The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the sports bookshelves.
Publishers of the annual North Dakota Pigskin Preview have decided not to publish the book for the 2020 football season. Pigskin Preview, which began in 1999, provides a preseason look at every high school and college football team in North Dakota.
“If there was a way, we’d do it,’’ said John Nelson, president of The Printers, Inc. The Bismarck business publishes the book. “I’d like to see an issue out there this year. But it’s not economically feasible.
“The seniors on next season’s teams are the ones who will miss out. I’m sorry for the kids. Hopefully, they’ve liked the book.’’
Nelson said approximately 1,000 Pigskin Preview books are sold each year. “It’s hit and miss,’’ Nelson said. “Some years they sell really well. Some years we throw a lot of them that we can’t sell away.’’
The problem with a 2020 edition is revenue. With many businesses either being closed or having some restrictions due to the pandemic, with people losing their jobs, Nelson is reluctant to try selling advertisements for the book.
“About 90 percent of our advertising is from bars and restaurants in small towns,’’ Nelson said. “I’m not going to send out invoices to those businesses. They’ve been closed for two months. They’d probably say no way to us. Advertising pays for the books, not the book purchases.’’
While businesses are re-opening, “I’m not going to put pressure on them for advertising money,’’ Nelson said. “I’d just as soon they use their money to reinvest in their businesses and pay their employees.’’
Nelson said plans are to publish Pigskin Preview again for the 2021 season.
No Hoopster changes
While the North Dakota football preview book is on hold for a year, the annual North Dakota basketball preview books are proceeding with plans to publish for the 2020-21 season.
The Hoopster and Miss Hoopster books again will preview all of the high school and college basketball teams for the upcoming season.
“We’re full go,’’ said Perry Hanson, editor of the two books. “I’m calling all of our advertisers. They’ve been really receptive. I’m actually a little overwhelmed by how well we’ve been received.’’
Hanson said his goal is to have his books ready to send to his printer by mid-October.