Wake Forest as its first university client. Headquartered in downtown Winston-Salem, ISP now bills itself as “America’s Home for College Sports.” It has over 250 employees and partnerships with schools in 12 NCAA Division I conferences, plus Notre Dame and three bowl games. Much of its growth has taken place in the last five years, with three-fold increases in staff size and school partnerships during that time.
ISP operates a national radio network for the ACC and is a corporate sales and marketing representative for league schools Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Its new agreement with Duke should be formally announced this summer.