Malcolm Kelly gives a preview of a panel on sports journalism taking place at this weekend's CAJ Conference that will look at the revenue sports produces and the audience figures it draws that are, he says, the envy of more "serious" journalists.

Malcolm Kelly gives a preview of a panel on sports journalism taking place at this weekend's CAJ Conference that will look at the revenue sports produces and the audience figures it draws that are, he says, the envy of more "serious" journalists.

 

For years the denizens of the sports section were thought to hang out in the toy department.

Well, according to some of the leading figures in sports print and broadcast, the boys and girls in the back are all grown up now and producing revenue and audience figures that are the envy of the more “serious” journalists.

That’s the focus of a star-studded panel on Friday afternoon at the Canadian Association of Journalists annual conference, set for 2 p.m. ET at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

The New Toy Department: Sports as a revenue and audience leader will look at how print and broadcast outlets are making money, creating new revenue streams and growing their customer base by expanding and improving their products and how they are delivered.

Included is David Langford, the national sports editor for Sun Media, and the long-time head of department at the London Free Press.

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His organization took a deep breath last year, crossed their fingers and doubled the size of the sports section on the Toronto Sun from 12 to 24 pages daily. Sometimes more.

They’ve also increased staff, added to the travel budget and hired the first full-time National Football League writer in the country. All to a chorus of rising circulation numbers and advertising money.

Also aboard is Jeffrey Orridge, the executive director of Sports Properties for CBC Sports, a long-time executive whose experience saw him with a shoe in both sides of the business. He was formerly a global marketing director for Reebok, and a VP for Mattel Inc.

As such, he will be able to pass on ideas and hints of how outlets, both large and small, can take advantage of their sports properties to attract national, regional and hyper-local advertising using multi-platform delivery.

And there’s Mark Milliere, second-in-command at TSN. A two-time Gemini Award winner, Milliere has been voted one of the top 100 most influential people in hockey thanks to his innovative approach to broadcasting and creation of new ideas for mixing content delivery with successful storytelling.

It promises to be an interesting afternoon.

Malcolm Kelly is a feature writer for CBCSports.ca, as well as the founder and coordinator of the Graduate Sports Journalism program at Centennial College.