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NFL Magazine is no more

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Last year, NFL Magazine arrived with a bang. It has exited with a whimper.

Yes, the league’s foray into a dying industry already has died, with only four issues produced.

“We are ending our partnership [with] Dauphin Media Group, publisher of NFL Magazine,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “The Draft/April issue will be final issue.”

McCarthy sent an image of the cover of the final issue from his desk at league headquarters (with PFT on the monitor in the background, a nice touch).

“The magazine was well received by fans, but this was a business decision to end the partnership with the publisher,” McCarthy said. “We’ve been contacted by publishing companies and are evaluating our print strategy. We have no immediate plans to pursue a traditional magazine.

“Subscribers will be refunded for any future issues they won’t receive. Editorial contributors will be paid for their work.”

It’s very rare failure for a league that is used to having everything it touches turn to gold. (And cash.) But it’s not a surprise. The choice of Dauphin, a small Canadian publisher, was described as “odd” by AdWeek.com and having a “shaky track record” last November, when the NFL announced the forthcoming venture. The only other magazine produced by the company, Holmes Magazine, went belly up last year. The aftermath of the shuttering of Holmes Magazine should make subscribers to NFL Magazine nervous about their refunds; a March 26, 2012 item from the Toronto Star describes difficulties that subscribers to the previously failed venture are encountering in securing their money.

We’ll keep track of that issue to help ensure that everyone who subscribed to NFL Magazine receives a refund. If Dauphin Media Group ends up disappearing, the NFL needs to make this right with the subscribers.

And the NFL also may want to consider in the future the wisdom of using its supreme bargaining power to strike a sweet deal. Sometimes, the deal can be so sweet that the party with whom it is struck simply can’t make enough money to deliver the product. While this one can be painted by the league as a failure of Dauphin Media Group, it carried the NFL shield -- and its failure after only four issues impacts the NFL shield.