Wall Street Journal expands sports coverage

NEW YORK Mon Mar 2, 2009 4:05pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Wall Street Journal is expanding its sports coverage to six days a week, part of the newspaper's attempt to reach readers interested in more than its traditional business and financial news.

The Journal, whose parent company Dow Jones & Co is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, will start publishing the section in the U.S. paper on Tuesday.

The paper already has a sports page that runs once a week on Fridays in its Weekend Journal section. The new sports section will run daily Monday through Saturday. The paper does not publish an edition on Sundays.

The Journal covered sports and sports business before introducing the Friday page a year ago. It wants to use the new section to produce analytical articles and statistics- and graphics-laden packages that put a forward-looking spin on the news, Sports Editor Sam Walker said.

"We're not doing game coverage," he said. "These are stories that are idea-based with big themes."

The expanded sports coverage fits into Murdoch's desire to compete with The New York Times and other media outlets by offering stories to attract a wider base of readers and advertisers even as print advertising declines.

Automakers and pharmaceutical and beverage companies are among advertisers who have expressed interest in the section so far, though no advertisers have committed to buy space there yet, said Chief Revenue Officer Michael Rooney.

"Those are all areas where we're talking to clients and they're excited about this," he said.

Walker said some of the first stories will be a "big-picture analysis piece" about a major U.S. sports league and a statistical package about pro-golfer Tiger Woods.

The sports section will feature an online component at wsj.com. Reporters will engage in live chats with subscribers to the website, and also will cover games through live blogs, Walker said.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; editing by Richard Chang)

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