Arkansas Business Plans Sports Expansion

Arkansas Business will increase its audience reach on the Internet and in print beginning this summer with expanded statewide sports coverage, Publisher Jeff Hankins announced Thursday.
Jim Harris, entertainment editor of the Arkansas Times for the past eight years and former managing editor of Arkansas Business, will rejoin Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock and be editor of a daily sports Web site and monthly sports publication.
"Arkansas Business readers are avid sports spectators and participants," Hankins said. "With our base of more than 60,000 print readers and 40,000 Web site visitors who value our business coverage, we are uniquely positioned to launch these new products and deliver the same kind of quality and credible content in sports.
"Jim Harris is one of the state's best writers and one of the most knowledgeable sports fanatics that I've ever known," Hankins added. "From the Arkansas Razorbacks to the golf courses to the duck woods, he'll lead our efforts to offer readers a refreshingly new interactive experience and perspective on sports in Arkansas."
Hankins said the move will enable Arkansas Business to reach not only more readers online and in print, but also new advertisers. Existing subscribers will benefit from more content to enjoy and existing advertisers will receive additional value through increased exposure to their messages, he added.
"We're entering one of the most exciting times in Arkansas sports history," Hankins said. "We'll be watching the Heisman Trophy frontrunner this fall, a new athletic director and basketball coach will be on board in Fayetteville, central Arkansas and UALR will host the NCAA basketball tournament, two new minor league baseball parks are opening, and UCA and ASU continue to grow their programs."
Harris has a long history in Arkansas and sports journalism. He worked at the Pine Bluff Commercial from 1980-87 and was sports editor there from 1983-87. From 1988-1991, he worked for the Arkansas Gazette. He covered sports for the Northwest Arkansas Times from 1991-92. During his years at Arkansas Business, he also wrote sports for The Times of North Little Rock and free-lanced high school sports coverage for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Harris has also freelanced for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, the Dallas Morning News and Tulsa World, among others.
In addition to Arkansas Business, ABPG publishes Little Rock Soiree, Little Rock Family and 12 other niche print publications. The company also operates national award-winning Web sites and and develops Web sites through its FLEX360 division.