New daily newspaper aimed at armchair betting addicts

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The Independent Online

Britain's first new daily newspaper for 20 years goes on sale today.

The Sportsman, aimed at the nation's growing army of armchair betting addicts, is an 80-page tabloid that will have a cover price of £1 on weekdays and £1.20 at weekends. It is designed to capitalise on the boom in sports coverage and betting on satellite television and the internet.

With a heavy emphasis on horse racing, the paper is designed as a more up to date version of the Racing Post, published by Trinity Mirror, and will become its main competitor. It was originally believed to be due to launch in time for the Cheltenham Festival last week, traditionally the biggest betting event of the year, but is now in a position to capitalise on the Grand National meeting at Aintree early next month and the World Cup in June.

The newspaper is the brainchild of Charles Methven, a former Sporting Life and Daily Telegraph journalist, who will be editor-in-chief, and Max Aitken, the businessman great-grandson of the legendary newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook and a former treasurer of the Conservative Party.

Investors include Ben and Zac Goldsmith and the paper will be chaired by Jeremy Deedes, the former chief executive of the Telegraph Group and son of Lord (Bill) Deedes, the former Daily Telegraph editor.

The paper's tone will be brash and heavily picture-led, while its typical buyer is said to be an affluent young male, who subscribes to Sky Sports and bets via the internet and telephone. Columnists include Andy Gray on football, and the jockey Timmy Murphy on racing.

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