x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'Super' kicks off online, keeping football fans up to speed

Super, the football magazine published by Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), relaunched as an online-only publication.

Super, the football magazine published by Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), relaunched as an online-only publication. The magazine, which launched in 2003, will publish two more Wednesday issues before ceasing all paper publication. The moves comes in a year that saw more than a dozen magazine closures in the UAE and double-digit growth in the fastest-growing sectors of online advertising in the Arab world.

"The migration from physical to online is a really positive move, and quite a bold move for ADMC," said Ricky Ghai, the executive director of digital media at ADMC, the owner and publisher of The National. "It's certainly not indicative of a strategy to shift all publications to online. "There are consumer habits and some brands that wouldn't work. But sports is a central part of ADMC's focus, and Super being in an online environment allows us to provide an engaging environment for football fans. It allows them to talk back."

The new website, Super.ae, also allows football fans to get up-to-the-minute information on matches and stars, according to its managing editor, Khaldoun Elcheik. "A lot of football lovers want to see the latest results, analysis, views and columns straight away, without any delays," he said. "The magazine could not supply this, although it was very strong in its analysis. Fans need to see more." The site has signed on about 15 new writers, including celebrities such as former England internationals Terry Venables and Andy Cole, and regional and international sports experts such as Mohammed Najeeb, Keir Radnedge and Gerry Kox. It has an in-house staff of four. New features include top 10 lists, interactive sections where fans can post their opinions, interviews with stars, photo galleries, video clips, online forums, blogs and stories selected to become viral hits around the web, Mr Elcheik said.

"Most of our stuff is traffic-driven articles," he said. "People will have more than one opinion, and they will be talking about these things on the site." The site is also designed to take better advantage of ADMC's other sports properties, including commentators from Abu Dhabi Sports TV, Al Ittihad newspaper and The National. An English-language site and a site designed to be read on mobile phones will be rolled out in the future.

"This is an evolutionary step in a much broader strategy that will evolve as time passes," Mr Ghai said. "Super itself will be supported immediately by the strength of ADMC's sports offerings." @Email:khagey@thenational.ae