As you know, Soviet Sport is the first sports media in Russia. This is our slogan, which can be seen in the headline of the newspaper. No tricks: we are truly the first in the true sense of the word. That is, before all the currently existing sports media appeared on the market, more than a hundred years ago, in 1922.
“And you, by the way, are aware,” Sergei Korolev, a long-time friend of Sandbox, the head of many well-known media projects, writes to us the other day. – The site of “Soviet Sport” appeared before all its current friends-competitors-partners. I won’t say the exact date, but not later than the summer of 1998. And I was its first editor. There is evidence, in any case.
And he gives the basis: a scan of his workbook.
The entire editorial team began to search for the exact release date – it’s interesting, our history, forgotten behind all the changes in lineups and concepts. We rummage through the archives (here, once again, the joint project with the National Electronic Library will be mentioned, thanks to which any user of the network can find any of our numbers in the entire history), and we found. In fact, in issue 126 (14703) of July 3, 1998, our electronic fingerprints appeared for the first time in the imprint on the last page: two email addresses and the domain sovietsport.ru.
With a high degree of probability, the site went live before this date, but as honest researchers, we decided to stick to the accepted agreement in the scientific world: the first documentary mention is the date of birth.
So, officially: on July 3, 1998, exactly 25 years ago, the newspaper site “Soviet Sport” was born. We do not like to use the mothballs expression “the oldest media in Russia with a hundred years of history”, but in this case, excuse me: even on the Internet, we are the oldest among the “big” sports projects.
No more dusty corners
The fact that the site really started working even earlier is evidenced by the fact that the publishers registered the sovietsport.ru domain about six months earlier, on February 9. According to the memoirs of the same Sergei Korolev, the site consisted of a page on which there was a newspaper logo, in the center there was a PDF icon with a link to an archive with an offline version of the latest issue, and on the bottom the print could be read.
– For that moment, for me, who filled the corner of the room with dusty files, it was happiness, since there was an alternative not to collect more paper. Every day I downloaded valuable copies (since they were already replaced by a new one the next day). No other sports media thought of this, says the first editor of the Internet version of Sovsport.
Korolev cannot name the day the updated site with a paginated menu of sections was launched, replacing the original one. “Most likely, this happened in the first weeks of my work in the editorial office, until the end of 1998. I developed everything completely myself, for the first six months there was no one. The initial strategy was to introduce the reader to the main events presented by the newspaper’s materials. Added illustrations and a continuous ribbon to the visualization. The entire site was structured with hyperlinks to static pages,” adds Korolev.
‘Intimate details of the match ‘Spartacus’ with ‘Real’
Already in 1999, the daily edition was completely online (and created completely manually without an administration panel and dynamic content generation). Closer to the turn of the 21st century, the online project acquired its own editorial office, and exclusive materials and operational coverage of events began to appear.
Unfortunately, to understand how the site looked in the debut year in 1998, we are apparently no longer destined: our searches did not bring up anything. The only thing that allows you to see the web archive is a screen from early December with a solid line, and there is a beautiful one. That’s what they were saying on the internet back then.
“Today in the issue: the most intimate details of Spartak Moscow’s last match in the Champions League against Real Madrid, the most reliable information on the rest of the matches of the main European football cup, a great and frank interview with the Russian Vancouver Rocket – the famous hockey player Pavel Bure, as well as mountains of other delicious and diverse information about modern sports.
So when you accuse modern editions of “yellowness”, do not rush. We had good teachers.
Choose your “Sovsport”
The current domain name sovsport.ru was registered on March 24, 2000 and replaced the previous one in the newspaper headline in less than a month, already on April 13.
Since then, the modern history of the site began. Which version was the best / most convenient / most of the lamps, to judge our experienced users. We have found out especially for you how our pages looked in the last 20 years. Look in the newspaper, flip through the photo gallery on the website or on the updated Soviet Sport telegram channel and vote for the best option. It is even interesting what you choose.
The site had its ups and downs, periods of popularity and oblivion. The project crossed the milestone of one and a half million readers during the Ice Hockey World Championships in May 2010, two million unique users and visited the site more consistently in the summer of 2012 during the Euros and the Games. London Olympics, but the Winter Games in Sochi remain unsurpassed so far in editorial work – more than 6 million people visited us on the memorable days of February 2014. This was the peak, which became the beginning of a long and painful descent.
But there is good news. In the very near future we are going to change a lot. Only in the last three months, the audience of sovsport.ru has increased two and a half times. In June we updated the logo and social networks, this fall our website will be completely different and from January we will return to the daily publication of the newspaper and the weekly edition of the Football application.
We are over 100 years old and we are getting stronger every time. The great journey of “Soviet sport” continues.